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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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