Myth busted: Late dinner ≠ Longer nighttime sleep duration???
I was rushing to head home after a playdate at 6 pm in the evening when our host said “wow! That is an early dinner, wont they wake up in the night that way?”.
Children differ from adults in having their genetics still programmed to growth and development whereas similar hormones in adults create usually undesirable horizontal growth that expands waistlines.
Insulin, growth hormone and cortisol are three main hormones that regulate our body growth and these hormones have been vital even before the child is born to regulate their growth in their mother’s womb.
These are also the hormones that regulate hunger to an extent in infants. A child who has these hormones well-regulated without an excess release of cortisol in less prone to childhood obesity and less prone to having the so-called metabolic syndrome which stems out of obesity leading to chronic problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
A child who sleeps slate night has a natural surge of cortisol to keep things going as it is way past her natural rest time and would be hungry the next day and early in the morning. This gives the impression to parents that a child cannot sustain a lack of food intake for more than 6- 7 hours.
A child above the age of 6-8 months whose caloric and nutrition needs are met during the daytime hours will have well-regulated hormones that are secreted before and after mealtime that can sustain not eating without the feeling of hunger for 10 – 11 hours with ease and this is in sync with natural human behavior.
With all the hype about sleep regulation in adults with intermittent fasting being the key to reduce obesity and entailed chronic problems, children follow this same route.
Frequent snacking in the night assuming every wake up is a toddler is due to hunger is the red-carpet route to childhood obesity and sleep deprived behavioral issues.
Cutting late dinners beyond 9- 9: 30 pm and Middle of the night snacks, cold turkey might not be the solution to begin with. Our counseling and personalized plan would help you step by step to achieve this along with sleep regulation to get more control over your family lifestyle.