An image of two preschoolers with their heads on top of a school desk, which is a result of sleep deprivation in kids.

Sleep deprivation in kids is becoming a rising problem.

How are your children sleeping? In our last post, we talked about how a lack of sleep in adolescents affects their life choices in the future. Another study has discovered that preschoolers (Ages 3 to 4 years old) are more likely to develop bad eating habits if they suffer from sleep deprivation. Find out why it is important for children to take naps during the first few years of their lives, and how to prevent sleep deprivation in kids.

What Research Says About Sleep Deprivation in Kids

The research was performed at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where researchers sought to mimic the sleeping habits of preschoolers. They did this by depriving the kids of an afternoon nap and keeping them up two hours later than their bedtimes. The next day, they let the children sleep as much as they could.

The researchers’ test resulted in the kids consuming at least 20 percent more calories than they would normally eat. Even after receiving an adequate amount of sleep the next day, the children still consumed at least 14 percent more calories than usual.

Apparently, this issue is becoming a common problem. The National Sleep Foundation has found that 30 percent of these children are not sleeping enough.

“We found that sleep loss increased the dietary intake of preschoolers on both the day of and the day after restricted sleep,” says Assistant Professor LeBourgeois of the Department of Integrative Physiology and lead author.

How to Prevent Sleep Deprivation

This study is revealing. It confirms that the link between sleep and obesity is the same in children as it is in adults. In order to prevent your child from developing bad eating habits, here are a few points to remember:

  • Preschoolers need their naps.
  • Children around the age of 3 and 4 years old need go to bed at a regularly scheduled time.
  • According to the CDC, preschoolers need at least 11 to 12 hours of sleep a day.