Friday, August 24, 2012

What's Eating Your Child Book Review 4 and Sleep Deprivation

     Sleep, how much do we really need and how do we get enough?  Sleep deprivation can create constipation, impair our memories, increase our risk for tumours, increase our risk for depression and weaken our immune systems.

     I just finished reading a great chapter about how adding a melatonin supplement helped a child who had been suffering from poor sleeping habits for years get into a normal sleep pattern.  Melatonin is the sleep hormone.  According to Kelly Doorfman, melatonin is a natural occurring hormone our bodies produce.  This hormone increases and decreases in a 24 hour period regulating our sleep and awake time. Melatonin can also be taken as a supplement with direction from your doctor.  Increasing your melatonin levels will help you fall asleep sooner and stay a sleep.  Since it is a natural hormone it is not generally seen as habit forming.

How should we be sleeping?
Our bodies regenerate their internal clocks (primarily adrenal system) within the hours of 10-12pm.  To improve our health we need to get 7-8 hours starting around 10 or 11 o'clock. Children require 11-14 hours of sleep.
Here are a few strategies to a better night sleep:
  1. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time.
  2. Keep your feet warm with a bottle or socks as it promotes proper body circulation.
  3. Avoid food or drinks a few hours before bed in particular sugar and grains as they will raise your blood sugar.
  4. Sleep in darkness which increases melatonin production.
  5. Turn lights down close to bedtime.
  6. Get as much exposure as you can to light during the day as this slows down the melatonin to store it for the night.
  7. Check your bedroom for Electro Magnetic Fields (as they can affect the production of melatonin.)
  8. Keep electrical devices away from your bed.
  9. Have your doctor check your adrenal glands.
  10. Take melatonin.
Increased melatonin can also:
-ward of cancers
-reduce risk of seizures
-reduce risk for Alzheimer's disease
-slow down brain age

With all this reading I now realize I need to go to bed.  Good night!

This is my oldest daughter on the day of her birth.

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