Do you think your family are getting enough sleep? Have you wondered how lack of sleep can affect your health? Aileen McGloin, safefood scientific support manager, and Mum of 1, tells us about the health benefits of encouraging more sleep in kids, and wishes you a sleep filled Christmas!
I don’t know about you but I am sooo ready for the Christmas holidays. It’s been one of those years that started at a pace and continued to accelerate, with plenty of hills to climb on the way.
The turkey and ham will be great, and I’m not impartial to a present or two, but mostly I’m just desperate for a bit of extra sleep.
That’s probably a bit sad, but I did have a significant birthday this year (yes, not so much climbing hills as climbing over hills, you might say) and I’m guessing I have a right to be a bit more tired. I mean, there have to be some perks, right?
The thing is, the days barely get light, the temperatures are staying low and the duvet is just so darned cosy. And, while sleep is attractive in its own right, the most amazing thing is that it actually has huge health benefits.
I guess we all knew that we could think better and feel better with a few extra zzzzs but did you know that people who get more sleep are also less likely to be overweight? Not just adults, kids too.
I know, that sounds like one of those crazy health claims adverts before the EU regulations tightened up ‘Sleep your way to weight loss’ but this time it actually seems to be true. Scientists are still investigating how this happens, but it’s probably a combination of effects on our appetite and our motivation to be active after a good night’s sleep.
Not that I need any convincing.
So, when all the work is done; buying presents, hosting friends and family and cooking up a storm, don’t forget to turn off all alarm clocks, phones and anything that can disturb your precious sleep.
And if you are thinking of resolutions for the New Year, pop ‘more sleep’ on the list for you and your family. It might even be one we could all stick to.
- Regular bedtime routine can help children get the right amount of sleep.
- Encourage children to be active in the evenings to tire them out.
- Finish eating 2 or 3 hours before bedtime.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
- Keep your child’s bedroom a TV-free zone and get them to charge their phones and other devices downstairs.
- The recommended hours of sleep per night are:
- 11 hours for under 5 year olds
- 10 hours+ for over 5 year olds
- 9 hours for over 10 year olds.
From all at safefood we wish you a happy and healthy Christmas
For more tips and advice on sleep and children check out www.safefood.eu
About Author :
Aileen McGloin is the scientific support manager at safefood. She’s a public health nutritionist with a particular interest in food related behaviour. She writes many of the scientific reports produced by safefood, looks after the work of their Advisory Committee, manages their work on social media and is an occasional blogger. She love books, especially recipe books, fashion, walking, swimming and TV that is so bad it’s good. She lives in Co. Wicklow with my husband and 5 year old daughter, from whom she is taking assertiveness lessons :)
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