There's no denying the benefits that come from your kids catching a good night's rest; however, as experts claim, those benefits aren't limited to the next day. As it turns out, an early bedtime and a full night of slumber can have a number of different health benefits for your youngster both now and in the long run.
For years, researchers have been able to find the link between children who sleep don't get enough sleep and obesity. What these scientists have found is that a consistent late bedtime can result in a greater risk of obesity later in life as well.
Sarah Anderson, associate professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University's College of Public Health and lead author of the study claims, "This study adds to a body of research that demonstrates that young children benefit from having a regular bedtime and bedtime routine."
Let's take a deeper look at how exactly sleep is linked with obesity:
In the aforementioned study (published in this month's edition of the Journal of Pediatrics), a research team analyzed data on 977 different children who were part of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.
Kids of all ages and stages can benefit from a good night's rest!
The data tracked the children from preschool-age (about 4½ years old) to early/late years of adolescence (about 15 years old) and diligently noted what time they went to bed. It also indicated their height, weight and body mass index through each age and stage of the study.
Upon comparing the children's bedtimes in the early years of the study with their sleep habits as teenagers, the researchers found that only 10% of the children who went to bed at 8 p.m. or earlier during their preschool years were obese as teenagers. However, 23% of the children who went to bed after 9 p.m. as preschoolers were obese as teenagers.
For the children who went to bed between 8 and 9 p.m. as preschoolers, about 16% were obese as teenagers.
"Preschool-aged children with early weekday bedtimes were half as likely as children with late bedtimes to be obese as adolescents. This was true even after taking into account other factors that we know are related to risk for obesity," Anderson said.
"Other research has shown benefits for children's behavior, cognitive development and attention," she added. "Regular bedtime routines, including an early bedtime, also are linked to fewer sleep problems such as nighttime awakenings or difficulty falling asleep."
The data has clearly shown how sleep can be linked to obesity rates, but how exactly does it work? Well, as Anderson claims, "Not getting enough sleep can result in changes in the hormones controlling appetite and metabolism. Also, staying up later in the evening provides more opportunity for snacking and viewing television commercials that promote snacking."
In short, 8 p.m. has been shown to be the best time to get your kids in bed, and can help reduce risks of obesity now and later in life!
Early bedtimes have also been linked to higher brain functionality! Visit page two to find out how!