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How Setting Earlier Bedtimes for Your Children Can Protect Them From Depression

How Setting Earlier Bedtimes for Your Children Can Protect Them From Depression

Increased depression can have a negative effect on the quality of sleep, and poor quality sleep can increase depression. That’s fairly well-covered ground. What’s notable, especially if you’re a parent, is that setting an earlier bedtime for children can decrease risks of depression.

The study

In a sleep research study, scientists studied the sleep and depression in adolescents, grades 7–12. They discovered that earlier parental-set bedtimes may help protect against adolescent depression. Though it is often assumed that teens need less sleep as preteens,the results from this study indicate that setting earlier bedtimes actually helps lengthen sleep duration. Getting quality sleep through childhood and adolescence helps curb risk for suicidal ideation.

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Columbia University Medical Center researches in 2009 discovered that not only were adolescents with later parental-set bedtimes (midnight or later) more likely to suffer depression, they were 25 percent more likely to suffer from depression. Twenty percent of the same study participants were 20 percent more likely to have suicidal ideation than those with bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier. James Gangwisch, Ph.D., who led the study, explains why the study focused on parental-set rather than adolescent reported bedtimes. Teens who experience depression are more likely to go to bed late or have erratic bedtimes. Parental-mandated bedtimes, however, were more likely to result in earlier and consistent bedtimes.

But how do parents get their kids to bed earlier, especially when their kids are teenagers, arguably the least compliant age-group of all?

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) website offers excellent data on the sleep needs of teenagers, the consequences of getting poor sleep, shifts in biological sleep patterns and more. If you’re the parent of a teen, you may want to sit down with your teen and go through this resource. It’s possible that learning more about how important sleep is to their well-being may come a long way in persuading them to change their bedtime habits.

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Most teens need between 8–10 hours of sleep per night, and preteens need between 9–11. When students’ sleep dips below the recommended amount, their capacity to learn suffers. Not only will their performance as a student be affected, there are physical consequences too. Teens are more susceptible to acne. In addition, cravings for junk food increase with sleep deprivation, which may result in weight gain. Behaviorally, sleep-deprived teens are more aggressive and impatient. This affects not only their relationships with authority, but with friends and family too.

Make an earlier bedtime a bit more appealing and commit to improving your sleep habits.

Teens share a lot of the same dissatisfying consequences of poor sleep as adults. The recommendations for changing habits to improve sleep hygiene are similar for both groups as well. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that teens limit the use of caffeine and electronics before bedtime. Other tips include setting a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. As a parent, consider sitting down with your teen to go over the research links between sleep and depression. Set a bedtime you both can agree on. It may help if you agree to practicing good sleep hygiene as well.

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Watch for signs of depression.

Your child or teenager can experience depression regardless of how much sleep they get. Be sure to watch for symptoms such as excessive worry, nervousness, or hopelessness about the future. An NSF poll reveals that, though adults typically believe youth have little to worry about, more than half of the adolescents polled report excessive worry and stress. Seventy-five percent of the subjects who scored highest on the depressive mood score also report getting insufficient sleep.

Featured photo credit: ffffound.com Visit via pinterest.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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