Tag Archives: Sleep
You know your child needs sleep. But do you know why?
It’s not just that overtired kids are cranky. Not getting enough sleep can hurt their health and ability to make good choices.
How much sleep should your kids get?
You may be surprised by how much they need.
- Toddlers: 12-14 hours
- Preschoolers: 11-13 hours
- School-age kids: 10-11 hours
- Tweens and teens: 8.5-9.25 hours
How Poor Sleep Affects Your Child
Your body uses sleep as a time to repair itself. Even half an hour less each night can derail that process. The effects of not getting enough sleep include:
Weight gain. Lack of sleep can make kids hungrier and drawn to high-calorie foods. When you’re tired, your body makes more of the hormone that makes you hungry, increasing your appetite. And when you’re tired, it makes less of the hormone that tells you you’re full. So not only do you feel hungrier but you may eat more than usual before you realize that you’re full. Plus, lack of sleep also affects your metabolism. Not getting enough sleep raises the risk of diabetes and unhealthy weight gain in kids and adults.
Bad moods. “Kids who don’t get enough sleep have trouble regulating their emotions,” says Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of Sleeping Through the Night. Some of the surliness we associate with teenagers just being teens may actually be because they aren’t getting enough sleep, she says. Overtime, not getting enough sleep can increase risk of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in teens.
Trouble in school. Sleep is essential for building memory. Without enough, your kids may not recall what they’ve learned, Mindell says.
Accidents. Tired kids are prone to accidents, including sports injuries. More than half of all teen drivers drove drowsy in the past year — and drowsy-driving accidents are most common in people under age 25, Mindell says.
Bad judgment. “Kids who are overtired make worse decisions,” Mindell says. That’s not just a problem during SATs. They may be more likely to post an inappropriate picture on Facebook or get in a car with a kid who’s been drinking.
How to Help Kids Get Enough Sleep
Take bedtime seriously. Set a firm bedtime and stick to it. Don’t let your kids get jobs or take part in after-school activities that keep them out too late. Build your weekly schedules around having enough time for sleep.
Keep gadgets out of the bedroom. That means no TV — and no laptops, phones, or tablets either.
“Have a rule that all gadgets stay plugged in on the kitchen counter at night,” Mindell says. “That goes for the parents too, not just the kids.”
SUNDAY May 19, 2013 — Sleep apnea, the condition that robs sufferers of deep sleep by endlessly and subconsciously waking them up, becomes more common as people age. Now, a small new study raises the possibility that it may somehow cause — or be caused by — Alzheimer’s disease.
Don’t worry just yet if you have sleep apnea. The research is preliminary, and it’s possible that there may be no connection between the two conditions. Still, scientists found that slimmer seniors with signs of disrupted breathing during sleep were more likely to have indicators of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
“This is just a correlation,” said study lead author Dr. Ricardo Osorio, a research assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine, in New York City. But, he said, the prospect of a connection deserves further study since there may indeed be a link between sleep, aging and memory, which severely declines in Alzheimer’s patients.
“It’s clear that sleep is important for memory, and sleep changes as you get older,” he said. “Disrupted breathing during sleep also increases with aging.”
People who have sleep apnea often don’t know it. They have trouble staying in deep sleep because their throats close as they slumber, temporarily blocking their airways and requiring them to subconsciously wake up to get air. Some sleep apnea sufferers may awaken 35 or more times an hour.
In the new study, researchers tested the sleep of 68 seniors in their 60s, 70s and 80s. Their average age was 71.
A quarter of them had symptoms of moderate to severe breathing problems during sleep (a sign that they may have sleep apnea), and about 49 percent had mild breathing problems. But none of them complained of sleepiness or concentration problems, which sleep apnea can cause, Osorio said.
The researchers discovered that thinner participants with breathing problems during sleep were more likely to have “biomarkers” — biological signs — of an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s. These signs indicate brain damage and decreased use of glucose (the sugar that blood transports) in the brain, Osorio said.
“We do not know if these people will develop Alzheimer’s in the future, and we don’t know how much risk they have,” he said. “In the future, we might able to predict the risk.”
Although excess weight raises the risk of sleep apnea, the obese participants with breathing problems didn’t appear to have as much of an extra risk of Alzheimer’s. There’s another twist, Osorio said: For reasons that are unclear, being slightly overweight seemed to actually lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.
So what’s going on? The study doesn’t give hints about which came first — Alzheimer’s or sleep breathing problems — or whether something else, such as aging, might be causing both.
Another expert said it’s clear that thinking skills may be impaired in patients with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. “[But] the mechanisms of this are not well understood,” said Dr. Brad Dickerson, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
As for the study, Dickerson said its findings are intriguing. However, he said, “these findings are very preliminary, and need to be further studied … in order to make sure they are consistent and to better understand their implications.”
The next step, Osorio said, is to launch a study of older people with sleep breathing problems and monitor them over time to see if they’re less likely to develop Alzheimer’s after getting treatment to improve their breathing.
The study is scheduled to be presented Sunday at an American Thoracic Society conference in Philadelphia. Findings presented at medical meetings typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
For more about Alzheimer’s disease, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Posted: May 2013
Researcher calls troubled sleep an ‘uncalculated cost’ of America’s weight epidemic
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Randy Dotinga
FRIDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) — The widening American waistline may be feeding an epidemic of sleep apnea, potentially robbing millions of people of a good night’s rest, a new study suggests.
The research didn’t definitively link the rise in obesity to sleep apnea, and it only looked at 1,520 people, almost all white, in Wisconsin. But study author Paul Peppard believes the findings show a big spike in sleep apnea cases over the past two decades — as much as 55 percent — and may translate to the entire United States.
“There are probably 4 million to 5 million people who are more likely to have sleep apnea due to the obesity epidemic,” estimated Peppard, an assistant professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It’s certainly an uncalculated cost of the obesity epidemic, an epidemic of its own.”
The researchers looked at adults aged 30 to 70 who were monitored as they slept. About 600 to 700 underwent sleep tests between 1988 and 1994, with some continuing to take part along with hundreds of new participants from 2007 to 2010.
The study considered the participants to have moderate-to-severe breathing problems if they had trouble breathing 15 or more times an hour while sleeping.
Sleep apnea is the main cause of breathing problems during sleep. People with the condition often have trouble staying in deep sleep because their throats close, blocking their airways and requiring them to partially awaken to start breathing properly. They don’t realize they’re waking up and may become very sleepy during the day.
Besides sleepiness, sleep apnea can contribute to heart and other health problems if untreated and increase the risk of work- and driving-related accidents, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The researchers extrapolated their findings to the entire United States and estimated that 10 percent of men aged 30 to 49 currently have symptoms of sleep apnea. The study estimates the number is 17 percent of men aged 50 to 70. For women, the estimate is 3 percent among those aged 30 to 49 and 9 percent among women aged 50 to 70.
Among all groups, heavier people were much more likely than thinner people to suffer from the symptoms.
The study estimates that these numbers have gone up by 14 percent to 55 percent from 1988-1994 to 2007-2010. Peppard estimated that 80 percent to 90 percent of the increase in symptoms is due to the growth in obesity.
But it’s hard to know for sure how much of a role that obesity plays in causing more symptoms. While obesity is “almost certainly the biggest factor” in causing sleep apnea, Peppard said, “there’s long list of things that cause sleep apnea or are related to sleep apnea, like being older, being male, having a narrower upper airway, having a genetic predisposition to it…”
Men least likely to nod off were most likely to have severe disease, researchers found
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Robert Preidt
“Prostate cancer is one of the leading public health concerns for men, and sleep problems are quite common,” said study author Dr. Lara Sigurdardottir, of the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. “If our results are confirmed with further studies, sleep may become a potential target for intervention to reduce the risk for prostate cancer.”
Her study included about 2,100 men, aged 67 to 96, in Iceland. They were asked if they took medications to help them sleep, had trouble falling asleep or woke up during nights or early in the morning and had difficulty going back to sleep.
The researchers found that 14.4 percent of the men had severe or very severe sleep problems.
None of the men had prostate cancer at the start of the study. During five years of follow-up, 6.4 percent were diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to the study, which was published May 7 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
After adjusting for age, the researchers concluded that men with sleep problems were 1.6 to 2.1 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than those without sleep problems. Risk increased with the severity of sleeping problems.
The association was stronger for advanced prostate cancer than for overall prostate cancer. Those with very severe sleep problems had a more than threefold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer, the researchers found.
“Sleep problems are very common in modern society and can have adverse health consequences,” Sigurdardottir said in a journal news release. “Women with sleep disruption have consistently been reported to be at an increased risk for breast cancer, but less is known about the potential role of sleep problems in prostate cancer.”
She said these findings need to be confirmed in a larger and longer study.
Although the study found a potential association between sleep problems and prostate cancer, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Motorists with sleep apnea were more likely to fall asleep at wheel, fail simulated road tests
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) — Drivers with the sleep disorder sleep apnea are more likely to nod off at the wheel and fail simulated driving tests than motorists without the condition, new research finds.
Scientists from the University Hospital in Leeds, England, conducted two studies involving sleep apnea — a pattern of disrupted breathing during sleep — and driving performance.
In one study, they tested the driving ability of 133 patients with untreated sleep apnea and 89 people without the condition using a simulated driving test. As they navigated the roughly 56-mile course, the “drivers” were assessed on completion, time spent in the middle lane, unprovoked crashes and crashes caused by veering off the road.
Twice as many people with untreated sleep apnea (24 percent) failed the driving test, compared to 12 percent of those who didn’t have the condition. The researchers noted many of the sleep apnea patients couldn’t complete the test. They also had more crashes and had difficulty following a clear set of directions given at the start of the test.
“Driving simulators can be a good way of checking the effects that a condition like sleep apnea can have on driving ability,” said the study’s chief investigator, Dr. Mark Elliott, in a news release from the European Lung Foundation. “Our research suggests that people with the condition are more likely to fail the test.”
The study is scheduled for presentation Friday at a meeting of the European Respiratory Society and the European Sleep Research in Berlin.
In another study, 118 people with untreated sleep apnea completed a survey about their driving behavior and also took the simulated driving test. Their results were compared to those of 69 people who didn’t have sleep apnea.
More than one-third (35 percent) of those with sleep apnea admitted to nodding off while driving. The researchers noted 38 percent of this group also failed the driving test. In contrast, only 11 percent of those without sleep apnea admitted falling asleep while driving. And none of the motorists without sleep apnea failed the driving test.
Both studies highlight the dangers of untreated sleep apnea and driving, Dan Smyth, of Sleep Apnea Europe, said in the news release. “These studies give weight to the need for provision of sufficient resources for early diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea, where effective treatment ensures a return to acceptable risk levels for road users.”
Interrupted sleep at night leads to daytime fatigue, and sleep apnea has previously been linked to increased risk for car crashes. People with the condition are also at greater risk for medical conditions such as high blood pressure.
Data and conclusions presented at meetings typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.