Shifting to daylight saving time
Five tips from the Better Sleep Council for springing forward
On Sunday, March 8, most Americans will move an hour from the morning to the evening, adding an extra 60 minutes of sunlight to the end of the day—and wreaking havoc on their sleep habits. To help ease the transition, the Better Sleep Council, the consumer-education arm of the International Sleep Products Association, offers these tips:
1. Create a bedtime ritual that is relaxing—read a book, listen to soothing music or soak in a hot bath or shower.
2. End the day’s “screen time” with your smartphone, tablet, television, etc., an hour before sleep.
3. Exercise during the day. Even moderate exercise will help you sleep more restfully.
4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.
5. Commit to a regular sleep schedule of seven to eight hours a night—regardless of what time the clock says.
INFANTS SLEEPING WITH HAZARDOUS BEDDING
Despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation for babies to sleep in a crib with no loose bedding or soft objects, about half of infants are put to bed with hazardous bedding, according to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics. Bedding and soft objects are discouraged because they pose a suffocation risk and are a risk factor in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Researchers found that from 1993 to 2010, bedding use declined but was found to be most common for infants with teen mothers (83.5%).
The study authors also found that bedding use was highest among infants who were sleeping in adult beds, placed to sleep on their sides or shared a sleep surface. They concluded that while the numbers have improved significantly, infants still are being put to bed in an unsafe sleeping environment; about half still sleep with blankets, quilts, pillows and other hazardous items.
According to the AAP, parents should know and understand the risk factors associated with this practice to help reduce the number of sleep-related deaths.
Sleep problems common among firefighters
A recent study found that many firefighters may have undiagnosed sleep disorders. The study, conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, examined nearly 7,000 firefighters from across the United States. Of those, 37% suffered from a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, shift-work disorder and restless leg syndrome, according to HealthDay News. These same firefighters also were more likely to have chronic health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety.
Poor sleep may be linked to Alzheimer’s
Amyloid deposits, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, appear to be more present in people who have trouble sleeping, reports Medical Daily. In a recent study by the University of Wisconsin at Madison, researchers analyzed the sleep quality and amyloid levels in 98 healthy patients ages 50 to 73. Those who had trouble sleeping were more likely to have amyloid deposits, specifically in the cerebral cortex, which is related to memory, attention, awareness and thought.
Kids with bedroom smartphones sleep less
Electronic devices impact the amount of rest kids get each night, according to a study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley. Fourth graders and seventh graders who slept near a small screen—such as phone and other portable device—averaged 20.6 minutes less sleep than those who did not have one in their bedroom, the study found. The study also concluded that children who slept with small screens nearby reported having poorer rest.