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Could Your Child's Bedtime Determine Their Weight?

According to experts at Ohio State University, your child's bedtime could be linked to a greater obesity risk later in life.

We all know that a good night's sleep is important for all ages, but according to experts, making sure your little ones get enough sleep now, might really influence their health in the future.

"This study adds to a body of research that demonstrates that young children benefit from having a regular bedtime and bedtime routine," said Sarah Anderson, associate professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University's College of Public Health and lead author of the study.

The study was published in the Journal of Pediatrics and analysed data from 977 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.

READ ALSO: Benefits of a Good Night Sleep for Baby & Mom

The children were tracked from preschool-age to teenage years. The data collected looked at what time the children went to bed at when they were 4½ years old, as well as their height, weight and body mass index when they were about 15 years old.

After comparing the children's bedtimes with their health 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.

We all know the benefits of a good night sleep and an early night, such as better behaviour in children, improved cognitive development, a better attention span, and a better sleep routine in general. But how exactly can having a later bedtime increase the risk of obesity?

READ ALSO: 9 Amazing Bedtime Stories That Will Help Your Child Sleep

According to Ohio State University's Sarah Anderson, "Children who have a regular early bedtime are more likely to get enough sleep. 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," she added. "Recommending that preschool-aged children are in bed by 8 p.m. is a potentially modifiable household routine that may help to prevent obesity.

 

What do you think of the research results? Let us know in the comments. You can read the research results in full here.

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About the Author

Editor of eumom.ie, Mairéad Cahalan is a creator of content, a lover of music, red wine and coffee, and a part-time wedding singer! Find her on Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud and LinkedIn.

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