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Active kids get sleep benefits

15-09-2009

Children who lead active lives are more likely to fall asleep quicker, get better quality sleep and avoid health issues associated with short sleep duration, according to newly published research. The study from Australia’s Monash University involved 500 children, and found that every hour of inactivity throughout a day equated to three minutes longer needed to fall asleep at night. As well as getting off to sleep quicker than their more sedentary peers, active kids were also found to achieve better quality sleep overall.

Prior studies by sleep research specialists indicate clear links between regularly poor quality sleep and a range of health and wellbeing issues, while general research into the optimum ways to get to sleep quicker suggest that activities such as watching television, playing video games and using a computer prior to going to bed make it more difficult to sleep.

“As short sleep duration is associated with obesity and lower cognitive performance, community emphasis on the importance of promoting healthy sleep in children is vitally important,” said the investigation. “This study emphasises the importance of physical activity for children, not only for fitness, cardiovascular health and weight control, but also for sleep.”

The average timescale for children to fall asleep in the study was found to be 26 minutes, with the majority falling asleep within 45 minutes.

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