Active Kids Sleep Better

07.30.09 Study finds lack of activity affects children's snoozing

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Children who don't actively move around or exercise during the day take longer to fall asleep, the BBC reports. A new study found that for every hour a child is inactive, it takes an extra three minutes for them to drift off and catch some z's.

Researchers in Australia and New Zealand studied 519 children, at birth and then again at 7 years old; they also monitored who was sedentary and who had a moderate to vigorous lifestyle. The experts' findings, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, showed that most of the active children fell asleep within 40 minutes (the average was 26 minutes), but some of the sedentary children took almost three hours!

The study said that TV time didn't have any significant effect on the results, but it emphasized that movement vs. sedentary was what determined how easy it was for kids to fall asleep.

It's not just kids though—moms need 40 winks, too. So remember another reason to exercise: better sleep! It's not always easy to fit it into your schedule as a new mom, but it is possible and good for you (Don't forget the benefits of getting your body back, too.).

Even before their babies are born, most parents-to-be worry about sleep (theirs and baby's). Read our sleep Q & A for answers to the most common questions about getting the rest you and baby need. Plus, check out what one of our experts has to say about sleep schedules.

So get moving ... for better sleep!

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.