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Earlier Bedtimes for Kids May Cut Obesity Risk Later On

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Childhood bedtime

The nightly struggle to persuade your child to go to sleep is one that is infamously known, especially to current parents of preschoolers.

Although this seemingly never-ending struggle often feels futile, an earlier bedtime can improve your child's behavior, memory, emotional health, and overall wellbeing.

According to a study by the International Journal of Obesity, researchers found that a regulated family structure, including scheduled mealtimes, bedtimes and limited screen time, might lower the risk of obesity later in life. By evaluating the bedtimes of preschoolers as reported by their mothers, researchers concluded that children who went to bed after 9 pm were twice as likely to be obese later in life than children who went to bed by 8 pm. According to the study, the children who had the latest bedtimes had the highest rates of obesity when they were evaluated again as teenagers.

Getting the right amount of sleep is important in regulating the release of hormones which control your child's appetite and metabolism during sleep. From supporting their emotional health to preventing cravings and tantrums, adequate sleep is essential for children and teenagers. Childhood obesity can create a host of lifelong problems at an early age, including diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health issues.

How much sleep is enough sleep for your child? The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children between 3 to 5 years old get 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day, including naps. Although parents' work schedules don't always align with recommended guidelines, making sleep a priority for your family is key.

Healthy Sleep Suggestions

  • Establish a nighttime routine and bedtime
  • Turn off any screens at least a half an hour before bedtime
  • Turn off lights, limit distracting noises, and maintain a comfortable temperature to encourage sleep
  • Talk to your child's pediatrician about suggestions to improve sleep and obesity prevention

Ensuring a good night's sleep for your family may help to protect them in the future. Learn more about the relationship between sleep and your child's health from experts at Doylestown Health.

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Doylestown Health is committed to providing family-centered children's services to Bucks and Montgomery County communities.  The Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center offers expert inpatient care to all ages including infants, children and teens. Della Penna Pediatric Center Services extend beyond the hospital setting to include health and wellness education, nutrition services and other support services.

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