Kids who sleep before 8pm are less likely to be obese in their teenage years, a recent study found.
Tuck your child into bed early – sleeping before 8pm lowers their risk of being obese, a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found.
The benefit lasts into their teenage years. Obesity has been linked to a range of cardiovascular diseases.
“Preschool-aged children with early weekday bedtimes were half as likely as children with late bedtimes to be obese as adolescents,” said lead author Sarah Anderson.
Ms Anderson, an associate professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University’s College of Public Health, added: “This was true even after taking into account other factors that we know are related to risk for obesity.”
Researchers studied the health data of 977 children, involved in a previous study by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
The older study had tracked sleeping patterns of pre-school kids who were about four and a half years of age.
It took note of their height, weight and body mass index, and did the same tests when they were around 15 years of age.
Just 10 per cent of participants who slept before 8pm in pre-school were obese teenagers.
This is compared to the obesity rate of 16 per cent for participants who slept before 9pm, and 23 per cent for those whose bedtimes were after 9pm.
“Not getting enough sleep can result in changes in the hormones controlling appetite and metabolism,” Ms Anderson told CNN.
“Also, staying up later in the evening provides more opportunity for snacking and viewing television commercials that promote snacking,” she said.
According to a separate 2010 study, going to bed late increases the likelihood of depression and suicidal thoughts in adolescents.
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