November 12, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter
It is a well known fact that growing kids need plenty of sleep. In fact, children and adolescents need at least 9-12 hours a night in order to fuel their busy days. The benefits of sleep are countless, ranging from improved concentration during the school day, to sharper reflexes. Another perk of getting a good night’s rest is a healthy weight. Both quantity and quality of sleep play a role in this theory, as they affect the hormones that influence appetite. Two very important hormones called leptin and ghrelin are in charge of your hunger and fullness signals. The hormone ghrelin stimulates hunger, while leptin lets your body know when it is time to stop eating. When children don’t get enough sleep, the balance of these hormones is disrupted. Leptin levels drop, while ghrelin levels go up, creating an appetite that is hard to satisfy. So, if a child is sleep deprived, he or she will overeat and consume an excess amount of energy. This pattern of overeating may eventually lead to unwanted weight gain…and obesity if left unchecked. Statistics show that those who sleep less tend to weigh more, while those who sleep more tend to weigh less. The solution to this is to make sure your children are going to bed early enough every night in order to reap all of the benefits of a good night’s sleep. This is one step toward a healthy lifestyle that is easy enough to do you in your sleep…literally!