Category Archives: Sleep

News flash: Nap-less toddlers get cranky

Gimme my nap, or else!

This is one for the “Research Done by People Who Must Not Have Kids of Their Own” file…

Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, recently discovered that toddlers deprived of naps tend to be crabbier than their “napped” peers, and do more poorly at puzzles and such. (Well, huh! My mother could have told them that.) The Boulder-ites speculate that tired, crabby toddlers may grow up to be tired, crabby adults, too. Check back in 20 years for an update on that one.

In the meantime, stay tuned for the next study from the U of C: “Hungry Toddlers Can Be Quite Unpleasant.”

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Filed under Development, Sleep

More on sleep and obesity

I realize I’ve been neglecting older kids lately, what with all the home birth posts…

This post tags on to a previous post about night-owl teens being more prone to obesity. Now a study published in the journal Chest shows that sleeping less than 8 hours a night on weeknights is associated with obesity in adolescent boys, but for some reason not in girls. There’s a chicken and egg element to all this, as usual. The authors speculate that poor sleep may lead to hormonal changes that promote obesity. But obese kids tend to have poorer quality sleep in general–they’re more prone to sleep apnea, for example. So is it the lack of sleep that leads to obesity, or is it being obese that causes teens not to sleep well? Given the boy-girl difference, I suspect its hormonal.

No matter the reason for the sleep-obesity link, this is one more study that shows the importance of adequate sleep for kids.

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Filed under Obesity, Sleep

Night-owl teens: more sedentary, overweight.

To paraphrase the old adage: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a child healthy, more active, and less obese.” (Not as snappy as the original, but it’s sooo much more 21st century…)

A study of 2,200 Australian teens published in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine confirms what a lot of people (me included) have long observed—kids who stay up late and sleep in late are often more sedentary, overweight, and more hooked on TV, electronic games, and social networking than their early-to-bed classmates.

What this study adds to the discussion: the link to obesity remains even when the late and early sleepers got the same amount of sleep.

There’s a bit of chicken-and-egg going on here, as there often is with research findings. Does a night-owl sleep pattern per se cause a child to become sedentary and obese, or do sedentary activities like late night gaming and texting leave teens with less time and energy to participate in datytime activities? I suspect it’s more the latter. For kids getting the same amount of sleep, two nighttime hours on Facebook or texting means two hours less of potential daytime exercise.

Whatever the case, parents are well-advised to keep an eye on their teens’ nocturnal activities, and establish a firm gimme-that-cellphone! bed time. And take the computer and TV out of the bedroom. Expect some resistance, but hey, did you really think this parenting business was going to be easy?

Here’s some more information on teens and sleep from the National Sleep Foundation.

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Filed under Obesity, Sleep