Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Child's sleep linked to adulthood obesity risk

Adequate sleep is needed for normal cortisol and melatonin levels. When cortisol is high so is insulin. Insulin regulates blood sugar but it also helps to promote fat deposits. Ghrelin, a hormone which regulates satiation is also affected. Kids getting the usual Standard American Diet (SAD) of lots of sugar and artificial sweeteners, chemical additives, lots of simple carbs, low fiber, inadequate water and not enough excercise will sleep poorly. This will set up the vicious cycle of not enough sleep leading to obesity. The key point in this article is that the research shows that kids who don't get enough sleep in childhood will become obese adults. It has long term effects.

The bedroom should be free of distractions like TVs, computers, stereos, etc. It should be dark and well ventilated. The mattress should be firm and comfortable. The room and bedding should be as dust free as possible to reduce or eliminate dust mites. In short it should be a relaxing haven and a place to disconnect from the rest of the world. The bedroom should be for sleeping only, therefore no eating and no reading. Some of these suggestions may rub some the wrong way, but please just stop and think about how much stimulation we are exposed to every day. One of the main functions of the brain is to dampen all of the sensory stimuli that come our way. In today's electronic world we are constatly bombarding the brain with too much stimulus. At the very least the bedroom should be the place to shut it all out and give our brain and body a chance to recoup and function normally!

Mon Nov 3, 2008 11:50am EST
By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Consistently getting a good night's sleep may help protect children from becoming obese as adults, a study published Monday suggests.

Researchers found that among more than 1,000 people followed from birth to age 32, those who got too little sleep as children were more likely than their well-rested counterparts to become obese adults.

Even with a range of other factors considered -- like childhood weight and TV habits, and adulthood exercise levels -- there remained a link between sleep deprivation during childhood and obesity risk later in life.

All of this supports the idea that early sleep habits have a direct effect on weight in the long term, according to Dr. Robert John Hancox, the study's senior author.

"Although we cannot prove that this is a cause-and-effect relationship," he told Reuters Health, "this study provides strong evidence that it probably is."

Hancox and his colleagues at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, report the findings in the journal Pediatrics.

A number of studies have found that sleep-deprived adults and children are at greater risk of being overweight. However, this is the first study to show a long-term relationship between sleep and obesity risk, Hancox said.

The study involved 1,037 men and women who had been followed since their birth, between 1972 and 1973, up to the age of 32. When the participants were 5, 7, 9 and 11 years old, their parents reported on their usual bed time and wake-up time.

In general, Hancox and his colleagues found, as childhood sleep time declined, adulthood body mass index, or BMI, climbed.

Adults who had been "short sleepers" as children -- averaging fewer than 11 hours in bed each night -- generally had a higher BMI than those who'd gotten more sleep as kids.

"Importantly, this is not because children who were short sleepers grew up to be short sleepers as adults," Hancox pointed out. "In other words, inadequate sleep in childhood appears to have long-lasting consequences."

The findings, according to the researchers, suggest that weight control may stand as another reason for children to get a good night's sleep. Experts generally recommend that children between the ages of 5 and 12 sleep for about 11 hours each night, while teenagers should get 8.5 to 9.5 hours. **(Dr. Rosenberg's note; 7 hours of sleep per night is optimal for most adults).

It's thought that children today are getting less sleep than the generations before them did, Hancox noted. That trend, he added, could be helping to feed the rise in obesity.

No one knows for certain why lack of sleep is linked to heavier weight. One theory, based on research in the sleep lab, is that sleep deprivation alters the normal balance of appetite-stimulating and appetite-suppressing hormones. Sleepy children may also be too tired for physical activity during the day.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, November 2008.

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