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Cure For Childhood Insomnia?

Here's yet another reason to encourage your kids to put away the video games and get outside for some real physical activity: It will help them fall asleep more easily and sleep better, according to new research out today. In fact, every hour on the couch translates to about three extra minutes spent trying to fall asleep.

In the largest study of its kind, Edwin Mitchell of the University of Auckland in New Zealand and his colleagues studied 591 seven-year-olds who wore a device known as an ActiGraph to measure how much physical activity they got in a 24-hour period. Of those kids, the researchers also had information about the sleep pattens for 519.

On average, the kids took about 26 minutes to fall asleep at night. But there was a big range. Some were asleep within 13 minutes but others some took as long as 42 minutes to conk out. Children who were physically active during the day fell asleep more quickly than those who were sedentary, and the more vigorous activity they did the faster they fell asleep, the researchers report in a paper published online today by the Archives of Disease in Childhood. In addition, the kids who fell asleep more quickly also tended to sleep longer.

The findings "emphasizes the importance of physical activity for children, not only for fitness, cardiovascular health and weight control, but also for sleep," the researchers write, noting that up to 16 percent of parents report their children have problems falling asleep.

Kids who don't get as much sleep are more likely to be obese and perform worse in school, they added.

By Rob Stein  |  July 23, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Family Health , General Health , Motherhood , Teens  | Tags: children falling asleep, insomnia, kids and video games, sendentary activity  
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Next: CDC: Childhood Obesity Epidemic Slowing


Well, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been around kids. All the same, it is a nice reminder to parents, schools, etc., that we need to make time for recess, gym, running in the backyard, etc. Because kids really need it -- just as much as (or more than) they need another "enrichment" lesson or homework assignment.

Posted by: laura33 | July 23, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Yea, we sort of know it, but are we actually making sure it happens? Setting up patterns when our kids are young is important - because the solution is relevant for adults too. If you would like to hear more natural solutions for insomnia in our free Sleep With The Experts webinars that commenced in July 2009 opt-in with your name and email to or register for the next one on strategies around melatonin, serotonin and stress here
Next one is July 29, 2009 at 7:00 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne).

Posted by: elizabeth11 | July 24, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

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