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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 March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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