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Sedentary Kids May Take Longer to Fall Asleep
Date:7/23/2009

But active kids need more sleep and get it more easily, expert says,,

THURSDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Science now confirms what parents have long sensed: Children who are inactive during the day have more trouble falling asleep at night.

In fact, every hour of inactivity adds three minutes to the time it takes a child to fall asleep, a new study from New Zealand researchers has found. But children who are active during the day fall asleep faster and sleep longer, the researchers added.

"I believe that, in an environment that can offer technological toxicity to our children in the form of increased inactivity, this study reminds parents and clinicians alike of the importance of childhood exercise," said Dr. Robert Vorona, an assistant professor of sleep medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

More and more data associates insufficient sleep not only with neuro-cognitive consequences but also with such conditions as hypertension, diabetes and obesity, Vorona said.

"This article demonstrates an association between increased levels of activity and a shorter time to sleep onset as well as the converse," he said. "The information is potentially important, and I do not find the association between activity and sleep latency surprising."

The report is published online July 23 in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

For the study, Edwin Mitchell, a professor of child health research at the University of Auckland, and his colleagues collected data on the sleep patterns and daytime activity of 591 children, all 7 years old.

On average, it took the children an average of 26 minutes to fall asleep, but the time ranged from 13 minutes to 42 minutes.

For the one in 10 children who found it difficult to fall asleep quickly, it took about 15.5 minutes longer to fall asleep, the researchers found.

Children who were active during the day took less time going
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