Category Archives: Sleep News (RSS)

Melatonin and Your Child's Sleep0

Trouble falling and staying asleep affects 15% to 25% of children and adolescents. Not getting enough sleep often leads to some pretty difficult behaviors and health problems—crankiness, trouble paying attention, high blood pressure, weight problems and obesity, headaches, and depression. It’s no wonder why many parents are searching for a solution. 

How To Wake Up Without An Alarm To Get Rid of Social Jet Lag0

Humans need approximately eight hours of sleep but according to Myriam Juda, an adjunct professor in the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Laboratory at Simon Fraser University, most of us are not getting that amount, especially during workdays.

“Most of us are waking up with an alarm clock so we are interrupting natural sleep cycles,” she says.  An overall move towards more flexible schedules, like the ones many people are experiencing working from home during this pandemic, could help improve social jet lag, and as a result improve health and well-being. 

For certain groups of people like shift workers and those with circadian rhythm disorders, using light to train their circadian clocks onto a better schedule may be unrealistic, but for the rest of us Juda has some recommendations.

Try and get two hours of outdoor light exposure every day, even if it’s cloudy. Outdoor light is hundreds of times more intense than light in a bright indoor space.

Morning light is better. Juda recommends getting outside within one or two hours of your natural wake up time and says that when it comes to regulating your circadian clock, 10 minutes of morning light is like the equivalent of four, five, or six hours of afternoon light.

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Creating a Sleep-Healthy Family0

Helping kids get enough sleep involves creating soothing and consistent bedtime routines.

Below are some tips that can help your child (and you) ease into a good night’s rest and solve any sleep problems your child might be experiencing.

How Sleep Quality Impacts Your Lung Health0

Sleep is considered a basic human biological function, which is crucial to your overall health, including the proper functioning of the respiratory system. The primary respiratory organ is the lungs. Since it alters gas exchange and ventilation, our breathing pattern is believed to be affected by sleep disorders.

COVID-19-Related Brain Injury?: EEG Study Shows Evidence of Frontal Brain Abnormalities0

BioSerenity, a company specializing in remote diagnostic solutions for neurology, sleep medicine, and cardiology announces an article published in Annals of Neurology describing unusual electroencephalogram (EEG) findings in seriously ill patients with SARS-CoV-2.

BioSerenity offers EEG services using remotely connected equipment enabling testing outside of traditional departments. Hospitals in France requested BioSerenity to perform EEGs in intensive care units (ICUs) during the initial surge of COVID-19 patients. The data was reviewed remotely by BioSerenity’s specialists and shared with the hospitals’ medical staff. Via these collaborations, the researchers discovered EEG anomalies likely associated with COVID-19.

Patients presented with altered mental status, had delayed awakening, or poor arousal after being taken off sedation. EEGs were performed while in the ICU at several hospitals in Paris, France. The EEGs showed evidence of frontal brain abnormalities possibility due to COVID-19 related brain injury. When hospitalized patients with COVID-19 present with unexplained mental status change or poor arousability, it is suggested that an EEG be performed as part of the diagnostic assessment to determine the etiology and to identify potentially treatable central nervous system disorders.

Bruce Lavin, MD, MPH, BioSerenity chief medical officer, says in a release, “This report highlights the importance of obtaining EEGs in patients with COVID-19 who present with cognitive impairment to identify possible brain injury, directly or indirectly due to the virus.”

Samir Medjebar, PhD, GM BioSerenity France, says in a release, “BioSerenity has demonstrated that our scale and scope of services allow us to provide 24/7 hospital assistance during a crisis and the ability to detect new EEG findings.”

Louis Maillard, MD, PhD, professor at Lorraine University, France, says in a release, “This study gives a possible explanation for the comas, delayed awakening, and arousal observed in some of the most severe cases of COVID-19 infections. It shows the importance of EEG, an old but still relevant exam, that can be done at the patient bedside and the only exam that allows for the functional state evaluation of the brain.”

Hervé Vespignani, MD, professor and BioSerenity France medical director, says in a release, “This discovery confirms the importance of performing EEG at the patient’s bed.”

Catching Up On Sleep: How to Pay Off Your ‘Sleep Debt’ (and Why It’s a Big Deal)0

Being in debt is never a great feeling, whether it’s staring at a large credit card balance in the mail or dealing with the effects of a mounting sleep debt.

But what even is sleep debt, and what does it mean?

It’s a simple concept. Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you get each night and the amount you should be getting. (For adults, I typically recommend getting about 7.5 hours of sleep each night.)

Your sleep debt increases every time you trim a few minutes off your usual sleep schedule, in the same way, your credit card debt increases each time you go on a late night Amazon shopping spree. No judgment, I’ve been there, too.

And if you’re suffering from sleep debt, you’re not alone: a 2020 study found that Americans are averaging less than 6 hours of sleep each night. And even some sleep debt can be dangerous, leading to long-term health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, increased stress levels, and a weaker immune system. `

The good news is that sleep debt isn’t permanent, and while real, there are also real solutions to get out of a sleep debt cycle. I’ll tell you why sleep debt can’t be paid off on weekends, dive into deeper details about why sleep debt is dangerous, and tell you how to avoid cumulative sleep debt.

As a bonus, I’ll also offer my top tips for avoiding sleep debt in the first place.

Why You Can’t Pay Off Sleep Debt on Weekends

Using your weekend to catch up on sleep sounds good in theory, but it rarely pans out, according to a new study out of France.

The study, looking at more than 12,500 adults between the ages of 18-75, found that nearly one-quarter of participants had severe sleep debt during the week, defined as getting at least 90 minutes less sleep than they really needed each night.

Worse, most were unable to make up for their sleep debt over the weekend. Only 18.2% of participants with severe sleep debts were able to sleep enough during the weekend to make up for their poor week. In other words, for those who went into the weekend about 5 hours behind on sleep for the week, fewer than one out of five were able to get enough sleep to offset their debt. On average, participants reported getting 7 hours and 26 minutes of sleep on the weekends — a healthy amount of sleep, but not enough to pay off the debt they’d accumulated.

So why can’t people, on average, sleep in on weekends? Researchers point to a few reasons.

For one, many of us don’t have enough time. If you add up even an hour lost per night over a 5 day week, that’s five hours of sleep debt….to cover in a single weekend. Poor sleep conditions were another roadblock. This included a number of relatable factors, including noise, stress and having children at home.

The key takeaway to remember is that assuming you can pay off your sleep debt on the weekends is anything but a guarantee.

Making Up Your Sleep on the Weekend Still Comes at a Cost

Let’s say you’re able to beat the odds and pay off your sleep debt on the weekends. That’s great — but it still comes with a cost.

A study published last year in Current Biology suggests that sleeping in during the weekends doesn’t really solve the problem of sleep debt. During the week, even those who slept extra hours over the weekend experience negative drawbacks linked to sleep deprivation, including:

  • Reduced energy levels
  • Added weight due to higher calorie consumption at dinner
  • Low insulin sensitivity
    •  This can result in higher blood sugar levels, which increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes

Ultimately, letting sleep debt accumulate with the intention of making up for it over the weekend, leads to poor results. Either you fail to spend enough time in bed to negate your sleep debt, or, if you are able to get plenty of sleep on the weekends, the sleep debt you’ve accumulated has still contributed to its own set of problems.

 Why Sleep Debt is Dangerous

Letting your sleep debt pile up is the last thing you want to do. Your body needs quality, restorative sleep to function at its best.

In fact, sleep deprivation is dangerous. Even just a little sleep debt can contribute to the following health conditions:

Tips on How to Avoid a Severe Sleep Debt

Hopefully, I haven’t scared you too much; while sleep debt cumulation can be dangerous, there are still things you can do.  The following steps will help you prevent from getting into the sleep debt cycle in the first place, making for a healthier, more rested you:

Stick to a Consistent Sleep Schedule

This is easily the most important tip to follow. To avoid the need to use the weekend to catch up on sleep, you’ll need a consistent sleep schedule of  7-8 hours each night..

How to do it? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Go to bed and get up within the same half hour window every day
  • Schedule it, like you would work or exercise.
  • Use my sleep calculator to figure out what routine works for you.
  • If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try a natural sleep aid like Sleep Doctor PM. Formulated with natural ingredients, it not only helps you fall asleep faster, but it’s also non habit forming

Avoid Exercising Late at Night

Make no mistake, working out is great for you. It’s also a great natural sleep aid. One common issue I see with my clients who are not getting enough sleep, though, is that they work out too close to their bedtime.

Exercise raises your energy levels and leaves you feeling stimulated — two sensations that do not lend themselves to falling asleep quickly. Working out also raises your body temperature for about 4 hours, and as we’ve touched on in the past, you want to stay cool before bed. When your body temperature rises, it’s a natural signal to your body to wake up. So if you’re going to work out after work, go for it — but make sure you give yourself a 3-4 hour buffer between when you finish and when you plan on going to bed.

Take a Warm Bath

This might sound a little counterproductive. After all, I just said it’s important to regulate your body and room temperature if you want to give yourself the best chance at falling asleep and staying asleep.

But there are three important reasons taking a warm bath before bed helps you fall asleep:

  • Warmth baths help produce melatonin.
    • By signaling the pineal gland to produce melatonin, known as the sleep hormone, it takes less time to fall asleep, improves sleep quality, and even sleep duration.
  • Warm baths relax our muscles.
    • The warmth eases tension on joints and makes lying down more comfortable.
  • Warm baths help lower our internal temperature
    • Odd as it may seem, hot water actually helps cool the body down by improving blood circulation from your core to your hands and feet

The best part? It only takes a 10-minute bath an hour or two before bed to reap these sleep benefits.

If you’ve noticed your sleep window has been getting shorter and shorter lately, don’t stress. Try working these few tips into your routine and you should start to feel more energized soon– no sleep debt payment required.

The post Catching Up On Sleep: How to Pay Off Your ‘Sleep Debt’ (and Why It’s a Big Deal) appeared first on Your Guide to Better Sleep.

How to Use Kratom for Sleep0

Do you know anyone suffering from sleep-related conditions? With lots to deal with, one might experience one or two rough nights where sleep is hard to come by. However, chronic insomnia can lead to dire conditions, and you need to consult a sleep physician for further instructions. You can also use some common herbs like passionflower or valerian root to assist you in getting that good night’s sleep. Nonetheless, that isn’t the only medication that you can try. Did you know that Kratom can enable you to achieve a good sleep? Kratom is what worked for me when struggling with sleep, and you can give it a try. If you are wondering how you can use it, you are just in luck! Here’s is how to use Kratom for sleep. 

The Connection Between Sleep Quality and Diet0

Why Evaluating Daytime Sleepiness in Children is Essential0

A recently published literature review provides guidance on screening, diagnoses, and treatment for a common symptom.

By Lisa Spear

A child’s sleepiness may seem harmless, but when daytime sleepiness becomes excessive, children can miss important developmental milestones and may even face long-term health consequences that can stay with them well into adulthood. And during times of stress—including during the current global health crisis—sleep troubles in children and adolescents may become magnified.

In a recent Clinical Pediatrics journal article, researchers review how excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) manifests in the pediatric population. The article is a literature review of pediatric EDS, which could serve as a reference for clinicians who want to learn more about how to screen, diagnose, and treat children at a time when they may be seeing an influx of patients with sleep concerns.

According to the review, sleep problems that can cause excessive daytime sleepiness are present in about 25% to 40% of kids and adolescents, encompassing behavioral, neurologic, and respiratory disorders.

“This is a significant issue in the pediatric population,” says Judith Owens, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital at Waltham.

While there is no research yet to confirm an influx in pediatric sleep problems during the current global health crisis, Owens says this may be the case. “During the last six weeks, I’ve had a lot of adolescents in particular with complaints of daytime sleepiness that seem to be exasperated during the pandemic and the stay-at-home orders,” says Owens, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

“How that plays out exactly, I’m not quite sure. It has been interesting to see, at least anecdotally, that there seems to be more concern,” she says. “But it is hard to know whether this represents a real increase.” Another factor, she says, is many sleep clinics have expanded their telemedicine services and now parents may have more access to care for their children.

Parents may also be becoming more aware of preexisting sleep issues that their children are facing since adults are now staying at home more and are able to witness their child’s daytime sleepiness.

While many teenagers are sleepy for reasons other than any underlying medical conditions, including early school start times and poor bedtime habits, Owens says it’s important for clinicians to take the time to weed out cases that are clinically significant.

“The consequences are even more concerning in adolescents because we know that daytime sleepiness is linked to cognitive changes, particularly executive functions and problem solving. That part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, is undergoing very rapid development during the adolescent years, so it is highly vulnerable to the effects of insufficient sleep and daytime sleepiness,” says Owens.

Is It Fatigue or Excessive Sleepiness?

It’s not always easy to see the difference between fatigue and EDS, but there are a number of screening tools to guide clinicians to make the distinction. Well-validated questionnaires for pediatric sleep problems include the BEARS 5-item questionnaire and the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire, among others.

The literature review also recommends other tools used specifically to screen for EDS in the pediatric population, including the Pediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale and Modified Epworth Sleepiness Scale for Children and Adolescents.

A parent-recorded sleep diary can also help in pinning down exactly why a child is experiencing drowsiness. The article suggests that parents should be advised to document their child’s sleep and wake times over a two-week period, which can avoid potentially inaccurate histories recalled during visits in the physician’s office.

Presentation of Daytime Sleepiness in Pediatrics

According to the article, EDS looks different in younger children than it does in adolescents. While adolescents may complain that they are tired or sleepy or doze off, EDS in prepubescent children can manifest with behavioral problems.

A hallmark of daytime sleepiness in young children is hyperactivity and impulsivity. Children may also exhibit oppositional or aggressive behaviors. For young children and adolescents, EDS can lead to the decline of many daily functions, including a poor academic performance as well as mood disturbances.

“Daytime sleepiness cuts across many different domains that really determine the quality of life for children,” says Owens.

Difficulty waking up in the morning and falling asleep during the day in inappropriate circumstances may be attributed to EDS. The propensity to sleep longer than usual when given the opportunity, including on weekends, is also an important sign of chronic insufficient sleep, the review says.

“I tell families, ‘If your child has difficulty waking up at the time that they need to get up in the morning either for school or for anything else, that is a bit of a red flag,’” says Owens.

Young children with EDS may also present as inattentive and unfocused, or withdrawn and isolated because they skip social gatherings because of their sleepiness. Since alertness in school-aged children is normally high, clinicians should have a low threshold for investigating concerns of sleepiness in this age group, the review says.

Long-term Health Outcomes and Treatment

After daytime sleepiness is confirmed, the review suggests that providers start with behavioral and nonpharmacologic approaches by advising the patients and their families on good sleep hygiene practices. Pharmacotherapy options can be explored as an adjunct if behavioral interventions are not successful.

Children with obstructive sleep apnea may see improvements from adenotonsillectomy, weight reduction, and continuous positive airway pressure.

If EDS is not treated and properly managed, a child may also experience permanent negative health outcomes.  An inflammatory response can impact the cardiovascular system. Insufficient sleep is also linked to an increase risk of obesity and hypertension, says Owens.

“There’s not only a short-term effect, but potentially a longer effect as well.”

Lisa Spear is the associate editor of Sleep Review.


Owens J, Babcock D, Weiss M. Evaluation and treatment of children and adolescents with excessive daytime sleepiness. Clinical Pediatrics. 2020 March. 59 (4-5): 340-51.

Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep Problems0

There are few things in life more frustrating than the inability to fall asleep. The average adult should get at least seven hours of sleep every night. This is necessary for your physical and mental well-being. However, it has been estimated that at any given time, 10% of the population experiences insomnia. Many of these frustrated people seek a solution in sleep aids and remedies. But before you resort to pricey sleep solutions that may or may not be sufficient, here are unusual ways you should try to summon some slumber.