Did you know between 25% and 30% of the childhood population suffer from sleeping disorders that would be solved by proper habits such as a efficient sleep schedule. Numerous studies confirm the relationship between lack of sleep and higher weight throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
A “healthy lifestyle” does not just mean a balanced diet. The importance of regular physical activity, sleep routines, and working on mental health are all vital.
Many obese children and teenagers sleep less than the amount of hours they need. Sleeping the necessary amount reduces the possibility of being overweight or obese by 36%. The effects of a lack of sleep go beyond being tired the next day. If you don’t sleep well you eat more unhealthy foods, participate in less physical activity, and tend to be more irritable.
How to ensure children receive adequate rest:
Sleep the necessary amount of hours: An adequate sleep is fundamental for healthy physical, emotional, and social development of children. When we sleep more we do not only rest more, we also have more energy which allows us to enjoy daily activities. In the case of boys and girls, it is proven that those who sleep the necessary amount of sleep have a lower risk of becoming obese.
Ages 3-5 need 11-13 hours of interrupted sleep
Ages 6-12 need between 10-11 hours of sleep
Ages 12-18 need 9-9.5 hours of sleep
Adults (18+) need 7-9 hours of sleep
Turn off screens 30 minutes before going to bed: Exposure to artificial light provokes the stimulation of the central nervous system. In the brain, these stimulants are associated with being awake and active. It is important to keep in mind that disconnecting at least half an hour before heading to bed. Turning off electronics, screens (including e-books), and doing something else that helps relax and get sleep is key.
Optimal conditions in the home: The temperature, amount of light, or noise level are key with good sleep quality.
Familiar routine and rhythm: How do you get your child to sleep? Having a good nightly routine before going to sleep has been shown to significantly improve the sleeping pattern of children and teenagers. Always going to sleep at the same time and following the same routine (brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, turning off the lights, reading a book, etc.) is key in preparing the body for sleep.