Randomized controlled trial to enhance children’s sleep, eating, and weight

Chantelle N. Hart, Nicola L. Hawley, Donna L. Coffman, Hollie A. Raynor, Mary A. Carskadon, Elissa Jelalian, Judith A. Owens, Andrea Spaeth, Rena R. Wing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The present study assessed the efficacy of a behavioral intervention to enhance children’s sleep and reduce caloric intake and body mass index (BMI) change. Methods: Seventy-eight children 8–11 years old who slept 9.5 h/night or less were randomized to the sleep intervention or to no treatment control. The primary outcome was 2-month change in the actigraph-estimated sleep period; changes in reported caloric intake, percent calories from fat, and BMI/BMI z-score (BMIz) were assessed. Results: Children randomized to intervention enhanced their sleep period by 40 ± 7 min/night relative to control (p < 0.001), and were more likely to increase their sleep period by 30 min/night or more (52% versus 15%, p = 0.003). No differences were observed for reported dietary intake or BMI/BMIz. However, in post-hoc analyses collapsing across groups, those who increased sleep by 30 min/night or more had lower BMI (−0.31 kg/m2, p = 0.01) and BMIz (−0.07, p = 0.03) and reported fewer percent calories from fat at 2 months (−2.2%, p = 0.04). Conclusions: A brief behavioral intervention can enhance children’s sleep, but did not result in changes in caloric intake or weight status. Enhancing sleep by 30 min/night or more may be beneficial for weight regulation. Impact: A brief behavioral intervention improved children’s nocturnal sleep relative to no treatment control.Given the many benefits of a good night’s sleep across domains of functioning, findings have significant implications for children’s health and wellbeing.There were no differences between groups on eating behaviors or BMI.However, across groups, children who increased their sleep period by at least 30 min/night, reported reduced intake from fat and evidenced lower BMI at 2 months.Thus, a brief intervention can improve sleep and may have potential benefits for weight regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1081
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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