It’s bad enough to have a baby who keeps you up at night. Now a new report says that babies and kids under the age of 4 who don’t get enough sleep at night are at a higher risk for becoming overweight or obese later in life, according to CNN.
Oh great. Yet another thing for parents to worry about!
The study, published today in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found that “insufficient nighttime sleep among infants and preschool-aged children may be a lasting risk factor for subsequent obesity.” Researchers also concluded that napping cannot replace the benefits of nighttime sleep.
“This is something we may be able to change to address the growing obesity problem,” said study author Dr. Janice Bell from the University of Washington.
Dr. Bell’s study, which analyzed data taken from a nationwide survey in 1997 and 2002, found that babies and kids up to age four who didn’t get enough nighttime sleep were 80% more likely to be obese five years later compared to kids who slept longer. Interestingly, the link between lack of sleep and obesity did not hold up for older kids (from 5-13).
It’s long held true that lack of sleep contributes to obesity in adults. Not only are you too tired to exercise if you don’t get enough sleep, but lack of sleep in adults has also been shown to decrease metabolism.
The researchers also note that while napping is good, it is not a substitute for nightime sleep, which involves “complex biological, psychological and restorative functions.”
The Center for Disease Control recommends that a 1-year-old should get between 13-15 hours of sleep (total). Kids 3-5 years of age need from 11-13 hours of sleep (including naps).
My fellow Strollerderby blogger recently wrote about how to get a toddler to sleep through the night on their own. It’s not always easy, but it’s clearly worth the effort!
Do you have a hard time getting your baby or toddler to sleep enough at night?
If you need some tips, check out The Babble Sleep Guide.
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Photo: flickr/Paul Goyette