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Health news: New reason kids need sleep.

A new study published  in Pediatris says that kids who sleep less than they should may be at higher risk for high glucose levels and other metabolism disorders.

The study, published in the February issue of Pediatrics, studied sleep in 308 kids, aged 4 to 10.  The children wore wrist monitors to measure the amount of sleep time over seven days, and researchers gave blood tests for risk indicators like glucose, lipids, insulin, and c-reactive protein.  The findings were very startling:  obesity and abnormal glucose levels were four times more likely among the kids who slept the least.  It also found these factors were only slightly improved among kids who got “catch up” sleep over the weekends.  Abnormal blood levels in these “catch-up” kids were three times higher than kids getting the right amount of sleep.  Half of the kids in the study were already overweight or obese before the study began.

The study found that irregular sleep by itself, among children, maybe be a risk factor for metabolic problems.  Dr. David Goazal, the senior author of the the study, as reported by the New York Times, said, “As parents, we should be very attentive to preserving the treasure that is sleep — it means health for children’s brains and their bodies, their happiness and their well-being.’

Dads should consider this study as they develop and enforce bedtime rules for their kids.  While babies need up to 16 hours of sleep per day, kids between 4 and 10, need from 10-12 hours per day.