Sleep is important for a number of reasons, but a study has discovered a new one you may not know about. According to research from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES), the amount of sleep you get can impact your kids’ obesity risk.
The study states the amount of sleep parents get is connected to the amount of sleep their children get. The more parents are sleeping, the more children are sleeping, and more child sleep is connected to decreased childhood obesity.
“Parents should make being well rested a family value and a priority,” said Barbara H. Fiese, director of the University of Illinois’ Family Resiliency Center.
“Sleep routines in a family affect all the members of the household, not just children; we know that parents won’t get a good night’s sleep unless and until their preschool children are sleeping.”
It has been shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to moms, dads, and their children gaining weight.
To help your family get enough sleep, Fiese recommends limiting your kids’ TV exposure as well as their access to other electronic devices to two hours a day, and to turn them off completely at least half an hour before bedtime. A calming, predictable bedtime routine can also help ensure a good night’s sleep.
For parents, Fiese also suggests a calming routine of some kind. “We’re learning more and more about how important it is to unplug for a half-hour or so before we go to bed. At a certain time, turn off your electronic devices, even e-books, and engage in whatever soothing ritual helps you to relax enough to sleep.”
Beyond recommendations on how to get enough sleep, the study also showed that inadequate sleep isn’t just a problem for preschoolers, but elementary and high school students as well.
Fiese believes this lack of sleep is something that needs to be corrected for families to be healthy, and to help decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity.
“Paying attention to those three pillars of health – good nutrition, enough exercise, and adequate sleep – benefits everyone in the family.”