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Do Your Kids Get Enough Sleep?

Sleep Deprivation May Lead to Overeating in Preschoolers 

We’ve seen the data that says adults who don’t sleep enough are 72% more likely to be obese. Now a study published in the Journal of Sleep Restriction finds sleeping like a baby can benefit health in youngsters too. 

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder tested the relationship between sleeping and eating in ten preschool children. Children followed a strict daytime nap and nighttime sleep schedule for six days. Then they repeated the schedule for five days but on the sixth day they skipped the nap and went to bed late. Throughout the study parents kept track of what their children ate. 

Compared with normal days, children ate 21% more calories, 25% more sugar and 26% more carbohydrates on the day they didn’t get enough sleep, and 14% more calories and 23% more fat on the day following lack of sleep. 

Though the mechanism is not totally clear, researchers think the connection may have to do with disruptions to the appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you when you’re full, while ghrelin is the one that tells you to keep eating. When you are sleep deprived, these hormones get out of whack and you feel a stronger urge to keep eating. 

Good sleep patterns are important for everyone. Most experts recommend waking up and going to bed within the same time frame each day—weekend days too! Getting into naptime and bedtime routines, such as reading a story or singing a song, can also be helpful so that your child knows when it is time to rest. 

After a good night’s sleep, wake up to our Banana Almond Pancakes topped with Greek yogurt and cinnamon!

Published May 1, 2017

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