Here's another reason to get the kids to bed early: More sleep may lower their risk of becoming obese. Researchers have found that every additional hour per night a third-grader spends sleeping reduces the child's chances of being obese in sixth grade by 40 percent.
The less sleep they got, the more likely the children were to be obese in sixth grade, no matter what the child's weight was in third grade, said Dr. Julie Lumeng of the University of Michigan, who led the research.
If there was a magic number for the third-graders, it was nine hours, 45 minutes of sleep. Sleeping more than that lowered the risk significantly.
The study gives parents one more reason to enforce bedtimes, restrict caffeine and yank the TV from the bedroom. The study appears in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Lack of sleep plays havoc with two hormones that are the "yin and yang of appetite regulation," said endocrinologist Eve Van Cauter of the University of Chicago, who was not involved in the new study.
Full report: Lack of Sleep May Lead to Fatter Kids