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How a Lack of Sleep Could Cause Your Child to Be Overweight

A good night’s sleep is essential for children to stay alert and learn in school and also for them to stay healthy. Lack of sleep can affect their concentration and focus. If they cannot focus on tasks in school, their education will eventually suffer as they will not be able to keep up with the other children.
Not getting enough sleep can also affect their moods, making them listless and irritable. It also has a detrimental effect on their social skills, making it difficult for them to make and maintain friendships. Their general state of health will also suffer if they do not sleep properly, as this is when most cell renewal takes place. Children under three years old typically need around twelve to fourteen hours sleep, and children under twelve need between ten and eleven hours every night.
There are many things that can interfere with a good night’s sleep. A clean and comfortable sleeping area with comfortable mattresses and suitable bed covers is essential. Make sure that all light is blocked out with heavy curtains or blinds.
Problems with sleep can cause behavioral problems for children. Some children become hyperactive when overtired and these symptoms can be confused with those of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A misdiagnosis can result in unnecessary medication of your child.
Sleep and weight issues
Studies have shown that being overweight can cause sleep problems, with overweight children sleeping for twenty minutes less each night than those of a healthy weight. Sleep problems can also make weight issues even worse.
Lack of sleep causes the metabolism to malfunction. Two naturally occurring hormones, Ghrelin and Leptin, tell our bodies when they need to eat and when they are full. If someone has not had enough sleep, more Ghrelin is produced, making the person feel hungry more often. When you have had the sleep you need, more Leptin is produced, so you don’t feel so hungry. Your body can go further on less food.
This means that children who do not sleep enough are likely to eat more than they need during the day. They are also more likely to reach for sugary or starchy snacks for the sugar rush that gives them a more wide-awake feeling. This will then have an impact on their quality of sleep as their sugar levels spike and then fall sharply during the night. They are likely to wake in the night or be restless, which in turn causes excess tiredness the following day.
Another factor is that when children have not slept well, their metabolism slows down, taking their bodies longer to digest food. This, coupled with a higher intake of food, will cause them to gain weight.
 What can be done?
A combination of good diet and exercise can help to break this cycle. Exercising in the morning will give children more energy and make their bodies and minds alert and ready to face the day. Healthy snacks and meals will give them steady energy levels throughout the day and night, allowing them to sleep better for longer.
Other ways of improving a child’s sleep include not eating the evening meal too close to bedtime and reducing the time spent playing computer games and watching TV during the day. Children should not be allowed to watch TV in bed at night, as this will keep their minds alert. Relaxing activities should be encouraged before bed, such as having a warm bath, listening to relaxing music or reading. Keeping to an evening routine at the same time each night will help them prepare for a better night’s sleep.

Author bio
This guest post has been written by Robert E a serial blogger who enjoys blogging on a range of topics including health, sleep, lifestyle & finance.