The researches find that childhood obesity rates high, many studies have investigated lifestyle factors that can make a difference which ones increase the risk and which ones reduce it. Beyond diet; a lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain both in adults and children; so it’s important that kids get enough shuteye; even with their and your busy schedules.

Investigated lifestyle factors

Since a child’s wake-up time is usually determined by when school or day care starts and can’t be easily altered; an earlier bedtime is needed to ensure kids get the sleep they need; according to research published in The Journal of Pediatrics. After following nearly 1,000 kids from birth to age 15; researchers found that attention to sleep needs to start in the preschool years.

For instance, 4-year-olds who went to sleep before 8 p.m. cut their obesity risk in half compared to those who went to sleep after 9 p.m. This simple lifestyle modification can make a lifelong health difference. Understandably; this is easier said than done when one or both parents work late, which can delay dinner and evening activities.

Lifelong health difference

So parents might need to make compromises or adjustments at least on weeknights when there’s less opportunity for family time. Given the link between sleep and a healthy weight, plus its many other benefits for kids’ well-being, setting that 8 p.m. bedtime could be well worth the trade offs to make it happen.

New brain scans reveal sleep deprivation damages children’s brains more than previously thought,” the Mail Online reports. Researchers measured the brain activity of children whose sleep had been restricted by four hours and found some potentially worrying signs. The study included 13 children aged between five and 12 and compared the effects of a normal night’s sleep (9pm bedtime) with a restricted night’s sleep (2am bedtime), both with the same wake up time.

Sleep deprivation damages

Previous studies in adults have shown that sleep restriction increases deep sleep waves patterns of brain activity associated with the deepest sleep in the front region of the brain. The researchers found similar effects in children, but this time at the back and side regions of the brain involved in planned movements, spatial reasoning, and attention.

The researchers were concerned this could impact on the development of the brain. Neural structures inside the brain change and adapt to the stimulus the brain receives; a concept known as plasticity. The worry is that the deep sleep waves could disrupt or slow down normal plasticity development.