Here’s another reason to encourage your teenagers to turn off their cell phones and get some shut-eye. According to a recent study, teenagers who go to bed early are much less likely to be obese and have a better chance of being physically fit compared to peers who go to sleep late. The authors of the study add that teenagers who go to bed later but sleep the same number of hours each day as those who put their heads down earlier have a higher risk of becoming overweight and unfit.
Researchers from the University of South Australia set out to determine whether bedtimes and waking up times might have an impact on the health and weight of 2,000 Australian children aged between 9 and 16 years. They also gathered data on their free time activities. They found that kids who went to bed late and got up late were 1.5 times more likely to become obese and 2.9 times more likely to be physically inactive. The kids who stayed up late spent their free time playing computer or video games, watching TV or engaged in other screen-based or sedentary activities. The investigators found that those who regularly went to bed earlier and got up early did approximately 27 minutes more of vigorous exercise than their counterparts who went to bed later and woke up later. The researchers found the night owls replaced 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity with sedentary pursuits every day.
The authors of the study found a link between the following circumstances and a higher percentage of teenage night owls: children with part-time jobs; children with the fewest siblings; children from lower socioeconomic households; and those who live in large cities.