Teens, Eating, and Sleep

When I was a little boy and visiting my grandparents, I remember my elderly grandmother walking into the kitchen one morning to announce that she had to stop eating pickles before going to bed. We all laughed a bit at her strange announcement and then she offered up some clarification. It seems that she had discovered that whenever she ate pickles late at night, she would have bad dreams. Well, to this day I’ve wondered about the validity of her cause and effect conclusions, but some new research about teens and eating before bedtime makes me think that grandmom might have been right. Using a tracking device, they found that getting less sleep corresponded with eating more calories and sugar after eight pm, nine pm, and ten pm. There are, in fact, diet-related effects causing erratic sleep. Parents, your kids need nine hours and fifteen minutes of uninterrupted sleep for healthy growth and development. Encourage them to cut off nighttime eating and snacking.