Study: Kids Who Sleep More, Eat Less
A new study found that children who are not getting enough sleep have an increased risk for obesity.
In a study at Brown University, researchers measured leptin levels in children – high leptin levels correlate with fat tissue accumulations. They randomly divided 37 children aged 8 to 11 into two groups and increased their sleep time by an hour and a half per night. The study team monitored their calorie intake three times per week and measure leptin levels (a hormone that affects hunger). The following week, the scientists decreased the children’s sleep time at the same rate. The researchers found that the children consumed 134 fewer calories each day during the week that sleep was increased and fasting leptin levels were lower. The study was published online in the journal, Pediatrics.
The lead author, Chantelle N. Hart, an associate professor of public health at Temple University who was at Brown University when she did the study, cautioned that it was small, and looked only at acute changes in sleep and their effect on eating behaviors. However, the findings still suggest that getting a good night’s sleep may have important benefits for weight regulation.