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Alaska Sleep Education Center

School Stress! Earthquakes! Can sleep help our kids cope?

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Dec 6, 2018 12:53:32 PM

Friday morning's earthquake- Gruening Middle School in Eagle River will need such extensive repairs after this past week's earthquake that students will not return to the building this school year, ASD Superintendent Deena Bishop said Wednesday afternoon. 

Bishop said the steel structure is sound, but the school needs such extensive repairs that the work can't be completed while students attend.

Gruening students will instead attend their regular classes at Chugiak High School, Bishop said. They'll start one day later than other students in the district, on Tuesday, Dec. 11.  This news affects my family and, especially, my teenage daughter...whose stress level is at her boiling point.  HELP!  

Teenagers are living life at full speed — growing, learning, studying, exploding with hormones, learning to drive, gaining autonomy and coping with daily pressure and stress. It turns out that they need more sleep than adults to stay healthy and safe – and cope with stress.

To learn more about why sleep is so important for teens and how parents can help them get the rest they need, we reached out to Janet K. Kennedy, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, founder of NYC Sleep Doctor and author of The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (and You).

Why is sleep so important for teens?
Sleep is an essential bodily function for everyone. But for teens especially, it’s the body’s time to repair the damage of the day, regulate hormones, consolidate memory, solidify learning, and restore energy so they can wake up and do it all over again the next day.

What the recommended amount of sleep for teenagers?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teens get 8-10 hours of sleep nightly. Most teens do not get this much sleep.

Are there certain hours that are optimal for a teen’s bedtime and wake time?
Teenagers’ body clocks are skewed later than that of children and adults. Some teens have trouble falling asleep before 11 (or even later), which makes it hard to get enough sleep and get to school on time.

How does lack of sleep add to a teen’s stress level?
Lack of sleep increases levels of adrenaline and cortisol, making us feel wired, edgy and stressed. That physical stress combines with the psychological stress of homework, social stress, overscheduled extracurricular activities, pressure to perform, and looming responsibilities of adulthood that can feel overwhelming. And stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep, creating a cycle of sleep debt that is hard to break out of.

Are there other consequences for teens for not getting enough sleep?

Not getting enough sleep affects every aspect of a teenager’s life:

Poor memory and concentration leads to poor retention and performance at school.

Response time is impaired and car accidents are more likely.

Hormones triggering poor food choices and metabolic changes cause weight gain.

Irritability contributes to family and/or social conflict and can lead to more serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

Immune function is lowered and risk of colds or flu is increased.

Acne gets worse.

How can parents help set the stage for their teens to get a good night’s rest?

Parents can and should help teens develop good sleep habits:

Screens should be OFF and preferably out of the bedroom at least one hour before bed. This is important because screens keep kids (and us) plugged in to the day’s work and social activity. We have to train ourselves — and our kids — to unplug.

Phones, tablets and computers also emit blue light that suppresses the brain’s release of melatonin, delaying the body’s sleep signal. This is especially important for teenagers because their melatonin release is already on the late side. Delaying it further can cause insomnia and sleep deprivation.

Limit caffeine and eliminate super-caffeinated drinks designed to keep you awake. The body can take hours to metabolize caffeine. And even if someone is able to fall asleep after drinking caffeinated beverages, the stimulant effect interferes with deep sleep and makes sleep less restful.

No napping in the evening. Naps — and especially late naps — derail the body’s sleep clock, making it harder to get the consolidated nighttime sleep that is so important.

Don’t oversleep on weekends. Sleeping much later than normal and taking long naps on weekends makes it harder to get the sleep you need. The body works best when it has a consistent rhythm. A cycle of weekday sleep deprivation and weekend oversleeping keeps the body in a state of stress and fatigue. As unpleasant as it sounds, it’s best to get up around the same time each day, even on weekends. It’s usually fine to sleep an hour later on weekends, but more than that can lead to Sunday night insomnia, setting up the cycle of sleep deprivation for another week.

 

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Topics: teens, stress

Black Friday Is a Great Day to Sleep!

Posted by Kristen Havens, www.SleepResolutions.com on Nov 22, 2018 6:00:00 PM

The day after Thanksgiving isn't a day of rest for everybody. Some people need to go back to work on Friday. Some sign up to run turkey trot 10Ks or marathons. Others dedicate their day off to volunteering by helping the less fortunate at soup kitchens. But for many Americans, that jump on the long weekend means shopping: waking up early and getting out of the house for Black Friday sales. 

Some shoppers, famously, get in line on Thursday night and camp outside stores so they can get a jump on the competition when the doors open. Some stores open as early as midnight to accommodate eager customers fueled by the excitement of getting good deals before inventory runs out. 

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Topics: stress, holiday, beauty sleep

Holiday Stress: Don't Just Manage; Find a Way to Enjoy

Posted by Stefanie Leiter on Nov 22, 2018 11:25:00 AM

 

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Topics: stress, holiday, Family, losing sleep

8 Relaxing Sounds to Help You Sleep

Posted by Guest Blogger, Caitlin Reynolds from Reader's Digest on Sep 14, 2018 2:01:00 PM

Noise at night can be disruptive—or it can lead to better rest. These are some of the most potent sounds for sleep.

White noise

If you regularly struggle with insomnia, make sure you’re aware of these easy fixes. And if you’re trying to sleep in a loud environment, white noise might help you nod off more easily. A mixture of all sound frequencies at once, at the same level of intensity, white noise does a good job of masking other noises that can disrupt your sleep. Like a whirring fan or the hum of an air conditioner, white noise provides an even, steady stream of sound. In a study published in the journal Sleep Medicine, researchers at Brown University Medical School reported patients in a hospital intensive care unit awakened less frequently during the night with white noise present, because it decreased the difference between background noise and the “peak” noises that punctuated the hospital’s noise environment.

Ocean Sounds

It’s no surprise that ocean waves are a popular choice for soothing sleep sounds. For many people, the rhythmic crashing of water onto sand and rock can be meditative—and meditation carries some surprising health benefits. By creating a mental state of relaxation, contentment, and gentle focus, the wave sound can be deeply relaxing. In an interview with LiveScience, Dr. Orfeu Buxton, an associate professor of behavioral health at Penn State University, described how the sound of the ocean can promote sleep. “These slow, whooshing noises are the sounds of non-threats, which is why they work to calm people, “Buxton explained. “It’s like they’re saying: ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry.’”

Other water sounds

It’s not just ocean waves that can provide soothing sounds to go to sleep. Maybe it’s the light patter of a rain shower, or the steady flow of a running stream that helps you wind down at the end of a long day. One key to the power of water sounds to help us sleep, said Buxton, is the relatively gentle, gradual variations in the intensity of moving water sounds. Even more than volume, the abrupt, sudden presence of a noise can be jarring to sleep, Buxton and fellow researchers found in their 2012 study of how hospital noises disrupt sleep, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Topics: sleep habits, REM sleep, wellness, stress

Child Anxiety and Sleep

Posted by Julia Higginson on Jun 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Are the phrases “There’s a monster under my bed! I’m too scared to sleep!” or “Don’t leave. Just one more story, please!” part of your nighttime battle to get your child to sleep? You might be thinking your child is just being difficult but the reality is that your child might be having sleep related anxiety.

You child might be afraid of the dark, of a monster under the bed, or bad guys coming into the room, just to name a few fears. The fear of something scary happening while a child sleeps can cause them to feel anxious about wanting to fall asleep.

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Topics: Pediatrics, stress, anxiety, baby, moms

Yoga Your Way to Better Sleep

Posted by Stefanie Leiter on Sep 13, 2017 7:36:35 AM

We all have those mornings when, like this little puppy, we did not get an adequate amount of sleep. We push through the day tired, unproductive, and grumpy.

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Topics: yoga, exercise, alaska sleep clinic, stress

What Your Body Does When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Posted by Rich Crane on Nov 17, 2016 2:17:15 PM

 

It’s no secret we’re sleeping less.  Our fast-paced lives demand more time, and often that comes at the expense of our sleep.  It also should be no surprise that there is a strong correlation between the amount, and more importantly, the quality of sleep we get, and the effect it has on our bodies. 

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Topics: apnea, stress, Sleep, treatment, sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, health

Exercising Before Bedtime

Posted by Rich Crane on Aug 24, 2016 5:00:00 AM

In the debate of regular exercise versus not exercising at all, regular exercise is the undisputed heavy-weight champion of the world. You just don’t hear arguments otherwise. Although we know exercising is good for us, it’s often the first thing we abandon when life gets busy. Significantly cutting back exercising, or not exercising at all, can have serious repercussions on our physical and mental health. We’re not arguing the fact that we need more exercise. Most of us are simply trying to find time to do it.
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Topics: tired, Sleep, exercises, workout, breathing, health, stress

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