Sleeping habits

Our results confirmed previous observations that shorter sleep duration is associated with a higher probability of being overweight. However, the association appeared to be much stronger in school children than in pre-school children. School children sleep on average 0.33 hours less than pre-school children. It was demonstrated that sleep duration differs between regions within Europe: children from Southern Europe sleep less than children from Northern countries. The age-specific percentile curves of sleep duration enable us to give more accurate recommendations concerning sleep duration.

The results of the IDEFICS cross-sectional survey enable us to recommend 11 hours or more sleep for pre-school children and 10 hours for school children (6-10 years). Promotion of sufficient sleep should be part of any health-related recommendations.

Following articles from our consortium show further results on sleep:

  • Hunsberger M, Mehlig K, Bornhorst C, Hebestreit A, Moreno L, Veidebaum T, et al. Dietary Carbohydrate and Nocturnal Sleep Duration in Relation to Children's BMI: Findings from the IDEFICS Study in Eight European Countries. Nutrients. 2015;7(12):10223-36.
  • Michels N, Verbeiren A, Ahrens W, De Henauw S, Sioen I. Children's sleep quality: relation with sleep duration and adiposity. Public Health. 2014;128(5):488-90.
  • Michels N, Sioen I, De Buyzere M, Clays E, Servranckx L, De Henauw S. Children's Sleep and the Autonomic Function: Low Sleep Quality Has an Impact on Heart Rate Variability Independent of Stress. Psychosom Med. 2013;75(3):A88-A.
  • Börnhorst C, Hense S, Ahrens W, Hebestreit A, Reisch L, Barba G, et al. From sleep duration to childhood obesity--what are the pathways? Eur J Pediatr. 2012;171(7):1029-38.
  • Hense S. Sleep duration and its role in the aetiology of cardio-metabolic health outcomes. Bremen: Universität Bremen; 2011. (PhD Thesis)
  • Hense S, Barba G, Pohlabeln H, De Henauw S, Marild S, Molnar D, et al. Factors that Influence Weekday Sleep Duration in European Children. Sleep. 2011;34(5):633-9.
  • Hense S, Pohlabeln H, de HS, Eiben G, Molnar D, Moreno LA, et al. Sleep duration and overweight in European children: is the association modified by geographic region? Sleep. 2011;34(7):885-90.