Monday, January 24, 2011

Sleep Deprivation and Obesity in Children

Here is an article emphasizing the importance of regular bedtimes and uninterrupted sleep for children (ages 4-10). Nine to 10 hours is the goal, with at least six and a half hours of deep sleep. It would be interesting to see how this information applies to adults.
The recommended sleep duration for children is nine to ten hours; however, the study followed 308 healthy children (aged four to ten) and found not only that a large portion did not meet that sleep goal, but many had erratic sleep issues. The lack of a long, deep sleep (durations of about 6.5 hours) and/or irregular sleep patterns were associated with altered levels of insulin, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and C-reactive protein (an indication of inflammation and cardiovascular risk).
Sleep deficit effects more than just your waistline. It can be detrimental to your ability to remain alert and attentive, and affect performance. It has been found that people who have slept fewer than six hours a night were more likely to develop a condition that precedes diabetes, increases the risk of high blood pressure and can lead to depression.

In Chinese Medicine, sleep problems in children often are found to relate to digestive distress and are treated with gentle herbs to support the digestion and calm the heart, leading to less worry and deeper sleep. These treatments work equally well for adults, though herbs for reducing stress and anxiety are frequently necessary as well.

Byron Russell