Children who regularly get a good night's sleep may be less likely to need obesity treatment in the future, researchers have said.
A study of 785 children found that eight-year-olds who slept for ten to 12 hours each night were less likely to be obese by the time they were 11 years old than those who slept for under nine hours.
Although the reasons for this trend are as yet unclear, researcher Dr Julia Lumeng of the University of Michigan suggested that tired children may be less likely to go out and play.
Dr Lumeng, whose research is published in the journal Pediatrics, commented: "Many children aren't getting enough sleep, and that lack of sleep may not only be making them moody or preventing them from being alert and ready to learn at school, it may also be leading to a higher risk of being overweight.
"This study suggests that an increased risk for overweight is yet another potential consequence of short sleep duration, providing an additional reason to ensure that children are receiving adequate sleep, primarily through enforcing an age-appropriate bed time," she added.
Independent advice on private healthcare