It usually happens to all of us. When we have that sleepless night, either because worries seem to give us no rest or because we had an amazing night out, the next day we feel both drained and extremely hungry. It is somehow a logical and natural reaction in our bodies, as precious resources are used to keep our system running at full power but the next day, our bodies need those resources back in order to keep working properly.
It is the natural state of balance which occurs and based on this theory, it seems that sleep deprived children are highly tempted by food.
Five year olds who sleep less than 11 hours a night are more eager to eat at the sight or reminder of a favorite snack, compared to those who sleep longer, as researchers have reported in the International Journal of Obesity.
Moreover, children who sleep less than 11 hours at night also have a higher body mass index, compared to those who slept 11 hours or more. As the findings reveal a certain need of sleep in order to help children develop normally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 11 to 12 hours of sleep for pre-school children.
Insufficient sleep or short sessions of rest increase reward driven eating. The natural balance strikes again, as when a certain lack appears, we tend to suit our moods or heal our bodies with that which makes us feel good about ourselves.
This is not the first study conducted in this respect, as previous pieces of research have also shown that too little sleep can significantly increase the chances that a child will be obese or overweight. What was less known is that sleep affects daily calorie intake.
When all else fails, food seems to be the best reward. It always comes in handy and it always provides that temporary boost we all need when we are too tired to think of anything else. Furthermore, food always offers satisfaction and keeps our tummies pleased. This is the reason why parents must be aware of the sleeping habits their children have, as “hedonic” eating could replace the missed hours of rest.
The research has involved 1.008 five year olds born in 2007 in Wales and England and the researchers had mothers answer a questionnaire about their youngsters’ responsiveness to food cues and their behavior towards food when they were supposedly full soon after eating.
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