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Here’s how to chase away your child’s scary dreams

The Miami Herald – Rachel Spector

“Scary dreams are, well, scary, both for the adults who worry about what’s frightening their children and for the youngsters who think their nightmares are real. Bad dreams seem to peak during the preschool years, when fear of the dark is common. They’re also prevalent in children ages 6 to 10. That’s when kids tend to incorporate real-life fears – such as being kidnapped or shot – into their dreams. One study by Dutch researchers, in fact, found that 96 percent of 7- to 9-year-olds reported having nightmares, as compared with 68 percent of 4- to 6-year-olds and 76 percent of 10- to 12-year-olds.” (more)

Napping and teenage learning

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Teenagers and sleep. It’s certainly a passionate subject for many American parents, and those in China. University of Delaware’s Xiaopeng Ji is investigating the relationship between midday-napping behaviors and neurocognitive function in early adolescents. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, the School of Nursing assistant professor and principal investigator Jianghong Liu (University of Pennsylvania) turned to the Chinese classroom. With participants from schools in Jintan, she measured midday napping, nighttime sleep duration and sleep quality, and performance on multiple neurocognitive tasks.” (more)

Study finds bad sleep habits start early in school-age children

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Bad sleep habits in children begin earlier than many experts assume. That’s the takeaway from a new study led by McGill University researchers. The findings suggest that official sleep guidelines for young school children should be revisited – and that parents ought to maintain firm bedtime rules throughout children’s primary-school years. The researchers studied the sleep patterns of children aged six to 11 years old, and found that those aged 8-11 increasingly showed the unhealthy patterns usually associated with adolescence: delayed bedtimes, inconsistent schedules, and sleep deprivation. Such patterns have been shown to impair children’s physical and mental health, as well as academic performance.” (more)

Sleepy U.S. teens are running on empty

UPI – Steven Reinberg

“Nearly 58 percent of middle school students in nine states and almost 73 percent of high school students across the country don’t get the recommended amount of nightly shuteye, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Children and adolescents who don’t get enough sleep are at increased risk for obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, and attention and behavior problems, which can affect them academically,” said report author Anne Wheaton, a CDC epidemiologist.” (more)

Regular bedtimes stop children getting ‘jet lag’

Medical X-Press – Yvonne Kelly

“What happens in the early years of a person’s life has a profound effect on how they fare later on. Thousands of research papers – many of them using the rich data in the British Birth Cohort studies – have shown that children who get a poor start in life are much more likely to experience difficulties as adults; whether that’s to do with poor health, or their ability to enjoy work and family life. Ensuring that children get enough sleep is one of a number of ways to get them off to the best possible start in life. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that toddlers should get roughly 11 to 14 hours of sleep every day. For children aged three to five years, the recommendation is ten to 13 hours, or nine to 11 hours for children once they’re at primary school.”(more)

The Importance of Sleep and Strategies For Sleeping Better

KQED News Mind/Shift – Terry Gross

“The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but sleep scientist Matthew Walker says that too many people are falling short of the mark. “Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain,” Walker says. “Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it.” Walker is the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He points out that lack of sleep — defined as six hours or fewer — can have serious consequences. Sleep deficiency is associated with problems in concentration, memory and the immune system, and may even shorten life span.”(more)