Sweet Tech-Free Dreams

Some friends of mine recently decided that they had to confiscate their teenaged daughter’s phone when she turned in for bed. Like many teens today, their daughter was staying up into the wee hours of the morning texting and messaging. They struggled to wake her up in time for school and everyone paid the price when she finally did!

Anyone who’s ever been shortchanged at night knows that insufficient sleep can make it difficult to think clearly and can really crank up the crankiness. But lack of sleep has also been linked to unhealthy weight and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease.

Sleep for teenagers and children is particularly important for healthy development. Although as individuals we have slightly different needs, here’s what is recommended:

  • Infants: 16–18 hours a day
  • Preschool-aged children: 11–12 hours a day
  • School-aged children: at least 10 hours a day
  • Teenagers: 9-10 hours a day
  • Adults: 7-9 hours a day

The pervasiveness of technological devices and our attachment to them, can interfere with getting enough of that sweet uninterrupted sleep that we all need to recharge.   If beeps and tweets are keeping you up at night then it’s time to exercise some good sleep hygiene – start with turning off the volume on your phone at night and even better is to take it out of your room completely.

Other healthy sleep tips include:

  • Limit screen time (TV, tablets, computers and phones) up to an hour before bedtime
  • Avoid using stimulants (caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sugary snacks) about 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid heavy or spicy foods before bed – if you’re hungry at night, make a light snack that will go easy on your digestive system.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine – regularly taking a bath or shower, meditating or reading a good old-fashioned paperback before bed can get your body relaxed and ready for sleep.

Need an easy new year’s resolution to improve your health – just settle down for a good winter’s nap and dream sweet, healthy dreams.

Rita Koutsodimos
Manager, Advocacy and Communications
January 2016

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