Sleep deprivation, Type 2 diabetes may be linked, study says

Study published in Journal of Pediatrics

A new study suggests that a lack of sleep in children may also be linked to Type 2 diabetes. 

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, looked at the sleep patterns of about 5,000 children ages 9 and 10.

The children in the study slept an average of 10.5 hours a night.

"Kids between 6 and 12 years old should really be getting between nine and 12 hours of sleep per night. Younger kids should get even more," Consumer Reports Health Editor Julia Calderone said.

Researchers found that for every extra hour of sleep the kids got, risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, such as body mass index, body fat, insulin resistance and glucose levels, went down. 

"It doesn't prove a direct correlation, but it does suggest a connection," Calderone said. "So researchers and parents, frankly, need to be looking at this more closely."

Over the past 15 years, there's been growing evidence that children and adolescents are getting less and less sleep -- while Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in young people.

Calderone said parents can encourage healthy sleeping habits from an early age by limiting screen time before bed, keeping bedtime routines consistent and restricting caffeine.

Soda, energy drinks and chocolate cause sleep problems, especially if children consume them later in the day.

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