A new University of Illinois study suggests that sleep quality and duration should be an important family focus. The study states that more parental sleep is related to more child sleep, which is in turn related to a lower risk of childhood obesity. Sleep routines affect the whole family, and it’s certainly true that if kids aren’t sleeping well, then parents aren’t sleeping well. Aside from the fatigue and cloudiness that lack of sleep can cause, current research shows that parents and kids will also tend to gain weight, if they’re not sleeping well. Restorative sleep may also help to regulate and maintain metabolism.
Some experts suspect that regular, adequate sleep may be one of the protective factors that prevents excessive weight gain. Experts recommend starting a calming routine for the whole family. That includes “unplugging” from TV, video games and computers at a certain time interval before bedtime. Don’t eat or exercise too close to bedtime, and avoid caffeine past three or four p.m. A hot bath or shower may relax you or the kids before bedtime, and make sure bedrooms are cool and dark. Quiet reading before bedtime may also help parents and children to begin to feel drowsy, an important prelude to quality sleep.
Tip of the day
Wondering about the coconut oil craze? Be moderate and use 100% cold pressed. Coconut oil might not be as bad as once thought. In fact, research now shows that fresh, non-oxidized coconut oil has positive effects on blood lipids similar to olive oil. As a saturated fat, it does increase blood cholesterol, but not as much as other saturated fats like butter. It’s not necessarily a health food and not all coconut oil is created equal. The key word is “fresh.” Coconut oil found in packaged foods can be highly processed and hydrogenated, so it’s not a smart choice. If you love the taste, be moderate and look for fresh, 100% cold pressed coconut oil.