Getting Enough Sleep: A Weighty Issue

When doctors talk about maintaining a healthy weight, they usually mention things like eating lots of fruits and vegetables and getting plenty of exercise. Both are certainly important, but there is another piece of the puzzle that’s not often mentioned. Did you know that how much you sleep at night affects how much you weigh?

Researchers found that when adults don’t get enough sleep (less than 5 hours for most people), their blood sugar goes up and they burn calories more slowly. It’s important to make sure your family is sleeping well since these changes in the body can lead to weight gain and even diseases like diabetes over time.

How much sleep does your family need? Most experts agree that there’s no magic number- and sleep recommendations vary based on age and individual factors. When you wake up in the morning feeling rested and refreshed, then that’s probably the ideal amount of sleep for you. But if you’re looking for some basic rules to follow, refer to the guidelines below- and then adjust based on your or your child’s needs.

  • Full-term newborn: 16 hours/day
  • 3 months: 13 hours/day
  • 6 months: 12.5 hours/day
  • 1 year: 11.75 hours/day
  • 2 years: 11.5 hours/day
  • 3 years: 11.25 hours/day
  • 6 years: 10.5 hours/day
  • 10 years: 10 hours/day
  • Teens (10-17): 9 hours/day
  • Adults (18+): 7-9 hours

Getting enough sleep is often easier said than done. The Boston Moves for Health website, part of the Mayor’s Million Pound Challenge, can help you stay on track. The website allows you to create sleep goals and monitor your progress over time. Read Healthy Family Fun’s ‘Keep your children healthy with the right amount of sleep’ for tips about how to create healthy sleep habits with your kids.

Remember, getting enough sleep helps your body function at its peak while you’re awake and is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight! Share your tips for catching enough zzz’s in the comments section below.

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