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What's Sleep Got to Do With Weight?

How Sleep and Weight May Be Linked continued...

Kids who don't sleep enough have a hard time feeling full. While you're asleep, your body makes a hormone called leptin. Leptin tells your body that it's full after you've eaten. If you don't sleep enough, your body might not make enough leptin. Without enough leptin, your brain won't get the message that you're full, and you could eat way more food than your body needs to fuel itself.

Sleepy kids can feel hungry. Not getting enough sleep can also play tricks on your brain and make you feel hungry when you're really just tired. That's because when you don't get enough sleep your body makes a hormone that tells your brain it is time to eat. And eating when your body doesn't need food may lead to extra weight that your body doesn't need. When you're tired, sleep is best for your body and brain.

Overweight kids may not sleep as well. Being overweight may decrease how much you sleep. For one thing, your size may make it harder for you to get comfortable.


How to Get Enough Sleep

Sleeping just the right amount will help your body stay at a healthy weight. The thing is, everybody is a bit different. A healthy range of sleep for a kid can be from nine to 12 hours a night. You might need more sleep than your friends do to feel refreshed and energetic.

If you're having trouble falling asleep at night or are waking up too early in the morning, here are a few easy tips to help you get a good night's sleep:

  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night. And try to keep a bedtime routine.
  • Don't stay up more than an extra hour on weekends. On school nights, get to bed early enough to give you at least nine to 10 hours of sleep.
  • Turn off the TV and video games about an hour before bedtime. They can make you too excited to sleep. Instead, read or listen to soft music to calm you down so you can fall asleep easier.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet and dark to help you sleep.
  • Run, jump rope, or play sports for at least 60 minutes every day. But don't do it right before bed. Exercise during the day will help you fall asleep and sleep more soundly.
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