Children aged four and under who get less than 10 hours of sleep a night are nearly twice as likely to be overweight or obese five years later, according to a U.S. study.
Researchers from the University of California and University of Washington in Seattle looked at the relationship between sleep and weight in 1,930 children aged 0 to 13 years old who took part in a survey in 1997 and again five years later in 2002.
For children who were four years old or younger at the time of the first survey, sleeping for less than 10 hours a night was associated with nearly a twofold increased risk of being overweight or obese at the second survey.
For older children, short sleep time was associated with increased odds of a shift from normal weight to overweight status or from overweight or obese status at follow up.
According to the National Sleep Foundation:
- Toddlers aged one to three years old should sleep for 12 to 14 hours a night
- Preschoolers, aged 3 to 5 years old, should sleep 11 to 13 hours
- Children 5- to 10-year-olds should get 10 to 11 hours.
- Teens should get 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep nightly.
These findings suggest there is a critical time period prior to age five when adequate nightly sleep may be important in terms of a healthy weight later on.
Adapted from article Anne Harding of Reuters Health