Saturday, August 15, 2009

Health Tips for August 15

Health Tip: Back to School, Back to Sleep

The end of summer signals back to school. And preparing for the school-year routine means getting into a back-to-school sleep schedule.

Children aged 6 to 9 require about 10 hours of sleep each night, and older children need at least nine hours, the Federal Citizen Information Center says. It offers these suggestions for making sure children get enough sleep:

  • Create a regular bedtime schedule, and make sure your child sticks to it.
  • Make sure your child avoids large amounts of food just before it's time to sleep.
  • Don't let your child have anything with caffeine at least six hours before bedtime.
  • After dinner, allow for play and relaxation time to begin winding down.
  • Create a bedtime routine that's relaxing and calming for your child.

Health Tip: Nightmares Keeping You Up?

While nightmares mostly affect children, even adults have an occasional bad dream.

Why do nightmares happen? The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers this list of possible causes:

  • Being stressed or anxious, often resulting from a significant life event.
  • Withdrawing too quickly from alcohol use, or drinking too much alcohol.
  • Having a sleep disorder, such as narcolepsy.
  • Being sick with a fever.
  • Having a side effect or reaction to a drug.
  • Eating too close to bedtime, which raises your metabolism and increases brain activity.

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