Does Your Child Get Enough ZzzZzzz’s?

Tuesday, my daughter wanted to go to school desperately, but she was exhausted. She kept falling back to sleep. Against my better judgment, I went ahead and took her up there, but as soon as she was in her classroom, she kept laying her head down on her table and her teacher and I had the same thought – she was either feeling ill or she was too tired to be there. Either way, I took her back home with me.

She napped most of the morning, curled up on the sofa. She napped a part of the afternoon as well. By evening, she was more like her old self and despite all the naps throughout the day, she went right to sleep that night. She woke up Wednesday morning, her normal bouncy, bouncy self. All I can think is that we overdid it over the weekend with all of our running around. And despite our best efforts, I’m pretty sure she was aware of some of the stress we were under.

Chronically Sleepy

A problem in a modern world is that most people don’t get enough sleep. Our children aren’t getting a lot of sleep either. Kids who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight than those children who do get enough. A study published by Northwestern University on Wednesday used information gathered in detailed diaries by families who kept careful track of their children’s sleep patterns and more.

The study took place over the course of five years and it indicated that children who got less sleep were more likely to gain weight over five years. The likelihood of being overweight increased from 30 percent to 36 percent for children who weren’t getting enough sleep. Based on the detailed information they kept, the study found that children with less sleep had a higher BMI even with other factors (race, income, education and ethnicity) taken into consideration.

Children between the ages of 5 and 12 need at least 10 hours of sleep a night. I know some people look at me like I’m nuts, but on school nights, I require m daughter go to bed at 7:30 and no later than 8. She generally wakes up anytime between 5:30 and 6:30. This gives her roughly 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night. Any less than that and she may have behavioral issues and more.

While the study doesn’t say why not getting enough sleep can cause kids to be overweight, some researchers believe that lack of sleep affects hormones that stimulate appetite. It’s important to remember that our bodies get energy from two sources – our nutrition and our sleep. If we’re lacking in one, we try to get more from another.

Without enough sleep, we’re more likely to be sleepy during the day and less interested in high-energy sports and activities. It’s part of our job as parents to look out for our children. If your child is not getting enough sleep, it can inhibit their cognitive functions, decrease their physical activity and make them a little cranky pants as well.

How much sleep does your child get?

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.