We now realize that sleep is useful in ways we didn?t suspect, but scientists still don’t really know WHY people need to sleep. They also think that not getting ENOUGH sleep is one of the things that is making our kids fat!

Researchers now say that diets high in fat and sugar may not be the only things contributing to American children’s expanding waistlines. A new study by Julie Lumeng suggests that the kids who aren’t getting enough sleep also may be at an increased risk for being overweight. Scientists found that children who get less than 9 hours of sleep every night are at an increased risk of being overweight, regardless of their gender, race, socioeconomic status, or the quality of the home environment.

How much is enough? The National Sleep Foundation recommends these basic daily sleep requirements for children, adolescents, pre-teens and teens: Preschoolers should get 11-13 hours a night, elementary school students should get 10 – 12 hours, pre-teens should sleep 9 – 11 hours and teens, 8 ? – 9 hours.

In LiveScience.com, Meredith F. Small reports that “no one really knows why human and other animals sleep, or why, after losing sleep night after night, we become crazed.” Researcher Francesco Cappuccio says that too little sleep will kill us. He discovered that people who cut their sleeping time from 7 to 5 hours a night were almost twice as likely to die, often from heart attacks. But sleeping TOO MUCH is also bad?People who went from 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night were also twice as likely to die.

Before this, we all told to get 8 hours of sleep a night. Anthropologist James McKenna says, “In America, you are expected to go to bed at 11 o’clock and basically die until 7 a.m., and if you don?t, you have a pathology?insomnia.” But these studies show that 7 hours of sleep a night?for ADULTS, anyway?is really the perfect amount.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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