Almost half of UK children will eat a chocolate egg for breakfast this Easter - sleep experts give advice
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Easter is, for many people, associated with eating chocolate- perhaps more than you should. For children, this is very much the case, but sleep experts Silent Night have warned about the impact this could have on their sleep.
The nationwide survey, carried out on behalf of Silent Night, revealed some eye-opening statistics. Over the whole weekend, a whopping 98% of kids will eat chocolate eggs, with over two in five (42%) scoffing down three or more on Easter Sunday alone.
On a more serious note, the research shows that 36% of parents said chocolate affects the quality of their children’s sleep. Research conducted by sleep experts internationally has shown that people who have a high sugar content in their diet tend to have a shorter sleep duration and to sleep less deeply.
According to Silent Night’s Sleep Expert, Hannah Shore, children should stop eating chocolate around three hours before bedtime to better promote a good night’s sleep.
Hannah said: “A high sugar diet can affect sleep quality because as the body is digesting the sugar, it can prompt the body to produce extra wake-promoting hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
“If we eat too much sugar too close to bedtime, these hormones are produced when we are trying to sleep, meaning a reduction in deep, slow wave sleep. However, eating small amounts of chocolate releases endorphins and serotonin, making you feel happier, so small amounts may actually be good for our mental health.
“Realistically, kids are going to be excited to see that the Easter Bunny has been, so they will eat chocolate this weekend, as they should! Yes, Easter may disrupt sleep for a day or two, but that’s ok. Try to get your child to stop eating chocolate around three hours before bedtime on Easter Sunday and then get back into their usual routine in the following days.”
Here are Hannah’s three top tips to help kids dodge these adverse effects on sleep while indulging this Easter:
Limit sugar consumption
Parents should try to ensure kids don’t eat too many chocolate eggs in one day, to limit the spike in blood sugar and wake-promoting hormones.
Don’t eat sugar too close to bedtime
The general rule of thumb to avoid sugar negatively affecting sleep quality is to avoid consuming it within three hours of going to bed.
Follow a normal bedtime routine
Sticking to your kid’s usual bedtime routine can help prepare the body for sleep and result in a deeper, better-quality sleep. A normal wind-down routine should last at least one hour.