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Goodnight, Sleepy Head: The Link Between Sleep and Childhood Obesity

So how can you help your child maintain a consistent and adequate sleep cycle? The National Sleep Foundation offers some tips:

  • Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on the weekends.
  • Create a regular and relaxing bedtime routine, such as taking a hot bath or listening to soothing music. Begin the routine an hour or more before bedtime.
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Make sure your child uses his bedroom only for sleep. Have him avoid watching television, using the computer, or reading in bed.
  • Finish eating two to three hours before bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly, preferably finishing at lest two to three hours before bedtime.
  • Remember to treat sleep like a priority. It is important to schedule it into your family's day, just like you would any other activity. A well-rested child makes for a happier, healthier, and more productive child. And that will benefit your entire family.

    Other Ways to Prevent Obesity
    Aside from getting enough shut eye, there are other ways to help reduce your child's risk of becoming overweight or obese.

    Try to limit time in front of the television and computer, including playing video games. Not only does it reduce physical activity, but it also invites mindless snacking. Encourage your children to be active, either through sports, play, or family activities.

    Also, make an effort to sit down and eat together as a family as often as possible. Studies have shown this can drastically reduce a child's risk of obesity. Be a good role model by eating a healthy diet, providing nutritious meals, and encouraging your child to choose fresh foods over fast or processed options.

    By making a family effort, you'll set your child on the right path to an active and healthy lifestyle.



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