Posts

Kids, Sleep and COVID-19

Kids, Sleep and COVID-19
Boost your child’s immune system during COVID-19 Pandemic with quality sleep

Research shows that quality sleep is essential when it comes to health for both children and adults. Ensuring that your child gets an adequate amount of quality sleep can help boost their immune system and keep families healthy. This is a high priority during COVID-19, but also vital for health year-round.

Many kids today are struggling because of schooling issues, not being able to see their friends or play sports. They are not expending the same levels of energy as before COVID-19. Everyone’s routine has changed. Children may feel our stress or be anxious from listening to the news. All this can lead to poor sleep resulting in more meltdowns and unwanted behaviors.

A child’s poor sleep can be due to many issues like:

  • Lack of stimulation (physically and mentally)
  • Increased screen time with TV, computers, video games
  • Increased feelings of stress and anxiety

If your child is consistently not getting enough sleep,
they are three times more likely to get sick.

Sleep helps your body (adults and kids) produce immune-boosting cells to protect us.

That’s why, when we get sick, we also get tired. Your body is telling you that you need sleep to heal.
While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, skimping on it could adversely affect your child’s immune system, leaving them more susceptible.

The National Sleep Foundation has these recommendations for children:

Under 1 year of age: 12 to 16 hours a day
1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours a day
3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours a day
6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours a day
13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours a day

5 TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD’S SLEEP

  1. Make a schedule for sleep and daily activities (for both you and your children) – and do your best to keep consistent.
  2. Stop screen time 60 minutes before bedtime- Intense, close-up light exposure in the evening will delay sleep by not allowing the body to produce melatonin, the good sleep hormone. This is especially important since our kids are using more screen time during the day.
  3. Get sunlight- Try and get outside. Open up your blinds, take a walk, or play outside. The sun controls our internal 24-hour clock that tells our body when to be awake and when to be asleep. If your child’s body doesn’t get enough sunlight, it will mix up their days and nights.
  4. Your child needs physical activity – Kids days have likely gone from active to sedentary. The harder they play, the more their body will need to recover, and the better they’ll sleep.
  5. Create a calming routine – This routine should be at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Things like a warm bath, a good book, (no screen time), do a puzzle or something quiet. The best sleep results come from a routine that’s calm and technology-free.

Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than just getting ample sleep. It’s also important to practice stay-healthy strategies too.

Steps to Keep Children and Others Healthy

  1. Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing).
  3. Put distance between your children and other people outside of your home. Keep children at least 6 feet from other people.Consider postponing visits or trips to see older family members and grandparents. Connect virtually or by writing letters.
  4. Children 2 years and older should wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in public settings where it’s difficult to practice social distancing. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) the other everyday preventive actions listed above.
  5. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (like tables, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, desks, toilets, and sinks).
  6. Launder items including washable plush toys, as needed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
    Make sure your children are up to date on well-child visits and immunizations.

Following guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus can be particularly difficult for children. Stay patient. Be a good role model and your child will be more likely to follow your lead. And remember, you children will be able to bounce back faster if they get sick if their body is well rested.

If your child continues to have sleep issues, or if you are concerned that your child may have a sleep disorder, the pediatric sleep medicine physicians at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center are here to help. Give us a call today. We are offering in-office as well as virtual office visits.

10 Tips to Better Sleep

10 Tips to Better Sleep

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Better Sleep helps to strengthen your immune system. But sleep can be elusive, especially during COVID-19 (Coronasomnia).

Here are 10 tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. This is also important for kids during the pandemic upheaval.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoonPower napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
  4. Exercise dailyVigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
  5. Evaluate your roomDesign your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 66 and 69 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and  Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.
  7. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the eveningAlcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
  8. Wind downYour body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.
  9. If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tiredIt is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.
  10. If you’re still having trouble sleeping you may benefit from recording your sleep in a Sleep Diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to call one of our sleep medicine specialists here at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center. It could be a more serious sleep disorder like sleep apnea or chronic insomnia.

 

 

 

 

INSOMNIA -Why Can’t I Sleep?

INSOMNIA-Why can’t I sleep?

Insomnia is a problem for many during normal times, but factor in a pandemic and global unrest and it has become much more widespread. Insomnia is a sleep disorder where a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep and/or they wake up too early in the morning. Insomnia can drain your energy level and mood, but also negatively impact your health, work performance and quality of life. How much sleep you need varies from person to person, but most adults need seven to eight hours a night.

Insomnia is characterized based on its duration. Acute Insomnia typically lasts short-term while Chronic Insomnia can last a long time.

Acute Insomnia

Lasts from one night to a few weeks and can come and go. It often happens due to life’s circumstances (Coronosomnia) or when you can’t fall asleep the night before an exam or after receiving stressful or bad news. Many people experience short term insomnia and it tends to resolve without any major treatment.

Chronic Insomnia

Happens at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more. It can have many causes. Changes in the environment, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work, certain medications and medical disorders can lead to a long-term pattern of sleep deprivation.

Insomnia Symptoms may Include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Ongoing worries about sleep

Common Causes of Insomnia Include:

  • Stress-Concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma also may lead to insomnia.
  • Travel or work schedule-Your circadian rhythms act as an internal clock, guiding such things as your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature. Disrupting your body’s circadian rhythms can lead to insomnia. Causes include jet lag, working a late or early shift, or frequently changing shifts.
  • Poor sleep habits-Poor sleep habits include an irregular bedtime schedule, naps, stimulating activities before bed, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using your bed for work, eating or watching TV. Computers, TVs, video games, smartphones or other screens just before bed can interfere with your sleep cycle.
  • Eating too much late in the evening-Having a light snack before bedtime is OK, but eating too much may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable. Many people also experience heartburn which may keep you awake.
  • Mental health issuesAnxiety disorders may disrupt your sleep. Insomnia often occurs with other mental health disorders as well.
  • Medications-Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, such as certain antidepressants and medications for asthma or blood pressure. Many over-the-counter medications such as some allergy and cold medications, and weight-loss products can contain caffeine and other stimulants that can disrupt sleep.
  • Medical conditions- Examples of conditions linked with insomnia include chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Sleep-related disordersSleep apnea causes you to stop breathing periodically throughout the night, interrupting your sleep. Restless legs syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in your legs and an almost irresistible desire to move them, which may prevent you from falling asleep.
  • Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol- Coffee, tea, cola and other caffeinated drinks are stimulants. Drinking them in the late afternoon or evening can keep you from falling asleep at night. Nicotine in tobacco products is another stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes awakening in the middle of the night.
  • Changes in sleep patterns- With age, your internal clock often advances, so you get tired earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. But older people generally still need the same amount of sleep as younger people do.
  • Changes in health- Chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis or back problems, can interfere with sleep. Issues that increase the need to urinate during the night, such as prostate or bladder problems, can disrupt sleep. Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome become more common with age.

 If you are experiencing insomnia symptoms you should speak to your doctor or call Comprehensive Sleep Care Center at 703-214-0318 to see one of our sleep medicine specialists. We are now offering TeleMedicine visits to new and returning patients. Comprehensive Sleep Care Center offers expert diagnosis, treatment, and care for sleep disorders with the goal of providing a better night’s sleep and a better day ahead.