Insufficient, irregular sleep associated with childhood obesity

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I made the then startling claim that childhood obesity was associated with a lack of sleep. And, in a clinical study, we showed that families who make wise nutrition choices, activity choices, AND increase the amount of sleep children get, can prevent or treat childhood obesity. Since the publication of the book, study after study (many reviewed in this blog) have demonstrated the association between poor sleep or inadequate sleep and childhood obesity. Now, a new study suggests that sleeping in on the weekend may help children fight obesity. Here are some details from HealthDay News: Too little sleep puts kids at risk of obesity and other health conditions, but "catch-up" sleep on weekends and holidays can mitigate…
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‘Beauty sleep’ turns out to be true, says study

Men's Health, Mental Health, Woman's Health
The idea of people needing "beauty sleep" has acquired some scientific backing, according to a Swedish study. People deprived of sleep for long periods appear less attractive and more unhealthy than those who are well rested, say researchers. Here are the details from the BBC: Volunteers were photographed after eight hours sleep and again after being kept awake for 31 hours. Observers scored the sleep-deprived participants as less healthy and less attractive, the BMJ reports. The concept of beauty sleep is well known. But, according to researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, it has lacked scientific support. The team asked untrained observers to rate the faces of 23 young men and women who had been photographed after a normal night's sleep and then after a night of sleep deprivation. The photographs were…
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Kids’ use of electronic media at night linked to problems

Children's Health, Parenting
More than half of children who use electronic media before bedtime may have mood or learning problems during the day, a preliminary study of 40 young people suggests. The kids in the study, average age 14½, were all treated at the JFK Medical Center Sleep Laboratory in Edison, N.J. About 77% had trouble falling asleep; others had daytime sleepiness. Here are more details from USA Today: And it's no wonder: Turns out they sent an average 34 text messages or e-mails a night, according to the study, to be presented today at the meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Vancouver, British Columbia. Texts were sent anywhere from 10 minutes to four hours after bedtime. "Across the board, all of the children admitted to using electronic media — texting,…
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Six doctor-recommended sleep aids

Men's Health, Mental Health, Woman's Health
Tired of counting sheep? Consider one of these remedies for the possibility of getting a good night's sleep when you have occasional insomnia. These tips were posted on Health.com and are from RealSimple.com: 1) Aromatherapy Try it: When you're drowsy but slightly tense. How to use it: Massage a dab of aromatherapeutic balm or oil into the back of your neck and shoulders (and inhale deeply) before you hit the sack. Certain fragrances, including lavender and lemon balm, promote snooze-inducing relaxation, says Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., a sleep specialist at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, in Tucson. (Try Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Night Health Bedtime Balm, which contains lavender; $25, origins.com.) Good to know: You don't have to stick to traditional aromatherapeutic scents -- any fragrance that makes you…
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Time change tonight offers chance to try to improve on slumber, experts say.

Children's Health, Men's Health, Mental Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
When you turn your clocks back an hour tonight, it might be a good opportunity to think about whether you're getting enough sleep. The switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time officially occurs at 2 a.m. tomorrow (Sunday) morning, and it moves one hour of daylight from the evening to the morning. You'll likely appreciate the extra hour of sleep you'll gain with the return to Standard Time, but it won't be enough to eliminate any major sleep debt you may have accumulated due to a hectic lifestyle, experts say. Here are the details from HealthDay News: Chronic sleep deprivation can affect attention levels, reaction time and mood, leading to decreased productivity at work, increased family stress, and potential health problems, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). "People…
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Tart Cherry Juice (Sour Cherry): What Are The Facts?

Men's Health, Mental Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
Tart cherry juice is now becoming a popular drink for everything from heart disease, insomnia, and muscle pain to preventing cancer. It's in commercial products such as Cheribundi Tru Cherry Tart Cherry Juice, Nature Blessed Cherry Juice, and others. Tart cherry juice contains antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E, kaempferol, and quercetin. In addition, the juice has anti-inflammatory effects and might reduce markers of muscle damage after exercise. According to The Review of Natural Products by Facts and Comparisons (St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Co., 1999), "A preliminary study suggests that compounds found in the sour cherry may have anti-inflammatory effects that are ten times stronger than aspirin but without aspirin's side effects." Tart cherry juice is also a natural source of melatonin. Some people are using it to improve…
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Strategies for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Children's Health, Men's Health, Mental Health, Woman's Health
Here's some excellent information on avoiding insomnia and getting a good night's sleep using common-sense sleep hygiene. It's from my friends at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. However, I find that many of my patients are not aware of some (or even most) of this information. So, here's to a good night's sleep for each of you. What Is Insomnia? Insomnia is a common complaint. Some symptoms of insomnia are difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and difficulty with early morning awakening. Sometimes insomnia only lasts for a short time and can be easily managed. Persistent insomnia is more troublesome and can affect work, school, social relationships, and health. Many conditions are associated with insomnia such as depression, anxiety, allergies, and pain. Much of the time insomnia is simply the…
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Lack of sleep ‘linked to early death’

Men's Health, Woman's Health
#mce_temp_url#Better Sleepers Are ‘Successful Agers’ In a number of my health books (including 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, and God's Design for the Highly Healthy Teen), I discuss the growing number of studies showing that a good night's sleep (the right quantity and quality of sleep - not too much or too little) is associated with a wide range of good mental and physical health outcomes. Now comes a new study showing that getting less than six hours sleep a night can lead to an early grave. (You can find a list of my blogs on sleep at the bottom of this page) The UK and Italian researchers say that people regularly having too…
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Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter

Men's Health, Woman's Health
A study is claiming that snoozing refreshes the brain's capacity to learn. While the findings are preliminary, this new research raises the prospect that sleep, specifically a lengthy afternoon nap, prepares the brain to remember things. Think of it as similar to rebooting a computer to get it to work more smoothly. Here are some of the details as reported by Health Day News: Want to ace that next test? Try taking a mid-afternoon siesta. "Sleep is not just for the body. It's very much for the brain," said study author Matthew Walker, an assistant professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Walker and colleagues divided 39 young adults into two groups. At noon, all the participants took part in a memory exercise that required them to remember faces and…
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Your child’s lack of sleep is linked to their risk of obesity

Children's Health, Health Headlines, Nutritional Health, Parenting
When I published in my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, and on my SuperSized Kids Website, it shocked many parents to learn that helping their kids consistently get a good night's sleep helps protect children from becoming obese. Now, a new study, published Monday, confirms what I have said and other studies have shown. More Information: (more…)
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Sleep a Necessity, Not a Luxury

Children's Health, General Health, Health Headlines, Men's Health, Mental Health, Obesity, Parenting, Woman's Health
HealthDay News reports that as the pace of life gets faster and faster, and people try to cram more and more into every minute of the day. Before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1880, people slept an average of 10 hours a night. These days, Americans average 6.9 hours of sleep on weeknights and 7.5 hours a night on weekends, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But lack of sleep affects a person in one of two ways. (more…)
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