There are many studies that confirm the relationship between lack of rest and weight gain in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. The majority of children who suffer from obesity do not have a proper rest routine, sleeping less than their recommended times. Between 25 -30 percent of the child population suffers from sleeping disorders that could simply be solved with the appropriate precautional habits. The Center for Biomedical Research in Network-Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition CIBERobn suggest that sleeping the correct hours reduces the chances of being overweight or obese by 36 percent.
At Gasol Foundation, we always work under the approach that a “healthy life” does not only consists of a balanced diet. It takes a combination of other components as well- participating in regular physical activity, resting and sleeping the necessary hours, and practicing certain behaviors for good mental health. Our metaphoric healthy galaxy conveys this message quite clearly due to the fact that it cannot function if all 4 of the healthy planets (physical activity and sport, healthy eating, rest and emotional well-being) are not interacting and working with one another. The effects of lack of sleep go beyond just being tired the next day.
- Lacking good sleep and/or bad quality rest means eating more poor quality foods.
- Lacking good sleep and/or bad quality rest means less exercise and more screen time hours.
- Lacking good sleep and/or bad quality rest means having a bad-tempered and irritable mood.
How can we ensure that children, adolescents, and their families rest properly? Below are some recommendations:
- Sleep the number of hours needed: Adequate rest is essential for the physical, emotional and social development of children. When we sleep more we have more energy, which allows us to enjoy daily activities. In the case of children, it has been shown that those who comply with the recommended rest hours have a lower risk of obesity. How many hours should we sleep according to our age?
- Children ages 3-5 years old need between 11-13 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
- Children ages 6-12 years old need between 10-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
- Children ages 12-18 years old need between 9-9 ½ hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
- Adults require between 7 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
- For proper rest, it is important that all screens are turned off 30 minutes prior to going to bed. The reason being is that exposure to artificial light causes stimulation of the central nervous system. The brain associates these stimuli as if we were still active. This is why unplugging at least an half hour before bed is beneficial. Screens include all electronic devices, even e-books. The key is to engage in something that helps you relax before bedtime other than screens.
- Optimal conditions of the room: The light, the temperature or the noise that is in the room in which one goes to sleep are keys for a good rest. We must ensure that these three factors are optimal to ensure children and the rest of the family can have a restful sleep.
- Routines and family rhythm: Children need to regulate certain environmental conditions to make it easier for them to keep up and this is especially important when talking about sleep. It has been shown that having a good nighttime routine before going to sleep significantly improves the sleep of the children and the satisfaction of the parents. Going to sleep always at the same time and following the same routine (brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, dim the light, read a book …) is key to facilitate the transition and prepare the body for rest.Pau and Marc Gasol encourage, through the Gasol Foundation, that children, young people and their families internalize the importance of a good quality rest and include it in their daily routines to guarantee an optimal state of health in their present and In their future.