A weekend lie-in may help reduce risk of obesity in youngsters, say researchers.
A team of researchers in South Korea who studied children aged 10 and 11 found that those who slept in on Saturdays and Sundays were 33 per cent less likely to have a weight problem.
They believe a weekend snooze is crucial for school-age children to catch up on the sleep they miss out on during a busy week.
In the process, it helps to regulate calorie intake by reducing snacking during waking hours, the Daily Express reported.
The findings add to earlier studies showing a link between regular sleep deprivation and obesity.
But the new results confirm that lying in at the weekend is vital to help `reset` a child`s sleeping patterns.
Studies have shown that sleeping just a few hours a night can upset the body`s metabolism, leading to increased calorie intake and a greater threat of obesity-related illnesses.
The South Korea team, led by experts at the Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital in Seoul, wanted to see if catching up on sleep at the weekends helped youngsters overcome this.
They quizzed 936 schoolchildren of both sexes and recorded their height and body weight measurements.
Questionnaires were then used to gather information on sleeping habits, exercise patterns and diet.
Other factors that could influence a child`s weight were taken into account such as whether they ate breakfast, how much television they watched and whether their parents were also overweight.
The researchers concluded that those who slept longer at the week- ends were one third less likely to have obesity problems.
`These results indicate that weekend catch-up sleep is independently associated with a decreased risk of being overweight,` the researchers said in a report on the findings published in the Journal of Sleep Research.