...he or she sleeps fewer than 12 hours a day.
At least that’s what a new study from Harvard is showing. Babies and toddlers who slept fewer than 12 hours a day had a doubled risk of being obese at age 3 than the other children. And if the kids who didn’t get their 12 hours also watched more television than the others, they fared even worse.
The article that summed up these findings called the evidence “startling,” but I don’t see what’s so startling about all this. We’ve known for some time now that sleep and obesity are linked. When you don’t get your Zs, the body’s regulation of hormones associated with appetite and hunger get thrown off course. Put simply, when you are sleep deprived, you’re hungrier. That would be true whether you’re an adult or a child.
I can’t think of a more preposterous image than that of an obese baby. The real question here is why kids so young are already falling into the adult-like traps of not getting enough sleep. There are so many distractions today for even the little ones. It’s disheartening to hear that a child can become overweight by preschool!
But if they are sitting for hours in front of the television, they aren’t spending time playing and expending energy. Compounding that issue is the lack of sufficient sleep.
Twelve hours may seem like a long time, but kids at this tender age need that much sleep for growth and development, as well as a healthy physiology. As they lose the need for so much sleep as they get older, those distractions become even greater— creating more poor sleep habits.
This is just further evidence that we MUST teach our children the importance of sleep. What is this world coming to?