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Sleep Timing & Duration

Summertime Sleep Schedules for Kids

Three ways to ensure summer vacation doesn’t negatively impact your child’s sleep In my clinical practice parents often complain about how difficult it can be to maintain a consistent sleep schedule in the summer. With long days, children will often wake early with the sun, and few children want to go to bed when it is still light out (especially when they could be playing outside!). It is very easy to get off schedule during the summer without the routine of school and with the added distractions of long days and vacations. If a child does not need to wake for summer camp or other activities, then a later bedtime and wake time is…

The Latest Sleep Trackers That Attach To Your Wrist

You may initially buy these new activity trackers to learn about how many calories you burn in a day, but keep them on at night and you’ll learn lots of information about how you’re sleeping. Wearable activity trackers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. And for people who want to learn more about their sleep habits, this is a good thing. That’s because many of the newest activity trackers, like the four below, double as sleep monitors—just wear them on your wrist through the night to get details about the quality and duration of your sleep. Fitbit Charge HR: The latest offering from Fitbit features a heart rate monitor that tracks your pulse through…

Why Do We "Spring Forward" But "Fall Back" With Daylight Saving Time?

Myths, truths, and debates about switching the clocks The terms “spring forward” and “fall back” are used to describe a practice of changing standard time with the intention of  “saving” (as in, making better use of) natural light. During daylight savings time (DST), clocks are turned ahead one hour, so that the sun rises later in the morning and sets later in the evening. The change is reversed in autumn. Originally enacted in the United States as a wartime conservation effort, observance of DST became federal law in 1918. (To dispel a common myth: It was not enacted for farmers—in fact, most farmers fought for its repeal.) While it was quickly repealed after the war ended,…

How to Handle the Time Change

A few simple steps can get you back on track quickly. It happens every year, but Daylight Saving Time still manages to catch many people by surprise. Every spring, clocks are pushed forward one hour from 2:00am to 3:00am to start Daylight Saving Time. And every fall, they are dropped back an hour (2:00am becomes 1:00am) to go into Standard Time. Almost everyone in the U.S. springs forward on the second Sunday in March and falls back on the first Sunday in November. That means that the second Monday in March is likely going to be a day when most people will feel exhausted, thanks to a way-too-early-seeming wake-up call. In fact, the average person…

What is Insufficient Sleep?

How to tell if you’re dealing with insufficient sleep syndrome Nearly 30 percent of adults get less than six hours of sleep per night, on average (when most should be getting more like seven to nine). Regularly failing to get enough sleep at night is known as insufficient sleep syndrome, and it can be very hazardous to your health. How And When Insufficient Sleep Happens Certain conditions like insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea can lead to insufficient sleep syndrome, but, in some cases, behavior is to blame, such as taking on shift work, checking a few extra emails at 11:00pm or staying up late to finish a movie. Two percent of people suffer from behavior-induced insufficient…

Sleeping During the Day: Is it OK?

The good news about napping—and the downsides of nodding off mid-day.   Sneaking in some sleep midday is linked to a long list of benefits, including improved mood, better memory, reduced fatigue, and even lowered blood pressure. In addition, while your body clock is set to help you feel alert in the morning and sleepy in the evening, it’s also programmed to make you feel naturally tired mid-afternoon, and a nap has been shown as the best way to cope with this fatigue. That said, naps aren’t for everyone. Some people wake up from an afternoon snooze feeling groggier than they did before they fell asleep, and for others, napping can interfere with the quality…

What are Considered "Normal" Sleep Habits?

  Learn what to expect during sleep. It’s a common question that most people ponder when it comes to sleep: “Am I normal?” Well, there’s no one way that every person is supposed to sleep. (For instance, some people require fewer total hours of sleep than others to function optimally.) But these are some signs that you’re on the right track. You’re Getting Seven to Nine Hours Per Night. The number of hours of sleep that a person needs each night can vary depending on age, lifestyle, and other factors. But if you find yourself sleeping for seven to nine hours per night, then you’re a-okay.? If you’re sleeping less or more than that and you don’t…

When Kids Should Go to Bed - Based on Age

How your child’s age impacts the amount of sleep that he or she needs It can be tough to figure out exactly how much sleep your kid needs and when he or she should go to sleep, especially because your child’s slumber needs will change as he or she gets older. In other words, what worked perfectly at two months of age might fail at three months! Check out this quick guide to get a ballpark sense of how much sleep your kid needs. And keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits all solution—each child is different. Newborns (up to three months): 14 to 17 hours Infants (four to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours Toddlers (one to two):…

Sleep: How Do You Know Enough Is Enough?

  Making sure your children get enough quality sleep is a priority for the whole family. One of the most common questions I get asked as a pediatric sleep psychologist is “how much sleep does my child need?”  The National Sleep Foundation recently updated their recommendations for sufficient sleep duration across development. These numbers often send parents into a panic when they think their child is not obtaining sufficient sleep.  Adults, on the other hand, can usually tell you how much sleep they need, but then tell you how much they can get by on. The latter is dangerous as deficient sleep is known to cause significant problems, including negative mood, impaired performance, significant health issues, and…

Healthy Habits: Prioritizing Sleep

  Make sleep a key part of your daily routine to maximize the benefits of your zzz’s. As we begin the new year, many of us desire to make a fresh, healthy start to the year. So, we all make New Year’s Resolutions to change our lives for the better. Unfortunately, by mid-January, many of these resolutions remain unfulfilled or broken. How can we effectively harness the optimism and motivation we feel with the change of the calendar year? Research on how we create and break habits suggests that we need to target areas of our lives that have become automatic. Harness the Power of Habit As Charles Duhigg said in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What…