Summer vacation is almost over, and whether kids break from summer, winter, spring, or even a long weekend, they seem to want to stay up later. Late nights can lead to difficult mornings transitioning back into their normal school routine. It is important for parents to put healthy sleep on the back-to-school list of necessities. Here are some helpful tips to get kids prepared to go back to school.
First, calculate how much sleep your child needs. Preschoolers need 11 to 12 hours of sleep. Ages 5-10 need 10 to 11 hours, and teenagers 9 to 10 hours.
About 10 to 14 days before school starts, parents should gradually start adjusting their child’s bedtime schedules. Have them go to bed 15 minutes earlier each day before school starts. This will help set their circadian clock to school time. Try to also keep the same sleep schedule, even on weekends, to keep sleep rhythms regulated.
Stick to an age-appropriate bedtime routine to help them wind down. For younger children this may consist of taking a bath before bed, brushing their teeth, or reading a bedtime story. For older children, they may want to read a book to relax or find a relaxation technique such as meditation, yoga, or deep-breathing exercises.
Control the sleep environment by keeping the room cool, quiet, dark, and comfortable. Electronics such as, cell phones, televisions, video games, and computers should be turned off an hour before bedtime.
Limit caffeine intake after lunch or at least 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and inhibits sleep. Healthy meals and regular exercise can help promote quality sleep.
Avoid food close to bedtime, especially spicy foods that can cause acid reflux and raise body temperature, both of which inhibit sleep.
Practice what you preach. Studies have shown that parents who set rules and abide by them themselves are more likely to have children follow their example. The right amount of sleep every night can help your child do better in school and help with mood and anxiety.
These strategies can help you and your child have a healthy, successful upcoming school year.
Have you ever had trouble sleeping when you are in a new place? Do you toss and turn or easily wake when you travel or sleep somewhere other than your own bedroom? If so, you are not alone. According to a new study published in the journal “Current Biology,” it is a very normal occurrence for your first night’s sleep in new surroundings to be less than satisfactory.
Researchers at Brown University found that, similar to some animals, only half of the human brain “sleeps” the first night a person sleeps in a new environment. Research showed that the left hemisphere of the brain, the more logical and analytical side, was still actively “awake” throughout the night. The researchers believe that it is our brain’s way of “keeping watch” in unfamiliar territory. Though humans no longer worry about predators lurking in the darkness, our brains evolved during a time when that threat was very real.
So next time you are traveling or house sitting, plan accordingly, because your first night of sleep away from home will most likely not be as good as usual.
For more information, check out NPR’s article, “Half Your Brain Stands Guard When Sleeping In A New Place.”
Now that cold season is upon us, it is important to figure out ways that we can help limit our chances of being struck by cold germs. An easy way to decrease your risk of catching a cold or other common infections is to ensure you are getting enough sleep.
Life Science reported the results of a national sleep survey in which researchers analyzed information from more than 22,000 Americans between 2005 and 2012. The participants answered questions about their sleeping habits, as well as whether they’d had a cold, pneumonia, or an ear infection in the past month.
The participants who slept for 5 hours or less on average weeknights were 28 percent more likely to report having a cold in the past month and 82 percent more likely to report having the flu, pneumonia, or an ear infection compared with those who slept 7 to 8 hours on weeknights.
The study did not find a link between sleeping 9 hours or more and the risk of catching a cold or an infection.
So be sure to catch 7 to 8 hours of zzz’s a night to help increase your chances of fighting off the cold bug this spring.
If those in your home still happen to catch a cold or the flu this season, there are many helpful at-home remedies to help them get through it. Visit our previous blog, Natural Remedies to Fight the Flu and Seasonal Colds, for a great list of natural options!
Although sleep is essential for our health many American adults still fail to get enough sleep each night. There are many different studies that show the detrimental effects that lack of sleep have on our physical and mental well-being as well as our productivity and functioning throughout the day. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed American adults to find how many hours they get each day, on average. While on a national level 35.1% of adults are sleep deprived, the problem varies significantly from state to state. The list was compiled by 24/7 Wall St. using the data from the CDC based on the percentage of adults by state reporting insufficient sleep (defined as less than seven hours per night).
Here is the list of the states ranked from the smallest to the longest share of adults reporting insufficient sleep.
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- New York
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
Where does your state rank?
For the full list of states and their rankings as well as further information on the state’s statistics, see the full article HERE.
We dedicate about a third of our lives to sleeping but why? This informative video from it’s OKAY to be SMART discusses the many reasons why we need to sleep, as well as the processes our bodies undergo while snoozing.
It is 8:00 am, pre-coffee (if that’s your thing), and you’re getting ready to walk out the door after a night of staying up with your sick spouse, child, or roommate. You’re starting to feel super-human, juggling all your pre-work morning responsibilities with a heavy head and groggy eyes, when your spouse/child/roommate walks up to you and asks an innocent question: “I’m hungry. What are we having for breakfast?” You look at their cheerful face and take instant offense. You think, “What do you mean, what’s for breakfast? Can’t you see I’m simultaneously feeding the dog, prepping the beans for tonight’s slow-cooker dinner, and reading Junior’s school newsletter?
According to a new U.C. Berkeley study published in the Journal of Neuroscience earlier this week, there is a strong link between a lack of quality sleep and decreased ability to distinguish between positive and negative emotional facial expressions in others. Researchers viewed brain scans and monitored the heart rates of 18 adult participants while they randomly viewed 70 images of faces with random expressions: positive, neutral, and negative emotions. Each individual viewed the facial images twice, once when they were fully rested and once after they had been awake for 24 consecutive hours. The study noted a neural link between the quality and amount of sleep a person gets and his or her ability to correctly process others’ facial expressions. The results of the study inferred that there is “a role for REM sleep in affective brain recalibration” and “the next-day success of emotional discrimination…” All the more reason to get a good night’s sleep! For more information on the study, you can refer to the following articles: http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/07/14/brain-facialexpressions/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/15/sleep-brain-emotions_n_7801726.html
There are all kinds of benefits from getting a good nights sleep. It can help us live longer, lower the risks of having a stroke or heart disease, or even spur our minds to be more creative.
But what about memory?
Shai Marcu teamed up with TED-Ed to make a video that sheds light on the mistaken idea that sleep is lost time or just a way to rest when all our work is done.