How to help an overweight child
Article in images

Children's sleeping patterns: how long should a child sleep for?

Children's sleeping patterns: how long should a child sleep for?
© La Redoute

Several studies have shown that children who don't get enough sleep are more at risk of being overweight. The recommended amount of sleep is 16-17 hours a day for under-3s, 12 hours a day for 3-5 year olds, 10-12 hours a day for 5-12 year olds and 8-9 hours a day for adolescents. 

Why is this? Experts have put forward several theories. What is known for sure is that sleep deprivation affects the hormones, which in turn affect weight gain.

-A short night's sleep reduces the circulation of leptin, a hormone secreted by our fat cells that tells the body it is full and is said to reduce appetite.

-Lack of sleep is also said to increase levels of ghrelin, a hormone produced by stomach mucus that increases appetite.

-A child suffering from lack of sleep will also suffer from a lack of energy and exercise less as a result. Lack of exercise is, of course, a factor in weight gain. 

So send your kids to bed early! If they have to get up at 7:30 in the morning for school, put them to bed between 8 and 9 o'clock, or at least make up for missed sleep at the weekend.


Sarah Horrocks
Rank this page: 

Don't miss...
7th episode: How to stay in shape while enjoying the company of your friendsGet a fabulous dancer's body!
Tone your bum with Ewa!How can you tone your shoulders while you’re in the kitchen?
Latest… 17/08/2017
What New Moms Can Expect During the First Month of Pregnancy
How to Determine the Sex of Your Baby & Why It Can Help You
The Final Stretch: Everything You Need to Know About the 7th Month of Pregnancy
Traveling while pregnant
See all Parenting guides
Fiona Philips on 'Big Mothered Britain'
See all Parenting videos

Don't miss out!

...Join our newsletter
Get the wewomen latest straight to your inbox
Find us on...