The time that kids go to bed is an important determinant of how long they will sleep for. Later bedtimes have shown to be detrimental for learning and social development.

Recent research has found an association between later bed times and risk of obesity.

The Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development has followed children since 1991 and plotted the links between bedtime and obesity.

At five years of age, a quarter of the children had bedtimes before 8pm. Half went to bed between 8 and 9pm and the last quarter routinely stayed up beyond 9pm. When the researchers followed the participants up at age 17, the rates of obesity were 10%, 16% and 23% across the three bedtimes.

This means that the C compared to kids who went to bed early.

Implications

This study carefully tried to make sure that there were no differences in family income, ethnicity and the type of family (single parent, defacto or nuclear) to make sure that the results were applicable across the community.

The study also didn’t measure when the children were asleep, just when they were put to bed. It’s more than likely that once in bed, children will start the routine of going to sleep. What remains is the importance of going to bed early for long term health gains, including the possibility of reducing the risk of weight gain.

Last Reviewed: 17/10/2019

© Norman Swan Medical Communications.



References

Anderson SE at al. Bedtime in preschool-aged children and risk for adolescent obesity. The Journal of Pediatrics Epub online July 5, 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.06.005.