Why does lack of toddler sleep make them obese?
The recent studies showing that when kids aged 0-5 sleep less than 10 hours at night are markedly more obese five to seven years later has parents worried. It’s one thing that lack of rest leads to obesity and dying younger in adults – but toddlers? What’s going on?
Plenty. Brain development in the womb is driven by REM sleep. Though the child’s brain will be mostly adult sized by age 2, the development inside is enormous. Like the acorn growing into an oak, the brain is always developing, learning, rewiring, and at no time more than early in life. Plus
Less sleep deranges glucose metabolism – the brain only lives on glucose until we are starved a long time.
Less sleep leads to less learning and memory.
Less sleep deranges ghrelin and leptin levels helping control the desire to eat.
It’s obvious – rest is regeneration. That’s what is required for the brain and body to develop.
In this case, less is not more.
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