Objective: The goal was to explore the effects of duration and regularity of sleep schedules on BMI and the impact on metabolic regulation in children.
Methods: Sleep patterns of 308 community-recruited children 4 to 10 years of age were assessed with wrist actigraphs for 1 week in a cross-sectional study, along with BMI assessment. Fasting morning plasma levels of glucose, insulin, lipids, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein also were measured for a subsample.
Results: Children slept 8 hours per night, on average, regardless of their weight categorization. A nonlinear trend between sleep and weight emerged.
- For obese children, sleep duration was shorter and showed more variability on weekends, compared with school days.
- For overweight children, a mixed sleep pattern emerged. The presence of high variance in sleep duration or short sleep duration was more likely associated with altered insulin, low-density lipoprotein, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein plasma levels.
- Children whose sleep patterns were at the lower end of sleep duration, particularly in the presence of irregular sleep schedules, exhibited the greatest health risk.