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The Karolina Institute in Sweden has found that the later a child’s bedtime is, the more likely they are to become obese. Tracking 107 children from the age of one to six, researchers examined their weight, height and waist size. Sleeping patterns were also monitored for several days once each year. For those who went to bed later than 9pm each night, it was determined that their body mass index (BMI) was higher by the time the survey ended. Weight gain was not necessarily a direct result of later bedtime, however. Dr. Claude Marcus, Professor of Paediatrics and author of the study, believes this is merely a marker of an unconventional lifestyle. “If you put your kids to bed earlier, would it change anything? That’s something we don’t know” she admits. However, bedtimes for young children vary across the world, with toddlers and babies in Asia going to sleep later at night. In the UK, Australia and New Zealand sleep usually begins somewhere between 7:28 and 7:55pm. This is early compared to those in Japan where the average bedtime is 9:17 and in Hong Kong it is a full hour later.

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