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Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Naps can benefit babies by boosting their memories, but as your child grows, too many naps may actually worsen sleep patterns.
Researchers in Australia reached this conclusion after analyzing 26 studies focused on the affect of napping on kids’ health and social development. The age range covered in the studies varied from birth to 5 years old.
The researchers also reached the conclusion that poor sleep patterns had a negative impact on weight, cognitive functioning, and emotional health.
“The evidence suggests that beyond the age of 2 years, when cessation of napping becomes more common, daytime sleep is associated with shorter and more disrupted night sleep,” Karen Thorpe, a professor in development science at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, told TODAY Parents.
The latest study isn’t too surprising, as longer naps could make it difficult for kids to fall asleep later and stick to a more regular bedtime routine. And it makes a case for decreasing naps as kids age, especially as toddlers transition from two naps to one.
However, not all scientists are persuaded by the study for a few reasons, reports Live Science. The age range focused in the 26 studies offer too many variables, sleep pattern data supplied by parents may be inaccurate, and there are no other studies that confirm significant differences between day and nightime sleep for kids. Also, kids who nap during the day may have chronic sleep issues that require them to catch up on sleep.
Instead, most experts agree that getting your child on a consistent sleep schedule is more important than worrying about whether your child is napping too much or too often.
Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.
Photo of sleeping toddler boy via Shutterstock
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New Research, Parenting News, Parents News Now
Monday, January 12th, 2015
There is no denying that sleep is one of the most essential parts of anyone’s day, and a majority of parents have difficulty ensuring their child gets enough good sleep. But what if you could tell when and why your child is awake? And keep tabs from the comforts of your own bed?
Sleep Number has fulfilled your wish, unveiling its newest solution for children’s (and parents’) sleeping woes at the CES 2015 Trade Show: the SleepIQ Kids Bed. The smart bed monitors children’s sleep cycles and pinpoints which factors are negatively impacting them, whether it’s diet, stress, or extracurricular activities. “Almost 80 percent [of parents] say sleep impacts their child’s performance in school, and 68 percent say it affects their child’s extracurricular activities,” states the SleepIQ press release.
Here’s how the bed works: it has small hidden sensors that “uses digital-signal capture within the mattress and processing techniques to pick up on motion and pressure,” reports Mashable.com. The sensors are a no-fuss solution that eliminates wristbands and other wearable devices to monitor children’s breathing and heart rates while they’re sleeping. The bed then generates a SleepIQ Sleep Number score every morning that can be anywhere from 1 to 100—of course, the higher the score, the better your child is sleeping. Parents are also able to input details about their child’s day to establish which nights their little one is getting the best sleep. Monthly sleep progress reports are also available to assess sleeping patterns.
The SleepIQ bed even comes with an app that makes it possible for parents to remotely switch off the lights in their kid’s room once it’s bedtime. If the child gets out of bed, lights beneath the bed will begin to glow, and parents will receive an alert that he is on the move. The app even has a monster detector — parents can use it to sweep their smartphone or tablet along the bottom of the bed to make sure no monsters have crawled under.
If you’re at your wits end with bedtime battles, the SleepIQ Kids bed may be the remedy you need. But this particular sleep solution doesn’t come cheap: it starts at $1,000 (twin, full, and queen sizes are available) and won’t be sold until later this year.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Child sleeping on a SleepIQ Kids Bed courtesy of Sleep Number
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Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
Once upon a time, you probably worried that putting a TV in your child’s room might distract him from going to sleep. These days, smartphones — with its portable, easy access — are the new sleep distractions, reports HealthDay.
A new study, which will be published in the February issue of Pediatrics, focused on data about the sleep patterns and smartphone use of more than 2,000 kids in elementary and middle school, specifically the fourth and seventh grades. The results revealed that kids who had smartphones and tablets in the bedroom slept less at night and fell asleep more often during the day.
“We found that both sleeping near a small screen and sleeping in a room with a TV set were related to shorter weekday sleep duration. Children who slept near a small screen, compared to those who did not, were also more likely to feel like they did not get enough sleep,” says Jennifer Falbe, the study’s lead author.
Researchers discovered that kids with electronic devices (but not necessarily TVs) in the bedroom have worse sleep patterns than kids with only TVs in their rooms. Kids with smartphones and tablets went to sleep 37 minutes later than their usual bedtime and slept 21 minutes less per day, versus kids with only TVs in their bedroom went to bed 31 minutes later and slept 18 minutes less per day.
On average, kids should get around 10 hours of sleep at night and a routine, uninterrupted bedtime schedule can ensure good eating habits, healthy brain developments, and positive academic achievements. In an increasingly technical world full of electronic devices, it would be difficult to ban gadgets from the home.
Instead, try following the American Academy of Pediatrics’s media guidelines by having “screen-free” zones at home where no electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, computers, or TVs) are allowed in the bedrooms. And parents should keep establishing rules to curtail the use of electronics to a few hours a day and prevent their presence at the dinner table.
Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea
Image: Sleeping boy holding a tablet via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
As teenagers across the country head back to school, many are starting what will be yet another year of little sleep. But consider this: A consistent lack of shuteye can be much more serious than feeling fatigued in biology.
Studies show sleep deprivation puts teens at risk for things like car accidents and can lead to poor academic performance and ill health. Citing this topic as an “important public health issue,” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a recommendation that middle schools and high schools start classes at or after 8:30 a.m. to allow students the chance to get more sleep regularly.
“Chronic sleep loss in children and adolescents is one of the most common – and easily fixable – public health issues in the U.S. today,” said pediatrician Judith Owens, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement, in an AAP press release.
The AAP states that the optimal amount of sleep time for teens is between 8 1/2 and 9 1/2 hours per night. But as students get older and responsibilities pile up, a mix of homework, extracurricular activities, and after-school jobs leads to even later nights, which can make it very difficult to meet the sleep goal.
The possibility of making this policy change in schools across the nation is also tough. School districts struggle with financial and logistical challenges that include providing school busing services for elementary, middle, and high schools. It can be difficult for enough buses to shuttle kids to all of the schools in one time frame, which can also strain school district budgets. Ultimately, “the issue is really cost,” Kristen Amundson, executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education, told the AP.
Does your child’s lack of sleep affect her performance at school? Take a look at these tips to boost her school success.
Photo of girl sleeping courtesy of Shutterstock.
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American Academy of Pediatrics, high school, homework, middle school, new research, research, school, sleep, teen drivers, teenagers, teens | Categories:
New Research, Parents News Now
Friday, June 13th, 2014
Fewer American teenagers are having sex or smoking cigarettes, according to new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but public messaging efforts on the dangers of texting while driving and healthy eating remain largely ineffective in curbing dangerous behaviors. More from NBC News:
The latest federal look at teenage behavior is reassuring and suggests that some safety messages are getting through to American youth.
On the downside, kids are fatter than ever before and just a third are eating anywhere near as many fruits and vegetables as they need to stay healthy. And less than a third are getting enough sleep.
And a very troubling new statistic shows that more than 40 percent of teenagers who drive cars admit to having texted or emailed while driving recently.
But on the whole, it’s a snapshot of progress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which organizes the every-other-year survey, was especially pleased about the drop in smoking.
“I think it’s really encouraging that we’re seeing the lowest cigarette smoking rate ever,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden told NBC News.
“We’ve actually reached the goal that the nation set for ourselves for 2020 early. So that’s one of the most positive trends that we see here — down to 15.7 percent — less than one out of six kids in our high schools is smoking. That’s great news.”
Image: Texting while driving, via Shutterstock
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Child Health, New Research, Parenting News, Trends