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insufficient sleep

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Screentime at Bedtime Robs Kids of Sleep

Children that go to bed with an electronic device sleep 1 hour less on average.

The National Sleep Foundation's 2014 survey found that almost 72% of children go to bed with an electronic device. The light from these devices disrupts the natural sleep patterns, causing children to sleep 1 hour less on average. Insufficient sleep can adversely affect children's school performance, decision making and overall behavior.

PositiveTip: Parents should set limits and provide healthy alternatives for bedtime electronic use.

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Sleep and Weight Gain in Teens

Obesity is more likely in sleep-deprived teens.

Teens are 20% more likely to be obese at 21 if they get less than 6 hours of sleep per night rather than 8+ hours of sleep. Using data for 10,000 teens over 6 years, researchers found 1 in 5 teens were sleep-deprived. The link between sleep and obesity may be attributed to resulting inactivity and poor food choices made when sleepy.

PositiveTip: Help your teens manage their night-owl activities and get their 8+ hours of sleep so they perform better in school and reduce obesity risk.

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Bedtime and Teen Diabetes Risk

Teens lack of sleep may increase their risk of diabetes.

Researchers interested in sleep and diabetes risk tracked the sleep patterns and blood glucose levels of 245 teens from low to middle income homes at an urban high school. They found the shortest sleepers had the highest levels of blood glucose, an indicator of insulin resistance and diabetes risk. The average sleep duration for the students was 6.4 hours, far short of the recommended 9 hours.

Positive Tip: Encourage regular bedtimes for your teens and monitor late night screen time.

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The Sleep “Sweet Spot”

Sleeping 7-9 hrs/night associated with less chronic diseases.

Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that missing the sleep “sweet spot” of 7-9 hours per night is linked to increased chronic diseases. Both short sleepers (6 hrs or less per night) or long sleepers (10+ hrs/night) had more coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and anxiety than optimal sleepers. Are you not sleeping 7-9 hrs/night and have a chronic condition? Consult your doctor or sleep specialist.

PositiveTip: Make adequate sleep a priority to improve your quality of life.

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Sleep Habits Affect Your Food Habits

Sleep deprivation can increase cravings for high-calorie junk foods

Night owls beware, if you're not getting enough sleep you increase your chances of choosing a junk food diet! Researchers from UC Berkely have found that sleep deprived participants were more likely to desire high-calorie junk foods compared to well-slept participants. Brain scans showed that sleep deprived people had less blood flow to the frontal lobe, the area of complex decision making and more blood flow to brain areas governing impulse and rewards.

Positive Tip: A good nights sleep will help encourage healthy choices.

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Late Bedtimes in Very Young Can Have Long Lasting Consequences

Early bedtimes during preschool years reduces risk of ADHD.

Children who do not get early, adequate sleep before the age of 4 are more likely to develop ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder). A study of 6868 preschool children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort has found that early, regular bedtimes is a strong predictor of normal development.  Lack of regular sleep in this age group leads to inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and ultimately lower academic performance.

PositiveTip: The long-term benefits of getting your young children to bed early are significant--in spite of the challenges.

The Media and Sleep

report by the Kaiser Family Foundation says that the brain’s ability to plan, organize activities, and pay attention seems to be the first system in the body which suffers from inadequate sleep. Too little sleep or poor quality sleep among youngsters can significantly impair immune function, which regulates the metabolism.

This suggests that inadequate sleep is connected with serious conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Too little sleep can also have a negative effect on creativity and memory, can increase accidents and injuries, contribute to school failure, and increase behavioral problems.

Even missing a very small amount of sleep can cause big problems.