New research has suggested that young children who sleep for less that ten hours a night are more likely to be overweight as they grow older, reports the Daily Mail.
Scientists believe that a lack of sleep can cause an imbalance in hormones that control the appetite of children, meaning that those who aren’t sleeping enough are more likely to snack during the day.
The study, conducted by the Universities of Washington and California, researched the sleeping habits of almost one thousand under 5s. They discovered that children who slept for less than ten hours were twice as likely to be overweight or obese five years later.
“Insufficient night-time sleep among infants and pre-school-age children appears to be a lasting risk factor for subsequent obesity,” explained the research.
“These findings suggest that there is a critical window prior to age five years when night-time sleep may be important for subsequent obesity status,” concluded the study, which was published in the American journal the Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine,
To make sure your child gets plenty of sleep, check out our good sleep guide.