Wednesday, April 5, 2017

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Sleeping for Success Part 1

"Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together."  
                                                                                            --Thomas Dekker

When I talk with kids and ask them where they charge their cell phones at night, the most common response, "next to my bed," drives me nuts.

Did you know that the consensus among scientists is that most brains do not become are fully developed until age 25?   For the sake of our children's present and future health, the worst place cell phones should be charging is right next to their heads.   Cell phones interfere with kids' brains while they sleep.  Make sure all phones are at least ten feet from your kids' heads when they are sleeping. 

Image result for sleeping teenagers pictures
I have created a 10 question sleep survey for parents (see below).  Most people take sleep for granted.  After all, we do it every night, so there's not much to it, right?  Wrong.  Scientists know that the quality and quantity of our sleep is important for our brain health and for our physical health.  While we sleep, our brains process information and our bodies recharge and replenish the immune systems.   

Here are 10 questions to think about before you go to bed tonight: 
  1. Does your bed have comfortable pillows, sheets, and blankets?
  2. Is your bedroom a restful and peaceful sanctuary?
  3. When you turn off all the lights in your bedroom, are red, blue, and yellow lights on your electronics still on?
  4. How close to your head does your cell phone charge while you are sleeping?
  5. Do you have a regular bedtime?
  6. Do you have a sleep routine when you wind down the day and prepare for the night?
  7. How much time before you go to bed do you stop using your cell phones and computers?
  8. How long does it take you to go to sleep once you lie down in bed?
  9. How many hours sleep do you get most nights?
  10. How many times do you wake up at night? 

There is a big reason why your answers to these questions can affect the quality of sleep.   People who don't get enough sleep have a harder time losing weight.  Getting to a healthy weight is key to preventing diabetes, for those who are at risk for diabetes, and to controlling or reversing diabetes, for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes. 

 Image result for sleeping teenagers pictures

As parents, we have a responsibility to protect our children’s health.  That starts with making sure everyone in the family is getting a good night’s sleep.  Sweet dreams, my love!

With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.