Saturday, May 18, 2013
Slacking On Sleep Linked to Obesity, Disease, CDC Study Says
The Anchorage School District is working to make sure kids realize how important it is to develop good sleeping patterns, which in turn will foster healthy learning.
When it comes to sleep, there never seems to be time to get enough.
And now, a Centers for Disease Control study says a lack of it could lead kids to do dangerous activities. Sleep insufficiency has also been linked to car crashes, obesity, and even deadly diseases. The CDC is even going so far as to call it a public health epidemic.
In order for children to succeed, they need to develop good sleep patterns. Sleep, or lack thereof, is something Anchorage pediatrician Dr. Monique Karaganis checks for daily.
“Sometimes lack of sleep can look like other problems,” said Karaganis, who runs Polar Pediatrics. Without proper rest, kids can grow up to be teens and adults who won't reach their full potential.
Everything from cancer and depression to how you retain information is all based on how much sleep you get. “In our sleep is actually the time that we heal. It’s the time that we grow, it’s also the time we learn,” said Karaganis.
“Studies show that when you’re studying all day at school and doing your homework afterwards, you actually integrate the information and learn it in your sleep.”
The Anchorage School District is working to make sure kids realize how important it is to develop sleep good patterns, which in turn will foster healthy learning.
“Kids that are overtired also do poorer in school and make other poor choices,” said Nancy Edtl, the director of ASD health services and nursing.
Choices like eating bad foods or messing with nicotine and alcohol affect how well kids perform in school.
“The more they procrastinate, the more apt they are to stay up late and pull an all-nighter and to not do a great job,” said Edtl.
Karaganis recommends developing a sleep routine much in the same way we follow a dental hygiene routine.
“Just like we brush our teeth twice a day and we floss and we see the dentist twice a year, and we use mouthwash in order to have dental hygiene, there are habits that you can create that create healthy sleep,” she explained.
Think watching some late-night TV will coax you to sleep? Think again. “A flickering light actually signals to a part of your brain called the pineal gland that it is dawn. So, when you watch TV, up until the moment you’re trying to sleep, your brain actually wakes you up,” said Karaganis.
Here are some other simple tips to combat sleep insufficiency:
Keep a consistent bedtime seven days a week
Turn off electronics, like your TV, computer, and cell phone at least two hours before bed
Avoid caffeine and large meals
Right now, only 31 percent of high school students say they get at least eight hours of sleep, while doctors recommended they get up to nine.