Sleep, diet, and exercise are the three most important things when it comes being healthy. While the latter two aspects are followed by many, people tend to overlook the importance of proper sleep. This is why even after hours in the gym and maintaining a low fat diet, some simply cannot achieve their fitness goals

A new study shows that sleep is equally important for children as well. The study conducted by researchers at the University of London reveals that children who do not get enough sleep each night are more likely to develop diabetes compared to the kids who get adequate sleep. This is due to the fact that each additional hour of sleep that children get is linked to their having lower body fat, leaner muscles and lesser accumulation of sugars in the bloodstream.

How was the study conducted?

Researchers conducted the study of over 4,500 children and collected data regarding their sleep patterns. The researchers also analyzed lab tests indicating the risk factors for diabetes of these children who were aged between nine and 10. On an average it was discovered that children slept 10.5 hours on a school night. The duration of sleep varied between 8 to 12 hours for all of these kids. The lab tests were then used to check how the risk factors varied with the sleep duration in these children.

What the results show

Researchers discovered that the children who slept for a lesser amount of time were more likely to have a diabetes risk factor called insulin resistance, which prevents the body from reacting normally to the sugar regulating hormone.

The study also found that children who slept less were more likely to be overweight or obese than those who got sufficient sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged 6 to 12 should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep every night.

Researchers explained what caused this negative impact on the health of the children due to insufficient sleep.

They revealed that when kids have an irregular bedtime, they are more prone to skip meals or have an irregular time of consuming meals. This adversely affects the health and constitution of the child. Not getting the recommended amount of sleep also forces the body's hormones to act abnormally, increasing the appetite and causing obesity.

Scientists also explained that proper sleep can be enhanced by a process called sleep hygiene. This may include many different aspects such as limiting the amount of TV the child watches before bed and also ensuring that the bedroom is completely dark while the kids are sleeping. Keeping the bedroom clean and proper is another way to promote sleep hygiene.

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