Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 31st 2015 Contents B26
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, August 31, 2015
Children who don t get enough sleep might be
more tempted by food, a new study suggests.
Five-year-olds who slept less than 11 hours a night
were more eager to eat at the sight or reminder of
a favourite snack, compared to those who slept longer,
researchers reported in the International Journal of
The children who slept less than 11 hours at night
also had a higher body mass index---a measure of
weight in relation to height---than those who slept
11 hours or more. The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention recommends 11 to 12 hours of sleep
for pre-school children.
"There is now accumulating evidence in both chil-
dren and adults to suggest that short or insufficient
sleep increases reward-driven ( hedonic ) eating,"
said Laura McDonald, the study s lead author and
a researcher at University College London, in email
to Reuters Health.
"This is, of course, a concern," she added, "given
that we live in a modern obesogenic environment"
where tasty, high-calorie foods "are widely available
and cheap to consume."
Previous studies have shown that too little sleep
significantly increases the
chances that a child will
be overweight or obese,
McDonald and her team
point out. But less was
known about how sleep
affects daily calorie intake.
"Some studies using
brain imaging in adults
have shown that sleep
responsiveness in reward
centres of the brain in
response to images of
no studies in children have
examined whether sleep
changes food responsive-
ness," noted McDonald.
The new study involved
1,008 five-year-olds born
in 2007 in England and
Wales. The researchers had mothers answer a ques-
tionnaire about their youngsters responsiveness to
food cues and their behaviour toward food when
they were presumably full, soon after eating.
The average sleep duration for the children in the
study was 11.48 hours.
Among children who slept less than 11 hours a
night, food responsiveness was 2.53 on a scale of one
to five, compared to 2.36 for those who slept 11 to
12 hours, and 2.35 for those who got at least 12 hours
of sleep a night.
"In children who do not get enough sleep at night,
limiting exposure to palatable food cues in the home
might be helpful at preventing overconsumption,"
While the study can t prove that less sleep causes
more eating, McDonald said another possibility is
that the reverse might be true. "It is definitely a pos-
sibility that food responsiveness might impact sleep
behaviour," she said. "For example, it could be that
children who are more food responsive are also more
difficult to settle at night (when adults or older
children might be eating)."
Emerson Wickwire, director of the Insomnia Pro-
gramme at the University of Maryland School of
Medicine, told Reuters Health by email that the study
adds a new twist to research showing sleep is a risk
factor for obesity.
"The current study suggests a new potential expla-
nation (hedonic eating) for weight gain among children
who sleep less...in other words, kids in the study
who slept less were more susceptible to unhealthy
food cues in the environment," said Wickwire, who
Sleep deprived kids are
more tempted by food
was not involved in the study.
Wickwire said the study also showed the impor-
tance of sleep for children. "We know that parents
have a huge influence on the sleep patterns of five-
year-olds. So really, it s incumbent on parents to
make sure their kids are getting enough sleep," said
Wickwire, a board-certified sleep specialist. (Reuters)
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
There is now
evidence in both
children and adults
to suggest that
short or insufficient
This is a concern
given that we live in
foods are widely
available and cheap
A sleep deprived child is not only going to be tired but will also be prone to
snacking and obesity.
Links Archive August 30th 2015 September 1st 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page