Sleep is very important for everybody, but for kids, the lack of sleep may actually cause gain weight.

A study at the University of Michigan found that each additional hour per night a third grader spends sleeping, reduces the child’s risk of obesity by 40 percent. Researchers say that the magic number is 9 hours and 45 minutes; if children slept more than that the risk of obesity is significantly lowered. Another recent study, from the University of Washington found that there is a critical window – prior to age 5 years old – when nighttime sleep may affect a child’s future tendency toward obesity.

Turn off the TV and computer; get up and exercise with your children. Make sure they are eating healthy snacks and meals and get them to bed early tonight.