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They Say: Let Kids Sleep Late on Weekends to Fight Obesity

815611_resting_peacefully2“Why do we have to go to bed so early?” my girls complain.

“Because I’m your mother and I love you,” I say, a statement that stops the arguing, if not the unhappy faces.

I’m a stickler about bedtime, something that annoys my kids and occasionally their grandparents.  So I’m always happy when science backs me up.  Here’s the latest:  Kids who don’t get enough sleep during the week just might be able to catch up on some of that sleep over the weekend.

Researchers have already noted the connection between sleep loss and weight gain.  Kids who don’t sleep well tend to be heavier, as do adults.  But a recent study out of The Chinese University of Hong Kong found that kids who didn’t get at least eight hours of sleep per night during the week, but who were allowed to sleep in on school holidays and weekends, were less likely to pack on the pounds than their peers who were chronically sleep-deprived.

While kids need a regular bedtime schedule that routinely gets them enough sleep for their age, we all have weeks where that just doesn’t happen.  Knowing that a few extra hours of sleep on Saturday morning can help is a relief.  But it’s still not a perfect solution.  After all, sleep experts tell parents to keep a child’s routine consistent over the weekend, since late mornings and late nights can throw off sleep patterns.

More, I think, this is a reminder to us all that despite school, homework, extracurricular activities, and family time, sleep still needs to be a priority in a child’s life.  (Find out how much sleep your child needs.)

Do you have trouble getting your kids to bed on time?  What kinds of tips and tricks work for you?

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