October 15th, 2012
12:02 AM ET
Kids who sleep more cope better
Sleepy school children make crabby classmates, while students who get plenty of sleep are better behaved, according to a new study published this week in the journal Pediatrics.
"Extending sleep opens the door to an effective, feasible way to improve children's health and performance," says study author Reut Gruber, director of the Attention Behavior and Sleep Lab at the Douglas Research Center in Quebec, Canada.
Gruber and his colleagues wanted to find out if the behavior of elementary school children was affected by how much sleep they got. The researchers, with the permission of parents, enrolled 34 students ages 7 to 11 in the study. These were healthy kids who didn't have sleep problems or behavior or academic issues.
Teachers - who didn't know the sleep status of the students - reported significant differences in how the children behaved and coped with everyday challenges. Students who were sleep-deprived not only seemed overly tired, but were more impulsive and irritable than their well-rested classmates. They were quick to cry, lose their tempers or get frustrated.
The children who got plenty of sleep had a better handle on their emotions and were more alert in class.
Sleep experts say these results make sense and provide more evidence about the importance of sleep.
"We know that sleep deprivation can affect memory, creativity, verbal creativity and even things like judgment and motivation and being (engaged) in the classroom," explains Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington. "When you're sleepy, (being engaged) isn't going to happen."
And when children have trouble coping with day-to-day situations, Owens adds, this can affect a child's relationship with teachers, as well as their success in school, social skills and the ability to get along with peers.
Tips for parents
So how do you know if your child is getting enough sleep? Children in elementary school generally need between 10 to 11 hours each evening, but no two children are alike. Parents should look for clues, experts say.
"Kids in this age range should not be sleepy during the day," Owens says. "If the are falling asleep in the car or watching TV, that's a red flag."
Another way to gauge your child's sleep need is to pay attention to how much they sleep during school vacations, when they're sleeping without a time schedule. If they consistently sleep longer than on school nights, your child probably isn't getting enough sleep.
Parents can take steps to get their children off to bed at a reasonable hour.
- About a half hour before bedtime, have your kids start winding down - put down the electronic devices, turn off the TV and shut down the computer
"Consider that (sleep) is one of the building blocks of your child's health, well-being and academic success," Owens says. "It's equivalent to good nutrition, exercise and all the other things we try to foster and provide for our children. You've got to put sleep right up there at the top of the list."
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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How concept has changed romance
Story highlightsTechnology isn't killing off courtship as much as it's redefining what it looks likeA new generation is adopting digital models for romantic communicationStudent: "A lot of our relationships has been e mailing and texting and Facebook messaging"Video make: Mystery caused by romance is "Not as strong as it was once"
When talking of romance, Texting is often adam4adam gay dating seen as a bare minimum form of heart to heart talks. It's fine for firming up friday night dinner plans, But for expressing heartfelt comments? not really.
That was made pretty clear last week when reality tv star Kristin Cavallari had to defend her fianc, Chicago Bears qb Jay Cutler, From those who poked fun at her story of their second wedding.
"I was in edinburgh airport, keeping Chicago, Cavallari, 26, tells E! News in a potential reality special about her nuptials. "We had just spent however many days together and we were texting and somehow it came up, appreciate, 'Oh, shall we get married?' you are like, 'Yeah, alright.or,–"
The couple were first engaged in 2011 but split up briefly before reconciling that same year. of course, Cutler faced judgments over what many saw as a too casual digital proposal. Cavallari later pleaded on Twitter for individuals to "Stop bashing Jay" as they had proposed earlier in Mexico "And it was very charming,
In digital age, engineering isn't killing courtship. But for many young families, It's redefining what romance looks like.
more recently we often text instead of speak, Use FaceTime instead of having face to face discussions and zip through online dating profiles with speed it takes to order a pizza. hassle-free and budget-friendly, definite, but yet "The notebook computer" it is not.
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