Sleeping Angels

How children's sleep affects their health and well being.

It’s Not Just the Donuts (Though They'll Make You Fat, Too)

Why not sleeping enough can make you gain weight.

New evidence that not getting enough sleep leads to weight gain. Researchers in Australia who followed a group of more than nine hundred children ages 7-12 over a four year period found a direct connection between the amount they slept at night and weight gain, overweight and obesity. The kids who got the most sleep had less weight gain than those who got the least.

 The difference over the four year period was five pounds. While this might not sound like a lot for adults, these were kids. When the weight gain was converted into BMI (body mass index), the difference was a full point.

How are sleep and weight gain connected? Not getting enough sleep disrupts the hormones which govern the senses of hunger and fullness, ghrelin and leptin. That’s why people who work night shifts often find themselves gravitating towards carbs, with predictable outcomes.

The bottom line for those trying to lose weight: eat less, move more, and make sure to get enough sleep.

Best,

Dennis

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Dennis Rosen, M.D.

Learn how to help your child get a great night’s sleep with my new book:

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids: Helping Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up With a Smile!

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Dennis Rosen, M.D., is a pediatric sleep specialist who practices at Children's Hospital Boston.

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