Much Sleep Needed For Healthy Lifestyle

Most parents know that the common factors for childhood obesity are too many unhealthy calories, too little exercise and too much television viewing. Children who fit into this category are more likely to have excess weight.

Sleep, or the lack of, is another factor that is not talked about as much but is just as important. Studies have taken place and have proven that little sleep is connected with obesity in children.

Scientifically speaking, without the proper amount of sleep our metabolism is disrupted and body gets less energy. This puts us at risk for weight gain. In addition, loss of sleep can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea, for both adults and children.

Hormones are affected when a child doesn’t sleep enough. Leptin, a protein hormone that regulates body weight and metabolism, has lower levels in those lacking sleep.

Ghrelin is a hormone that tells a child when they are hungry. Little sleep causes high levels of Ghrelin which then causes children to eat more. The hormone changes also cause kids to crave foods that have higher calories. There are other hormones affected by lack of sleep and they include insulin, cortisol (a stress hormone) and growth hormones.

Your child may not have a weight problem, but you need to make sure they’re getting enough sleep anyway so that they don’t develop weight gain later in life. But there are other reasons it’s good for children to sleep a lot. Little sleep leads to lethargy and kids don’t have as much energy to be active.

Kids should start a healthy sleep schedule as early as infancy. A 30-month-old child without the proper amount of sleep has a greater risk of obesity at the age of seven. Sleep proves to be quite effective for controlling weight now and in the future. One study even claims that sleep has a greater effect on a child’s weight than television watching or physical exercise.

There are several things parents can do to make sure their kids get the best rest possible. Avoid feeding children sugary foods before bed. Nap times and bed times should happen at the same time every day so their bodies can adjust to a routine. Naps shouldn’t be taken too close to bed time. Babies learn to fall asleep on their own if you put them to be while they’re tired but still awake. Finally, kids sleep better at night if they’re well rested during the day. Don’t prevent them from napping if they need it.

The parent’s main responsibility is to care for their child. So, making sleep a priority for kids should be easy. The benefits to good sleep are proven, so this factor should be one of the top priorities when making sure kids are healthy now and in the future.

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