Jan. 5, 2015 at 2:44 AM ET
For tweens who got a tablet or smartphone for the holidays, their new bedtime routine may involve Netflix helping them doze off. But don’t think that’s better than watching TV before bed. A new study finds that even small-screen devices interrupt children’s sleep.
Experts have known that a flickering TV in the bedroom cuts into children’s sleep time. A researcher at the University of California, Berkeley wondered if small screens, such as those found on tablets and smartphones, influenced children’s sleep, too.
“Much less is known about new forms of media, like smartphones,” says Jennifer Falbe, lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics. “[They] have the potential to impact sleep, perhaps to a greater degree than traditional media.”
Falbe studied results from the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration, where 2,048 fourth-and seventh-grade students answered questions about their sleep and TV, smartphone, and tablet habits.
What the new research found:
- Children who dozed off near a small screen said they slept 20.6 minutes less than their peers who snoozed away from electronic devices.
- More importantly, children attached to small screens complained of interrupted sleep, something that even those who watched loads of TV or slept with a TV in the room did not admit to feeling.
- Those who were lulled to sleep by a TV admitted to 18 fewer minutes a sleep.
- Children who spent a lot of time during the day watching TV or videos or playing videogames also reported sleeping less.
The study didn’t look at why small screens impact sleep, but Falbe says a few factors play a role.
“While any type of light can suppress melatonin release, blue light emitted from electronics has a stronger impact on melatonin release,” she says. “Content can be engaging and emotionally arousing.”
While children may treat tablets and smartphones like another appendage, experts say there are ways to stop them from migrating to the bedroom.
“[Smart phones and tablets] are robbing the kid of the nightly routine of how to go to bed and get to sleep,” says Michele Borba, a parenting expert and TODAY Parents contributor.
She believes children need to learn how to fall asleep without help from electronics and recommends that phones and tablets are worked into the nighttime routine. Children will soon know that they can’t use electronics a half hour before bed.
Parenting expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa takes it one step further: parents should keep all chargers in their bedrooms and tell their children they must “park” their devices in their rooms. The ping of a text will no longer cause a child to spring from bed to check a phone or tablet.
“Kids genuinely believe … communication is actually that urgent,” says Gilboa. “Every one of those messages feels impossible to ignore.”
6 Reasons to Love to Sleep
Songs romanticize it; fairytales reference it. Sometimes we even dream about it. It’s sleep and many of us can’t (or don’t) get enough of it.
Why is sleep so wonderful? Everyone has their own reason for valuing their beauty rest, but like love, it all comes down to how it makes use feel. Here are six reasons to love sleep:
- It can help you lose weight
Studies have suggested links between sleep and weight, which means that more sleep means that you could actually gain less weight.
- It’s beauty’s ally
Beauty sleep isn’t a myth! Recent research shows there’s a link between getting a good night’s rest and physical appearance.
- It helps support your immune system
Lack of sleep can help make us more prone to catching illnesses, including the flu.
- It makes you happier
Studies show that lack of sleep has a powerful impact on mood.
- It can help manage stress
Running short on sleep can hinder focus, causing concentration and effectiveness to suffer and energy levels to decline. All of which diminishes our overall performance which can, in turn, lead to stress.
- It’s good for your brain
Research suggests that both quantity and quality of sleep have an impact memory and learning.
Love your sleep, but feel like you can never get enough? Visit our website to learn more about SleepTracker, a revolutionary portable sleep monitor that wakes you up feeling refreshed and energized!
It is normal for sleep habits and activity cycles to change a bit as the seasons change, according to Dr. Emerson M. Wickwire, Sleep Medicine Program Director at Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Associates in Columbia, Md., assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue or a noticeable change in your mood, irritability or ability to think or remember clearly, then you should talk to a board-certified sleep physician.
“The biggest mistake that people make when it comes to sleeping in winter is ignoring their body’s natural rhythm. Even if you’re tempted to stay in bed or on the couch all day long, unless you are sick it’s a good idea to get up and move around.”
Staying in bed or on the couch all day long when you’re not sick may throw off your circadian rhythms. The visual cues of light and darkness “set” this internal clock keeping it synchronized to a 24-hour cycle.
A number of sleep disorders that are linked to misaligned circadian rhythms including insomnia, jet lag andshift work disorder. Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been blamed for depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder, which is more common in the winter.
WINTER SLEEP TIPS
- Increase exposure to light
- increase or maintain physical activity
- Use a humidifier or nasal rinse to keep your airway passages from drying out
- Make sure that your bedroom is not too warm or too cold
A MUST watch for EVERYONE!
Sleep and performance go hand in hand!
At age 37, Tom Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
But every time he starts to look his age, he manages to put together a string of strong performances in which he looks like the Brady of old.
On Monday, Brady did an interview with WEEI radio in Boston, and he talked about how he stays youthful.
One of his strategies: getting plenty of sleep.
In a recent column, ESPN’s Bill Simmons said that Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman told him Brady goes to sleep at 8:30 each night.
WEEI asked Brady about the 8:30 p.m. bedtime. He said he went to sleep so early because football was the only thing he loved to do, and all his decisions were designed to keep him playing at an age when most players retire.
“Strength training and conditioning and how I really treat my body is important to me, because there’s really nothing else that I enjoy like playing football,” he said. “I want to do it as long as I can.”
Here’s his entire answer when asked about his sleep habits (full audio here):
I do go to bed very early because I’m up very early. I think that the decisions that I make always center around performance enhancement, if that makes sense. So whether that’s what I eat or what decisions I make or whether I drink or don’t drink, it’s always football-centric. I want to be the best I can be every day. I want to be the best I can be every week. I want to be the best I can be for my teammates. I love the game and I want to do it for a long time. But I also know that if I want to do it for a long time, I have to do things differently than the way guys have always done it.
I have to take a different approach. Strength training and conditioning and how I really treat my body is important to me, because there’s really nothing else that I enjoy like playing football. I want to do it as long as I can.
Later in the conversation, Brady talked about how different his lifestyle was from his early days in the NFL. He said he was “fast and loose” when he was 25 but would not change a thing:
The 25-year-old Tom Brady had a great time. I probably wouldn’t change much from those days … I was kind of fast and loose back then … I wouldn’t change anything when I was 25.
I tell [young players], I say, ‘You guys live it up, enjoy it. Because there’s going to be a time when you don’t have that opportunity again.’ You try to make good decisions and your mistakes you don’t want to be permanent. But when you’re in your youth, you should have fun and do those things that young guys do.
Brady has three years left on an extension that he signed in 2013. The $26 million in base salary for those three years becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the team for the last game of this season — which is a certainty at this point. If he plays out his contract, he’ll still be quarterbacking the Patriots at age 40.
Can we teach ourselves “lucid dreaming?” This blog by Shirley Wang in The Wall Street Journal explores research in the field that suggests ways to help creativity and problem-solving. “Lucid dreaming” may help people with mental health issues improve their sense of self-control, she writes:
Anthony Bloxham was standing in the garden of his house when he wondered if he was dreaming.
To figure it out, he looked at his hands. Experts in a phenomenon known as lucid dreaming, where sleeping people are aware that they’re in a dream, say dreamers should look for reality checks, or details that look different in dreams than in real life. Indeed, Mr. Bloxham’s hand was glowing yellow, so he realized he was asleep.
Some lucid dreamers are able to control elements of their dreams once they realize they’re dreaming. They do what’s impossible or unlikely in real life, like fly or meet famous people. Mr. Bloxham, 21, a recent university graduate from Mansfield, England, who stumbled onto the concept on the Internet and thought it sounded like fun, recalls the feeling of swimming through the air-though he hasn’t flown, as he’s wanted to.
Others use the technique to solve problems, spur creativity, overcome nightmares or practice a physical skill, says Daniel Erlacher, a professor at the University of Bern’s Institute for Sport Science, who has conducted surveys of lucid dreamers.
Researchers are studying people like Mr. Bloxham to understand if lucid dreaming can improve dreamers’ abilities when they’re awake.
Psychologists at the University of Lincoln in England found in a June study that people with frequent lucid dreams are better at cognitive tasks that involve insight, like problem-solving. Other researchers have shown that people who dream of practicing a routine can improve their abilities in that activity in real life. Early evidence also suggests that lucid dreaming may help improve depressive symptoms and mental health in general, perhaps by giving people a greater sense of self-control.
Many of the studies are small, however, and it isn’t always clear whether lucid dreaming is responsible for the improvements or simply linked to them, experts say. People vary tremendously in how often they remember their dreams, as well as their degree of awareness and control while dreaming.
Most people aren’t aware when they’re dreaming, which tends to occur in a stage known as rapid-eye movement, or REM, sleep. Yet even with the body in a very deep sleep, the mind is very active.
Having awareness during the dream state, and the added ability to control the dream, as portrayed in the movie “Inception,” isn’t a regular occurrence for most people. Surveys suggest that about half of us will have at least one experience in our lifetimes. About 20% or more have routine lucid dreaming experiences, according to studies conducted by Dr. Erlacher and his team in Switzerland.
The plot of the 2010 film “Inception” involves the idea of lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming comes more easily to some people, but experts say it can be learned. The low number of people able to lucid dream at will, particularly in a sleep lab, is one of the main challenges with conducting research on the phenomenon. Another obstacle is figuring out when people are actually lucid dreaming, since it isn’t clear whether people’s recollections upon waking are accurate.
Patrick Bourke and Hannah Shaw are researchers from the University of Lincoln, and lucid dreamers themselves. They set out to investigate in their recent study whether frequent lucid dreamers had different ways of thinking while awake, compared with non-frequent lucid dreamers. They hypothesized that awareness while dreaming may be related to those “aha!” moments often necessary in problem-solving. The study was published in Dreaming, a journal of the American Psychological Association, in June.
In the lab, 20 people who say they haven’t had the experience of being aware that they’re dreaming, 28 occasional lucid dreamers and 20 frequent lucid dreamers completed a problem-solving task. They were given three words and had to figure out a word to go with each. For instance, stone pairs up with the trio of age, mile and sand.
The frequent lucid dreamers were significantly better at solving these puzzles than the non-dreamers. The occasional dreamers fell in the middle but weren’t statistically different from either of the other two groups.
Why frequent dreamers showed improved performance wasn’t clear from the study. The authors speculated that the ability to make more remote associations and question unusual details could be more finely honed in the lucid group. The authors don’t know if the lucid dreamers differed from the other groups in terms of intelligence or other cognitive skills.
Other studies looking at different cognitive tasks also suggest that lucid dreamers perform better than non-lucid dreamers.
Our new college bedding study highlights problems with the pillows and mattress pads that college students take to school with them. But, gross fungi aside, it also brings up a very important point — a good night’s sleep increases a student’s chance of success in college exponentially.
Multiple studies have been done on the subject. One, covered here at SleepBetter.org, looked at 60 college-age subjects. The participants were split into two equal groups. In the morning, the first group learned a batch of 30 fake words. They then returned later in the evening to take a test on how well they learned the words. Meanwhile, the second group studied the same phony words at nighttime. This group did not complete their vocabulary test until the following morning after a full night’s sleep.
Once the tests were scored, researchers found that the subjects who slept after learning the new words performed much better than those who were awake throughout the day.
By entering a deep sleep, your brain is better able to establish connections between new facts and previous knowledge. Since learning new things and applying connections is what college is all about, it only stands to reason that sleep and attending college should go together like two peas in a pod.
Here are some recommendations from an article we published last year called Five Tips to Help College Students Sleep Better:
- Make sure they have a proper pillow. Check out that pillow your student is taking to school. Has it been around since they were in kindergarten? If so, replace it. Not only could it be filled with fungi, an outdated, out-of-shape pillow can also make it hard to get comfortable at night.
- Add a mattress pad. Dormitory beds are notoriously uncomfortable, but adding a good mattress pad can make them tolerable.
- Earplugs may not be a bad idea. It’s no secret that dorms are noisy.
- Talk about what a bed is used for. This will sound strange, but using a bed for a desk, a TV chair, and even a video game lounge can lead to not getting to sleep when it’s bedtime.
- Suggest a good sleep routine. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every night is the best way to go. Knowing that’s unrealistic, however, perhaps suggest they try to go to sleep at around the same time Sunday through Thursday. Recognizing that Friday and Saturday night probably won’t mean lights out at 10pm, suggest trying to get to bed no later than a couple of hours after their weekday bedtime.
After reading about our college bedding story, are you freaked out about what’s inside your pillow? Be sure to check out our article on how to clean your pillow!
DME automotive recently surveyed American drivers on the top ways they try to combat sleepiness on the road, and it turns out that drivers are getting it all wrong.
Recent articles document the results of the survey which predictably found drinking caffeinated beverages at the top of the list for staying awake. This tactic, along with opening windows, pulling over and exercising/stretching, and blasting loud music and air conditioning realistically have very short-term to no effect.
Instead, safety experts recommend pulling over and taking a nap. “Pulling over and napping (only 23 percent reporting) ranked a lowly 7(th), on a par with eating or singing (21 percent),” writes Canadian Automotive Review. “The findings indicate most drivers are doing things to fight sleepiness at the wheel that don’t work, and it’s likely contributing to the scary statistics: drowsy driving is responsible for somewhere between 15-33 percent of all fatal crashes,(1) or more than 100,000 accidents each year.”
“This survey reveals a big problem: when people get sleepy on the road, too many take measures that simply don’t work. Most of us do ineffective things like stopping for that third triple-shot cappuccino or slapping water on our face just to keep going. As drivers, we need to heed our drowsiness: and stop and sleep, or let a rested person drive,” said Mary Sheridan, director of Research and Analytics for DME automotive.
Source: Purchasing B2B/From Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy
- See more at: http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/07/stress-exposure-coping-insomnia/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=SR+Sleep+Report+7%2F09&spMailingID=8979349&spUserID=MjQxMTIxNTA4MjUS1&spJobID=340679522&spReportId=MzQwNjc5NTIyS0#sthash.lVQ3rxG0.dpuf