Posts belonging to Category sleep



Sleep: Often a Problem for Moms

sleepBusy moms are often operating in a sleep deprivation mode.

So, on those occasions when they have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep they chalk it up to stress, a sick child or working long hours. But it could be something more than that; it could be a sleep problem or a sleep disorder.

Most adults need at least eight hours of sleep every night to be well rested. Not everyone gets the sleep they need.

About 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep problems every year. Not getting enough sleep for a long time can cause health problems.

Many of us suffer from insomnia which includes:

• Trouble falling asleep

• Having trouble getting back to sleep

• Waking up too early

Insomnia is called chronic when it lasts most nights for a few weeks or more. When this happens it may be time to see your doctor.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers the following tips for better sleep:

• Go to bed and get up at the same times each day.

• Avoid caffeine, nicotine, beer, wine, and liquor four to six hours before bedtime.

• Don’t exercise within two hours of bedtime.

• Don’t eat large meals within two hours of bedtime.

• Don’t nap later than 3 p.m.

• Sleep in a dark, quiet room that isn’t too hot or cold for you.

• If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something quiet.

• Wind down in the 30 minutes before bedtime by doing something relaxing.

 How long should it take to fall asleep? It is normal to take between 10 and 20 minutes to fall asleep. People who fall asleep in less than five minutes may have a serious sleep disorder.

 Feeling sleepy during the day

According to the FDA, feeling tired every now and then is normal. It is not normal for sleepiness to interfere with your daily life. Watch for signs like:

• Slowed thinking • Feeling cranky

• Trouble paying attention

• Heavy eyelids

Several sleep disorders can make you sleepy during the day. One of these is narcolepsy. People with narcolepsy feel very sleepy even after a full night’s sleep.

 Snoring

Snoring is noisy breathing during sleep. It is caused by vibrating in the throat. Some people can make changes that will stop snoring. These include:

• Losing weight

• Cutting down on smoking and alcohol

• Sleeping on your side instead of on your back

 Source: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

http://www.fda.gov

 

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Get Sleep, Make Better Food Choices

Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat, a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shares about the food choices we tend to make after a poor night’s sleep.

Burgers, doughnuts, pizza. Stay up real late working or studying, and your body seems to crave them. Carrots and apples, not so much. Why is that?

sleepAt the University of California, Berkeley, Matthew Walker measured people’s food choices and imaged their brain activity after a night’s sleep and after a night with no sleep. He found people preferred junk food after the sleepless night, and their sleep-deprived brains showed less capacity to make good-for-you choices and more I-wanna choices.

“There’s a shift in the behavioral choices that people are making, and that seems to be co-occurring with those changes in brain activity.”

So, if you get enough sleep, you may choose better and eat more healthfully.

The study, which appeared in the journal Nature Communications, was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

 

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Overcoming Bedtime Battles with Your Toddler

bedtime_toddler_battles

Bedtime is a battle of the wills for many parents of toddlers.

Does this sound like a familiar scenario? You read your child a story, kiss her good night and put her to bed after a long day. You’re looking forward to some time to relax or finish evening chores — but instead, you spend the next several hours answering your child’s calls, putting her back to bed and spending time in her room. By the time she falls asleep, the only thing you feel like doing is falling into bed yourself.

Most young children see bedtime as a time to establish their independence. This puts eager-to-please parents who have trouble laying down the law in a difficult situation. In addition to a need for independence, toddlers’ sleep can be disrupted by the increase in cognitive, motor and social skills that comes with their age. Some toddlers also experience nighttime awakenings, nightmares and nighttime fears that make them apprehensive about going to bed.

Despite all these barriers to a good night’s sleep for your toddler, there should be no room for negotiation between parent and child when it comes to bedtime. According to the National Sleep Foundation, toddlers need 12 to 14 hours of sleep each day. Insufficient sleep can have a negative effect on a child’s development, emotions, behavior and immunity, and may even contribute to obesity later in life.

Instead of being held prisoner to their toddler’s bedtime issues, parents should follow these tips for a peaceful bedtime routine:

Maintain a consistent bedtime schedule. Help your child establish a regular sleep pattern by putting him to bed and getting him up at the same time each day and even on weekends. Help your child begin to wind down at least an hour before bedtime by encouraging quieter activities and limiting use of television and the computer.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine. The transition from activity to sleep can be eased with bedtime rituals that help your child relax. Many parents find that a warm bath, quiet conversation about the day and reading a story all send a clear signal that it’s time to go to bed.

Limit your returns. It’s important for your toddler to learn how to fall asleep alone. If your toddler gets up after you say good night, return her to her bed. Let her know that you’ll come back once or twice to check in, but don’t fall victim to being called back several times.

Encourage use of a comfort object. Favorite blankets and stuffed animals are time-honored comfort objects for children. Help your child cope with separation by encouraging attachment to a favorite object that he or she can take to bed.

Bedtime is one of the most important times to remember that you are the parent. Avoid engaging in power struggles, and stand your ground if your toddler pleads and whines. Instead, comfort your child if he has fears or nightmares, assuring him that everyone sleeps at night and that you’ll be nearby in case he needs you.

When toddlers learn to fall asleep on their own, they are better at getting back to sleep when they awaken in the middle of the night. It may not be easy, but helping your toddler master the skill of falling asleep will help ensure that he or she gets a good night’s sleep throughout childhood.

Today’s article is written by Mandy Fricke. Ms. Fricke is the community bedtimemanager for Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Nursing@Georgetown, a Master in Nursing program, as well as acontributor to the Nursing License Map. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and yoga.

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The More TV Before Bedtime, the Later Kids Get to Sleep

A study coming out of New Zealand found that the more TV children watch before bedtime, the less sleep they get. The study appeared online in Pediatrics 2013.

sleepChildren and teens that spent the most time in front of a screen were more likely to go to sleep later than those who were engaged in non-screen sedentary activities before bed.

Sleep duration in younger people has declined rapidly over the past 100 years, researchers noted, adding that not enough sleep is associated with behavior and health issues.

To investigate associations between activities, the researchers used data from a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey of New Zealand children and teens, ages 5 to 18. Participants were interviewed in-person and then follow-up was done through telephone interviews between September 2008 and May 2009.

Baseline face-to-face interviews gathered information on participant characteristics and 1 to 2 days of data on use of pre-sleep time. The follow-up gathered 2 additional days of data. Younger children’s parents would assist with recalling activities when necessary.

Participants reported time of sleep onset, sedentary behavior, physical activity, and self-care during the 90 minutes before sleep by selecting from a list of roughly 250 activities. Activities were given energy costs and psychometric properties, and were recounted with time spent engaged in each activity.

Times of sleep onset were categorized as very early, early, late, and very late. Participants were grouped by ages 5 to 12 and 13 to 18.

A total of 2,017 survey participants were included in the current analysis. The mean age was 11.6, just over half were male (52.9%), and most were of New Zealand European ethnicity (71.4%).

Overall, younger participants went to bed earlier than older ones. The most common activities before bed were watching television while sitting (47.8%), dressing/undressing before bed (41.8%), and brushing one’s teeth (41.5%), and all were considered low-intensity activities (metabolic equivalents ranging from 1 to 2).

“In New Zealand, a maximum of 2-hours of screen time per day is recommended for young people,” the authors noted, adding that the roughly half hour of screen time before bed accounted for one quarter of a child’s daily recommended screen time.

Researchers also found that participants who reported later sleep onset also reported up to 13 more minutes of screen time before bed than those who went to bed earlier. Additionally, early sleep onset was associated with significantly less time in screen-based sedentary activity versus later sleep onset.

Those who went to bed earlier also spent more time engaged in non-screen sedentary behaviors, “The largest time differences between those of early and late sleep onset were for screen time, which suggests that this set of activities may be an appropriate target for interventions to promote earlier sleep onset and subsequently improve sleep duration in young people,” researchers concluded.

 

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