Getting less than 8 hours of sleep each night increases the risk that children and adolescents become obese. In a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2022, Spanish researchers grouped participants between 12 and 16 years old into three groups. Those who slept fewer than 7 hours were labeled very short sleepers. Short sleepers slept 7 to 8 hours, and optimal sleep was 8 or more hours. Only 1 in 3 children aged 12 slept 8 hours or more each night, and that dropped to less than 1 in 5 by age 16. The researchers observed that getting very short sleep – less than 7 hours – was linked to a more than 70 percent increased risk of obesity or being overweight in children and adolescents, compared to those who get the optimal 8 hours.