A recent study suggests that your children may end up eating less if they get more sleep... in a good way that is. Researchers in the U.S. discovered that when children slept more than they usually do during the week, they ended up eating fewer calories per day (134 fewer to be exact), weighed about a quarter kilo less, and had less of the hormone leptin, which regulates hunger.
"Findings from this study suggest that enhancing school-age children's sleep at night could have important implications for prevention and treatment of obesity," said lead researcher Chantelle Hart from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa.
The four-week long study looked at 37 children between the ages 8 and 11. Approximately 1/4 of them were overweight and/or obese. In the initial week, the kids were asked to sleep their usual amount. During the second week, 50% of the children slept 1.5 hours more than their normal amount, and 50% slept for 1.5 hours fewer than their normal amount. For the third and fourth weeks of the study, the kids exchanged sleep schedules.
"Most of the difference in calorie intake occurred during the additional three hours that children were awake during the decrease condition with children reporting 103 kcal/day more during this time," the researchers stated. So it seems that the evening hours are when many of us, kids included, tend to snack excessively and consume unnecessary calories. Hitting the sack early might just be the way to go to keep our weight in check!