More Weekend Sleep May Help Prevent Weight Gain in Children

March 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

When children are given the opportunity to sleep more on weekends and holidays, the extra sleep may diminish the adverse effects of irregular sleep on weekdays. That’s according to a new study in the February 2011 issue of Pediatrics, which examined the effects of the length and regularity of sleep on Body Mass Index (BMI) metabolic regulation in children.

In the study, 308 children were monitored for one week, and regardless of their weight, averaged eight hours of sleep per night, significantly lower than current recommendations. Although obese children did not have radically different school day sleep schedules, the study found sleep duration was shorter and more irregular on weekends. Obese children were also less likely to experience “catch-up” sleep on weekends, and the combination of less sleep and more variable sleep patterns was associated with adverse metabolic outcomes.

The researchers concluded that public health campaigns promoting longer and more regular sleep, aimed at families, might help improve metabolic function and help children to maintain a healthy body weight.

Source: The American Academy of Pediatrics

Entry filed under: Managing your health, To Your Health.

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