Another Reason To Get Serious About Sleeping

A new study published this week links babies and toddlers sleeping habits with obesity later in life.

We take Lauren's sleep very seriously and made a commitment to ourselves and to her, even before she was born.  Many families, like ours, have working parents, which makes relatively reliable schedules very important.  Some families, like ours, have parents who work odd hours.  This, too, makes a solid sleep schedule very important.  That's just talking about the family dynamic, though.  So many of the reasons experts say you work to help your child sleep well are because of the many benefits to the baby.

The latest study about sleep and babies talks about the possible detriments of babies and toddlers not getting enough sleep.  The study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found "insufficient sleep at night may be a lasting risk factor for obesity later in life and that napping cannot replace the benefits of nighttime sleep."    

Dr. Janice Bell from the University of Washington Bell found that babies and children up to age 4 who didn’t sleep enough at night were "80 percent more likely to be obese [five years later] compared to other[s] who had long sleep."  The same link to obesity was not present in children between the ages of 5 and 13 who stayed up late.  

Eighty percent. That's a concerning number. 

The Centers for Disease Control has a list of how much sleep babies, children and adults need.  You can find the information here.  Babies two months and younger need to sleep between 10.5 - 18 hours a day, when you combine total nap and nighttime sleep.  Babies from two months to twelve months need a total of 14 - 15 hours.

"Sufficient sleep is not a luxury-it is a necessity-and should be thought of as a vital sign of good health," says Dr. Wayne Giles, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

What are your thoughts on babies and toddlers and their sleep? 

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