We know that everyone needs plenty of sleep, but here is a new study that shows a link between lack of sleep and metabolism in children.


Suboptimal sleep patterns in children linked with obesity and adverse metabolic outcomes

Summary. Short sleep duration, variable sleep patterns, and lack of catch-up sleep on weekends were linked with obesity, and contributed to adverse metabolic outcomes in children. The authors urge emphasis on education regarding increased, less-variable sleep to help reduce obesity rates and improve metabolic trends.

Basis for Study. Obesity has increased as sleeping patterns have changed and duration increased in recent years. Short sleep duration or sleep disruption may be linked with metabolic dysfunction and obesity in children but has not been thoroughly studied.

Study. In a cross-sectional, community-based cohort of 308 children (ages 4 to 10; 71.4% non-Hispanic white), sleep duration and sleep patterns were tracked with wrist actigraphs for 1 week and measured against BMI, fasting morning plasma levels of glucose, insulin, lipids, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein.

Results. Children overall routinely slept an average of 8 hours per night, below current recommended hours. Among obese children however, variation during the school week was greater with less catch-up sleep on weekends. Highly variable duration and short duration were linked with altered metabolic markers. The greatest health risk was shown in children with low sleep duration combined with irregular sleep schedules.

Sources & Other Links. Spruyt K, Molfese DL, Gozal D. Sleep Duration, Sleep Regularity, Body Weight, and Metabolic Homeostasis in School-aged Children. Pediatrics. 2011 Jan 24. [Epub ahead of print]