New research from the US has highlighted the benefits of sleeping in at the weekend in helping children combat obesity . It is known that not enough sleep increases the risk of obesity and other health problems in children; however, catching up on sleep at weekends and holidays was shown to counteract bad sleeping patterns during the week.
The study, published in Pediatrics, examined the sleep of over 300 children aged between 4 and 10 years over a period of a week, comparing sleep patterns with the body mass index (BMI) of each child, and revealed that they were sleeping for eight hours per night on average.
David Gozal, lead researcher, commented “This is way lower than the recommended amount of sleep that kids should get, which is about 9.5 to 10 hours at this age.”
The research found that those children who did get the recommended hours of sleep, the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems was zero. However, when the amount of sleep lessened and its regularity was more haphazard, the risk of obesity was seen to rise.
The children with the shortest sleep and most disorganised sleep patterns experienced a fourfold rise in the risk of being obese, as well as increased risk pre-diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Although, when the team monitored the effects of consistently sleeping longer at the weekends to compensate, the risk of obesity and issues was reduced.

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