Friday, May 30, 2014

Fractured Sleep or Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is a restorative activity, and if sleep time is cut short or fractured (interrupted) the body does not have time to complete repairs or restore energy.  Hormones are not released in the proper amounts.

Epidemiological studies have shown that people who sleep less than 6 hours may show the following:
  • Increased risk of developing hypertension, stroke, obesity, and diabetes
  • Acceleration of memory loss
  • Reduction of immune system function
  • Increase of osteoporosis (animal model), cardiac disease, and mortality
  • Increased risk for colon cancer and likelihood of precancerous polyps

Regular sleep affects daily functioning and physical, mental, and emotional health.  It is essential for our survival.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Time Out

Many parents use "time out" as a disciplinary measure, but most of them do not use it correctly.  They expect the time outs to teach children something, but many times they do not.  The main reason for time outs is aggression, which peaks between 1 and 3 years of age.

Time outs work best if a child has been first shown how to do a time out.  Sending them to their room where there is a TV or where they can amuse themselves is not true time out.  A quick response of what they did wrong, in six words or less is effective, such as "No hitting.  Hitting hurts people."  If they are put in a place for time out, it needs to be where they can see the parent.  The object is to teach them, not frighten them.

Some children break time out by asking if it is over yet.  Frequently breaking out of time out and restarting it can be a bid by the child for extra attention.  If they come out of time out before it is over, the parent may need to restrain the child by holding them.  Most children do not like being restrained in time out.  You can give them the chance to start the time out over and only have to be restrained if they prematurely come out of it.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The "Common" Cold

A cold is a viral infection, and symptoms include coughing, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, fatigue, headache, and fever.  These symptoms usually resolve in 7 to 10 days, but can last as long as six weeks.  There are over 200 strains of viruses that can cause a cold, most of them rhinoviruses.  Unfortunately, scientists continue to discover new viruses that can cause a cold.

Colds are most contagious about two days before symptoms start and in the early stages of a cold.  Transmission is usually by airborne droplets, direct contact with infected nasal secretions, or contact with contaminated objects.  Adults usually get two to five colds a year, whereas children can get as many as seven to ten colds.  These colds usually occur between September and May.

There is no cure for the common cold, but symptomatic treatment may help reduce symptom severity.  Hand washing and wearing a mask are considered good prevention measures.  Stress reduction, exercise, and adequate sleep can also help prevent getting a cold.