A growing healthy body and brain needs more than healthy foods and exercise. It also needs sleep. Lots of it! So many kids are sleep deprived these days and sleep deprivation contributes to health problems, learning issues, emotional issues and obesity! In chapter 3 in my book BodyInstinct, I explain why every adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep every night to be healthy and especially if they are trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose bodyfat! In that chapter I quote a study which has since been backed up by many more studies that show that sleep deprivation of even just a few hours for a few days wreaks havoc with the hormones that tell your body when it’s full and when it’s hungry. Not enough sleep is a guarantee that you’ll be eating more and be hungrier. Kids are no different. The same hormonal effects of sleep deprivation happens to them and causes them to eat more, be hungrier AND crave sugar for more energy. Kids need even more sleep than we do. Their bodies are still growing and changing and they just need more rest for those changes to occur. Kids of different ages need different amounts of sleep: The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a sleep guide for kids: (these hours are cumulative so add the naps in for your really little ones)
1-3 years old = 12 – 14 hours per day.
3-6 years old = 10-12 hours per day.
7-12 years old = 10 – 11 hours per day.
12-18 years old = 8.5 – 9.5 hours a day.
There will always be a night now and then where our kids will come up a little short on sleep, just do your best to make it the exception and not the rule. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz