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Sleep And Weight Could Be Linked

May 20, 2014, 6:00 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Sleep And Weight Could Be Linked

You've likely heard that not getting enough sleep can increase your chances of being overweight as an adult. But a new study finds even young children who get less sleep are more likely to be obese later in life.

The Hill family has the same routine every night. That includes reading a story.

"It usually starts at about 7:30, especially for the oldest ones," Lindy Hill said.

The bedtime story, plus a bath, helps the kids get ready for bed. It's very helpful because like most parents, Lindy Hill can tell you getting kids to sleep isn't always an easy task.

"It can be pretty difficult at bedtime where they just don't want to go to bed, and they do their typical kid things where they want to do anything possible to avoid going to bed," Hill said.

"(Kids) should have the same bedtime every night seven days a week," Avera pediatrician Dr. Rick Kooima said.

Kooima says children should avoid a lot of screen time for a couple hours before going to bed. Also, you can help your children by teaching them self-quieting techniques.

"It's not so much letting them cry and scream for crying sake, but to help them reach a point where they can just relax and go to sleep," Kooima said.

Kooima recommends letting children fuss for 15 to 20 minutes. If they're not calming down by then, you can go inside their room and try to help them fall asleep.

These tips are especially important because new research shows poor sleep habits could do more than just cause your children to be irritable. They could lead to obesity later in life.

"It probably has something to do with the way our body handles Cortisol and some of the hormones that circulate in our body, but this has been a pretty consistent finding over the last several years," Kooima said.

Meanwhile, Hill says he's not surprised by the new findings.

"If you don't have the energy, you are not going to want to do anything. You are not going to want to get up and run outside," Hill said.

Current guidelines recommend children up to two years old get at least 12 hours of sleep a day. Three and four year olds should sleep for at least 10 hours.

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