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Teenagers Across The US Are Losing Out On Quality Of Life Because Of A Lack Of Sleep, New Study Shows


Article from Medical News Today

Main Category: Sleep/Sleep Disorders News

Article Date: 31 Mar 2006 - 11:00am (UK)

A new poll of teenagers across the US finds that many of them are losing out on quality of life because of a lack of sleep. The results, announced today by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), cite sleeping in class, lack of energy to exercise, feelings of depression, and driving while drowsy as only some of the consequences for insufficient sleep.

The poll data support previous work by three Rhode Island researchers who are at the forefront of sleep research. Previous studies from Brown Medical School, and Lifespan affiliates Bradley Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital, have found that adolescents are not getting enough sleep, and suggest that this can lead to a number of physical and emotional impairments.

Mary A. Carskadon, PhD, with Bradley Hospital and Brown Medical School, chaired the National Sleep Foundation poll taskforce and has been a leading authority on teen sleep for more than a decade. Her research on adolescent circadian rhythms indicates that the internal clocks of adolescents undergo maturational changes making them different from those of children or adults. Nevertheless, teens must adhere to increasingly earlier school start times that make it nearly impossible for them to get enough sleep.

"Our results show that the adage 'early to bed, early to rise' presents a real challenge for adolescents," says Carskadon, who directs the Bradley Hospital Sleep and Chronobiology Sleep Laboratory and is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School.

Carskadon's work has been instrumental in influencing school start times across the country. Regionally, the North Kingstown School Department in Rhode Island, North Reading Public Schools in Massachusetts, and West Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut are considering school start time changes due, in part, to research on teens and sleep.

In a study published in the November 2005 issue of the journal Sleep, Carskadon found that the "sleep pressure" rate - the biological trigger that causes sleepiness - slows down in adolescence and is one more explanation for why teens can't fall asleep until later at night. Carskadon's newest finding indicates that, in addition to the changes in their internal clocks, adolescents experience slower sleep pressure, which may contribute to an overall shift in teen sleep cycles to later hours.

Judy Owens, MD, a national authority on children and sleep, is the director of the pediatric sleep disorders center at Hasbro Children's Hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics at Brown Medical School. Her latest book, "Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep: The All-in-One Resource for Solving Sleep Problems in Children and Teens," is especially important in light of the fact that 90% of the parents polled believed that their adolescents were getting enough sleep during the week.

"This poll sends a clear message to parents: Teens are tired," says Owens. "Parents can help get a handle on the problem by eliminating sleep stealers such as caffeinated drinks in the fridge or a TV or computer in the teen's bedroom as well as enforcing reasonable bed times."

Last June, a major report in the journal Pediatrics merged a review of more than two decades of basic research with clinical advice for physicians. Rhode Island authors included Carskadon, Owens, and lead author, Richard Millman, MD, professor of medicine at Brown Medical School and director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Lifespan Hospitals, a Rhode Island sleep research and treatment center that is one of the largest in the country.

The report indicated that adolescents aged 13 to 22 need nine to 10 hours of sleep each night. It also discussed the hormonal changes that conspire against them. When puberty hits, the body's production of sleep-inducing melatonin is delayed, making an early bedtime biologically impossible for most teens. At the same time, the report notes, external forces such as after-school sports and jobs and early school start times put the squeeze on a full night's sleep.

The result: A "profound negative effect" on mood, school performance and cognitive function. Studies also show that young people between 16 and 29 years of age were the most likely to be involved in crashes caused by the driver falling asleep.

"Some of our kids are literally sleep-walking through life, with some potentially serious consequences," Millman said. "As clinicians and researchers, we know more now than ever about the biological and behavioral issues that prevent kids from getting enough sleep. But the National Sleep Foundation did something powerful: They asked teens themselves about their sleep. The results are startling and should be a wake-up call to any parent or pediatrician."



Media contacts:
Carol L. Vieira (BH) 401-432-1328, cvieira1@lifespan.org;
Nancy Cawley (HCH) 401-444-4039, ncawley@lifespan.org;
Wendy Lawton (BMS), 401-863-1862, Wendy_Lawton@brown.edu


The Less A Child Sleeps, The More Overweight He Or She Is Likely To Become

Article from Medical News Today UK

Article Date: April 1, 2006

Main Catagory: Sleep/Sleep Disorders News


The less a child sleeps, the more likely he or she is to become overweight, researchers from Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine report in an article published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Obesity. The risk of becoming overweight is 3.5 times higher in children who get less sleep than in those who sleep a lot, according to researchers Jean-Philippe Chaput, Marc Brunet, and Angelo Tremblay.

These results come from data collected among 422 grade school students aged 5 to 10. The scientists measured the weight, height, and waist size of each participant. Information on the children's lifestyle and socioeconomic status was obtained through phone interviews with their parents.

Through body mass index measurement, the researchers determined that 20% of the boys and 24% of the girls were overweight. Children who slept less than 10 hours a night were 3.5 times more at risk of being overweight than those who slept 12 or more hours. No other factor analyzed in the study-parental obesity, parents' level of education, family income, time spent in front of the TV or computer, regular physical activity- had as much of an impact on obesity than time spent sleeping.

Hormone production is currently the researchers' prime hypothesis to explain the relationship between sleep and obesity. “Lack of sleep lowers the level of leptin, a hormone that stimulates metabolism and decreases hunger. In addition, short nights of sleep boost the concentration of ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger,” explains Professor Angelo Tremblay.

The progression of obesity and the decrease in the number of hours devoted to sleep, two phenomena that have become increasingly important social issues over the last few decades, could thus be more closely related than it would appear at first glance. Between 1960 and 2000, the prevalence of obesity doubled in the population while the average night of sleep lost one to two hours. During the same period, the percentage of young adults who slept less than seven hours went from 16% to 37%.

“It's ironic that part of the solution to obesity might lie in sleep, the most sedentary of all human activities. In light of this study's results, my best prescription against obesity in children would be to encourage them to move more and to make sure they get enough sleep,” concludes Tremblay.

Located in Quebec's historic capital city, Université Laval is the first French-speaking university on the continent. It is one of Canada's leading research universities, ranking 6th among the country's 93 university-level institutions in terms of research funding, with more than $250 million devoted to research last year. Université Laval's 1,500 professors share their knowledge with more than 38,000 students, 25% of which are enrolled in graduate-level programs.

http://www.ulaval.ca

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