Being cranky and less alert are symptoms parents should watch out for at home to know that their children need to sleep more. Otherwise, the consequences would be behaviour problems, poorer execution of cognitive tests and injuries.
Catching up on sleep over the weekend does help to a certain extent as they are comparatively thinner. However those who were obese already had shorter and more irregular patterns of sleep. These are the ones who had higher insulin levels - that can lead to Type II diabetes over a prolonged period - higher levels of 'bad' (LDL) cholesterol, and higher levels of C-reactive protein, that has been linked with heart disease in later life.
The study indicated that children who consistently get 9 to 10 hours of sleep on both weekdays and weekends have the healthiest metabolic profile. "Good sleep routines and sleeping the right amount is the best healthy proposition," says lead author David Gozal, chair of the department of pediatrics at the University of Chicago.