I heard a 23-year-old woman complain: “I must be getting old when 11:00 at night is late.” It got me thinking.
It turns out that the explanation for why teens are natural night owls has recently been elucidated. They can’t help it — they just don’t get tired until way later in the evening. Then, of course, their bodies want to stay asleep well into the next morning in order to feel sufficiently rested. Since most of them are stuck with the artificial structure of school hours, they’re screwed — and condemned to suffer constant fatigue from cumulative sleep deprivation. Old news.
Then I started wondering about the back end of this phenomenon. Even though our American “youth culture” attributes great coolness to late-night happenings, since this pubertal sleep shift is biological, there must come a point at which their pineal glands go back to releasing melatonin at a more reasonable hour. Does 10 years sound about right? I remember not being nearly as enamored of the “all-nighter” by the time medical school rolled around, as opposed to college, where staying up all night was a regular occurrence. Certainly by residency (ages 26 to 30), it was a killer. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Dinosaur*
I’ve watched the pendulum swing back and forth on the wisdom of mom sharing her bed with a baby. The American Pediatric Society has come out against the practice, because of a higher incidence of sudden infant death. But nearly half of all British moms sleep with their baby at times, and one-fifth share a bed regularly during the first year.
According to a British study published in [the October 2010 issue of] Pediatrics, the value of breastfeeding should be considered before advising mothers not to share beds with their infants. The results showed that mothers who shared a bed with their newborns were better educated and of a higher socioeconomic status, and that those whose children routinely slept in their beds during the first 15 months of life reported a significantly greater incidence of breastfeeding.
“Both cross-sectional epidemiological and sleep laboratory studies showed close links between the frequency and duration of breastfeeding and the practice of bed sharing,” writes Peter Blair, PhD, Community-Based Medicine and Social Medicine, University of Bristol, United Kingdom, the author of the study. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
Our busy lifestyles often aren’t conducive to getting the recommended amount of sleep at night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.
Dr. Kenneth Berg of the Mayo Clinic states that people who get less than seven hours of sleep per night have a higher mortality than those who have adequate sleeping habits.
Inadequate sleep has been linked to increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, an increase in body mass index and a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation, increased risk of diabetes and heart problems, increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse, and decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at eDocAmerica*