Thursday, November 19, 2009

 

Kids who don't get enough sleep are prone to obesity

I remember being constantly tired my first two years in high school. I was waking up before 6 am to catch a bus that took an hour to get me to school by 8.00 am. On the weekends I would try to sleep in but it never worked out because of obligations (church). I put on a lot of weight during that time.

Most children averaged just over nine hours during school time. But a significant proportion got less than eight hours a night.

When researchers looked at weekend and holiday sleeping patterns, they found those that caught up on their sleep on their days off managed to stay slim. But those that didn't lie in were more likely to have expanding waistlines.

They believe the weekend snooze is crucial for school-age children to catch up on the sleep they miss out on during a busy week.

The extra sleep helps to regulate calorie intake by reducing snacking during waking hours.

When I came home from school at 3.30 I would be starving but had to wait for dinner until 7 pm. As a consequence I raided the fridge most days for whatever I could find. In junior and senior year I started exercising and I had more say about when I could eat dinner and I lost the weight. Weight gain from lack of sleep makes sense to me, if you are tired you need the extra calories to stay awake but you are not necessarily more active during those extra waking hours. Later in life I gained a lot of weight when I started working a night shift. Again, more sleep deprivation.

Diego adds: I always tried to get 13 hours of sleep on the weekends to make up for the 5-6 hours a night during the week. I was told by the famous 'they' that 'catching up' on sleep was not possible and that you really needed a daily amount but that was never my experience.

People at any age who don't exercise are prone to obesity too. More so for those who consume large quantities of food and don't move around much. Playing sports, working out, or even just walking helps.

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