A good night’s sleep

This week we’re launching the newest phase of our childhood obesity campaign which encourages parents and guardians to set a good bedtime routine that allows children to get sufficient sleep.

As a parent of children who have now moved to the adult stage of their lives, I no longer need to set bedtime routines for them however I’m at the stage of waiting for them to come in from a night out, so now my own sleep is broken.

The link between lack of sleep and weight was a surprise for many of the parents we spoke with during development of the campaign. To help put it in context for them, we asked them to think about how they feel and act when as adults, we don’t get enough sleep –

Feel out of sorts and easily annoyed over small things?

Don’t feel like going for that walk or run?

Reach for the wrong types of food hoping for an energy boost?

So why would it be any different for a child?

Parents are more aware of the risks associated with everyday habits like too many treat foods/sugary drinks and not enough physical inactivity than they are of the importance of enough sleep. There is now good evidence showing that children with shorter sleep duration are at increased risk of overweight and obesity. We also know that too much screen time – whether that’s TV, games consoles, smartphones or tablets - is adversely impacting on children’s sleep patterns and length of sleep.

Experts recommend that children get at least the following amount of sleep for good health.

hours sleep needed for children

  • 11+ hours for under 5 year olds
  • 10+ hours for over 5 year olds
  • 9+ hours for over 10 year olds

Just like adults, children need some wind-down town before going to bed. The campaign provides tips on setting a good bedtime routine like avoiding physical activity and screens before bedtime. Having a bath or reading a book also help.

We hope the campaign will help parents reconsider their children’s sleep and bedtime routine. With one in four children carrying excess weight, small changes like getting enough sleep can make a big difference to children’s future health.

Now I’m off to get a well-deserved powernap!

Posted: 19/04/2015 21:58:06 by Ray Dolan
Filed under: Campaigns, Childhood obesity, Sleep

About Me

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Ray Dolan
Hi, my name is Ray Dolan and I am the CEO of safefood. I am married with 3 adult children and my background is in finance and administration. I am a trained accountant and was head of corporate operations at safefood before becoming CEO. I enjoy following sport as a fan and I play golf and tennis. I have given up on getting my handicap down but still dream of getting a hole in one.