Posts Tagged ‘Sleep’

Should Parents Ban Smartphones from Their Kids’ Room at Night?

September 23, 2015



It’s not my business to tell parents what to do, but the research seems pretty clear:


For the study, researchers from the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research Data asked more than 800 12- to 15-year-olds about their sleep habits — including how often they woke up at night to use social media. Researchers also asked about the teens’ levels of energy and well-being.

What did the researchers find? Waking up at night to use social networking platforms like Snapchat and Instagram was surprisingly common. Twenty-two percent of 12- and 13-year-olds and 23 percent of 14- and 15-year-olds said they “almost always” did so. More than a third said they did at least once a week.

This behavior seems to take a real toll. More than half of the heavier nighttime social media users said they usually go to school feeling tired. 

“In turn, we find a significant association between feeling tired when they go to school and their overall levels of subjective well-being,” Dr. Chris Taylor, a researcher at Cardiff and one of the study’s authors, added in an email to The Huffington Post. 

For some teens, this combination could contribute to mental health issues. Heavy social media use and poor sleep have both been found to take a toll on young peoples’ mental health, so the combination could be even more problematic.

So what’s the solution? Pushing back school start times probably isn’t the answer, as the study’s authors argue that more time to sleep in the morning doesn’t compensate for sleep disruptions. Structured morning routines can be helpful for mediating the effects of poor sleep, the researchers explain, so disrupting those routines with later school start times may not be beneficial.

Instead, the study suggests that it may be more effective to discourage teens from using technology at night. One way to do it? Keeping digital devices out of the bedroom so that a good night’s sleep won’t ruined by the lure of Twitter.

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A Lack of Proper Sleep Does a World of Damage to a Child’s Attention Span

November 29, 2014


As schools push for earlier starting times to align with the need for working parents to get to the office on time and getting through an overcrowded curriculum, sufficient sleep and a proper breakfast are even bigger concerns.


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Loving Parents Are Allowed to Take Some Time Out

January 22, 2014



There is a pressure on parents to put their kids first in all instances. I can understand such a policy, but I’m not sure it work all that well. There are some times when parents, no matter how loving or emotionally available they are, need some personal time.

This personal time, whilst often coming with a fair amount of guilt, can be the best thing to refresh the mind and spirit of a parent. To those parents who have yet to allow themselves regular breaks, I bid you to read the sign posted above which I recently came across. I hope it provides you with the inspiration required to stake some well deserved time out.



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6 Tips for Kids Who Worry Too Much

January 8, 2014




Courtesy of psychologist Daniel B. Peters, Ph.D.:

1. Make a worry list.
Have your child make a list of all his or her worries and fears, both small and large. Just the act of recognizing and writing down worries can sometimes make the scary emotions seem less intimidating for your child. This allows you to identify which worries and fears you want to work on with your child, tackling one by one together.

2. Practice thinking strategies.
Help your children convert their worries into reassurances by teaching them new thinking strategies. For example, if their consistent worry is “I am afraid my mom won’t pick me up from school,” have them replace it with “I know my mom is coming for me because she ALWAYS does.” Together, you can say each worry and fear and come up with new sentences to combat the old. Practice these with your kids until they become habitual replacements for the old, incessant worries. This is a key skill for building resilience.

3. Don’t skimp on sleep.
Make sure your child gets enough sleep on a regular basis. Well-rested equals well-equipped mentally and physically to deal with minor daily stresses. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that 3- to 5-year-olds get 11-13 hours a night, 5- to 12-year-olds get 10-11 hours per night, and teens get 9.25 hours per night (although some do fine with 8.5 hours).

4. Make good nutrition a priority.
Make sure your child gets a steady dose of protein throughout the day. Many kids experience low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar usually occurs a few hours after breakfast and it looks and feels a lot like anxiety: they feel dizzy, start sweating, feel weak, and their heart beats really fast. Staying away from caffeine and energy drinks is also recommended as they mimic the effects of adrenaline and cause people to feel anxious.

5. Get some exercise.
Exercise burns adrenaline. If it’s not already a part of your child’s daily routine, add daily exercise to your child’s plan, and let him know that not only is it good for his body, but it will help keep the Worry Monster away. Exercise can include any activities that your child enjoys such as swimming, shooting baskets, hiking, soccer, dodge ball, tennis, martial arts, jumping rope, rock climbing, bicycling, dancing, gymnastics or yoga. Anything that increases your child’s heart rate will help fight the Worry Monster.

6. Don’t underestimate distraction.
Arm your children with a little healthy distraction. Let them pick a favorite activity such as ten minutes on the computer playing a brain game, time out for reading a favorite book, watching a half hour television show or bike riding around the block — and allow them to do that activity whenever a worry attack comes on. This allows them to combat worry with pleasure and takes their mind off the often paralyzing thoughts and feelings brought on by the Worry Monster. Before you and they know it, they have been distracted from their worries.


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Are you Addicted to the Internet?

June 21, 2012

Technology addiction is one of the most prevalent, yet socially acceptable addictions. It envelopes both children and adults and can ruin marriages, cost jobs and effect sleep.

Courtesy of Dr Oz and Dr. Kimberly Young, I have accessed a quiz to determine whether or not one is addicted to the internet:

1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?
2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?

Other Symptoms Include:

• Failed attempts to control behavior
• Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and Internet activities
• Neglecting friends and family
• Neglecting sleep to stay online
• Being dishonest with others
• Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behavior
• Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome
• Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities


Are Children Getting Enough Sleep?

February 14, 2012

Kids seem to be looking and feeling mored tired than ever before.

A recent study indicates otherwise:

It is a common complaint of our modern age that kids and teens don’t get enough sleep.

Video games, TV, social media, and other trappings of our increasingly tech-centric lives are often blamed, but a new study shows that long before Facebook or PlayStation 3, kids were sleeping less than experts said they should.

When researchers in Australia reviewed sleep recommendations and actual sleep times among children over the past century, they found that kids consistently slept about 37 minutes less than recommended at the time.

Each time, new technological marvels — be it the light bulb in the early 1900s, TV in the 1950s, or computer gaming systems and social networking today — were blamed for declining sleep times.

“The message that children don’t get enough sleep has been the same for over 100 years,” says researcher Tim S. Olds, PhD, of the University of South Australia.

I wonder if children today experience a different form of tiredness. A tiredness as a result of late nights, a lack of physical exercise, a carb dominated diet and excess weight. Perhaps the tiredness is the same as always, but the presentation of the tiredness is more extreme.

Signs Your Child is Being Bullied

December 7, 2011

I got this helpful and informative list from BullyingUK:

Signs to watch out for… You may be unsure if your child is being bullied. If you suspect that he or she is then look out for signs of bullying.

They may include the following:

  • bruises
  • broken or missing possessions
  • your child is withdrawn
  • changes in eating habits
  • sleeping badly
  • complaints of headaches or stomach aches
  • bedwetting
  • worrying about going to school.

But there could be other reasons for these symptoms, so try to avoid jumping to conclusions. Ask yourself the following questions:

Is there anything else bothering your child?

Have there been changes in your family like a new baby, or divorce or separation?

These are signs that both teachers and parents must learn to detect and follow-up on. A child can turn from open and honest about things that are bothering them, to closed and insular very quickly. The best course of action is to take an interest, be supportive and when the symptoms are there, be proactive.

The Result of Sleep Deprivation for Kids

May 29, 2011

A new study suggests that there is a clear correlation between kids with limited sleep time and weight gain:

Preschoolers who do not get enough sleep are at higher risk of becoming overweight, researchers in New Zealand have concluded.

Getting less sleep seems to be related to increased body weight in children but doctors aren’t sure how.

Prof. Rachael Taylor of the human nutrition department at the University of Otago in Dunedin and her colleagues followed 244 children between the ages of three and seven. Young children who don’t get enough sleep risk becoming overweight. 

The children had their weight, height, body mass index and body composition measured every six months. Parents filled in questionnaires about the sleep and diet habits of their sons and daughters at three, four and five years of age. At those ages, the children also wore accelerometers to monitor their movements.

The boys and girls averaged 11 hours of sleep per day at all three ages.

Each extra hour of sleep per night at age three to five was associated with a reduction in BMI of 0.49 times and a 0.61 times reduction in the risk of being overweight or obese at age seven, the team found.

The researchers said the differences in BMI were from fat mass, which points to how poor sleep harms body composition in children.

The link remained after taking factors such as gender and physical activity into account.

As for why, the researchers proposed that having more time to eat and changes in hormones in the brain could affect appetite.

“The study is a valuable contribution to the understanding of the causal pathway whereby reduced sleep duration may directly contribute to overweight and obesity in children,” Professor Francesco Cappuccio and Associate Professor Michelle Miller from the University of Warwick said in a journal editorial accompanying the study.

Strengths of the study included use of accelerometers and sleep diaries, which offered reliable, direct and repeated measurements of time in bed and time asleep, the editorial said.

“It would do no harm to advise people that a sustained curtailment of sleeping time might contribute to long-term ill-health in adults and children,” the pair concluded.

What the article didn’t say is how many hours of sleep is ideal for a child?  Does it depend on the child? Surely, some children can make do with fewer hours than others?

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