Scientists discovered after several years of research that early bedtime could significantly reduce the risk of obesity among teenagers.
A team from the Ohio State University College of Public Health has conducted a study to establish the benefits of going to sleep early. Based on the results, they learned that early bedtimes play a crucial role in the healthy growth of the child.
According to Sarah Anderson, lead author of the study and associate epidemiology professor, poor sleep is associated with a higher risk of obesity. Other previous studies have shown that poor sleep increases the risk of other health conditions and even depression.
Teenagers who had a higher lack of sleep were more likely to have suicidal thoughts. The information from the latest study has been collected in 10 years. Anderson stressed that the most important finding was that preschoolers going to bed after 9 p.m. were twice more likely to suffer from obesity when they would be teenagers.
The research, known as Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and it first started 25 years ago.
According to Sarah Friedman, lead architect of the first part of the study and developmental psychology research professor at George Washington University, she and her team came up with the idea during a meeting of researchers from the National Academy of Sciences.
In 10 years, over 1,300 children were monitored by the experts to establish a fundamental perspective of the psychological development, growth, and health.
Even if Friedman was the scientific manager of the project until 2006, the study provided other experts with valuable information regarding the field of child development. Most importantly, the data collected by scientists represented an important source of information on other future studies as well.
Some 977 children from Friedman’s study participated in Anderson’s research. During the study, mothers provided scientists with the daily bedtime routine of their children. After ten years, when the participants were teenagers, the team measured their weight and height to establish their BMI (body mass index).
Based on results, 10 percent of the children who went to bed before 8 p.m. were labeled as obese compared with the children who went to bed after 9 p.m. where the rates of obesity among them were of 23 percent.
Also, 16 percent of those who had bedtime between 8 and 9 p.m. were regarded as obese.