Many studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep have a higher incidence of overweight. Now, there is new information about the behaviors which cause this.
A new study in the journal Sleep has found that teenagers who sleep fewer than 8 hours/night on weeknights consume more of their daily calories from fat and fewer from carbohydrates when compared to teens who sleeping 8 or more hours/night (remember that teens need, on average, just over 9 hours/sleep a night). The researchers also found that those who slept less than 8 hours/night were more than two times more likely to consume more than 475 calories/day in snacks.
How can these findings be understood, in what context should they be placed, and how can this information be useful to parents trying to get their kids to sleep at a decent hour?
Insufficient sleep has been demonstrated to be linked with disruptions in levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which play a role in mediating the senses of hunger and satiety (feeling full). When this is off, the brain receives an altered picture of the body's need for food, and responds accordingly.
As for the context, it is no secret that overweight and obesity are major health concerns, both for adults and for children. According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last month, an estimated 16.9% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese, with 18.1%. of children age 12-19 obese.