Want to know one secret to looking young? Sleep. And most of us are not getting enough of it. In order for mom to get zzz's it's got to start with the kids. Sleep and rest expert Matthew Edlund, M.D. (www.therestdoctor.com) has a new book out called The Power of Rest. Dr. Edlund has some great times to share--we think you and your family can benefit.
How Much is Enough?
Dr. Edlund maintains that kids who are one or two years old probably need around 14-15 hours total sleep each day, and teenagers, with their odd late night body clocks, still require 9-9.5 hours on average for full function. Yet how can sleep compete with the internet? Kids are now using media at about 7.5 hours a day. They don't want to give up instant messaging or texting even in the middle of the night. They like to multitask, and the more popular they are, the more media they use.
It's up to us as parents to set examples when it comes to good sleep hygiene.
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The Benefits of a Healthy Amount of Sleep:
1. Better looks. A lot of skin replacement takes place during sleep.
2. Better weight control. Sleep less, weigh more. Getting less than seven hours of sleep each night can lead to weight gain that will dog them for years.
3. Better brains. Much of the rebuilding of brain cell connections occurs during sleep.
4. Better learning and memory. Sleep is required for putting memories in and renewing them. It's summarized and integrated during sleep, then emptied so it can be used the next day.
Tips for Getting Enough Sleep
- Make sure there are set times of going to sleep and getting up. Times rules life, and body clocks rule human performance. They work best when you set them and keep to them.
- Allow naps during the day. Kids need naps, including teenagers. Try not to make them too long, so that they won't interfere with nighttime sleep. With children that's hard to do, as they really need a lot of sleep.
- Do what the airlines do--turn off all electronic devices when going to sleep. If media can be used, it will be used. Do it at least 30 minutes before the time sleep is meant to begin.
- Consider buying a night mask (we like this pretty one from slip)
- Get your kids to rest. Sleep is a really complicated process. It doesn't happen like a light switch. You've got to be calm and relaxed to sleep, which many kids will not be. Fortunately, techniques like paradoxical relaxation can quickly calm children, and there's little like reading to prepare a kid to sleep, the amazing restoration and rebuilding process that makes for a changed, renewed brain, every day.
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