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Having a good night's sleep takes more than just a bedtime.

Tag: Sleep Deprived

Light from gadgets, causes younger teens to be sleep-deprived


A simple light exposure at night can significantly disrupt the sleep time of kids, particularly lights coming from tablets or phones, a new study suggests. The findings show taking a gadget an hour before bed could really hurt a kid’s sleeping pattern.

The study, published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, says people can fall asleep as quickly as they otherwise would have if they are exposed to enough light at night. But the findings reveal a different effect to the sleep biology of boys and girls aged 9 to 15.

Those younger teens in the earlier stages of puberty were significantly sensitive to light at night compared to older teens. In the middle of their puberty, teens turn more vulnerable to suppression of the hormone, melatonin, which is a key to sleep timing, the researchers said.

For the study, the researchers suppressed the production of the sleep-timing hormone within an hour of night-time light exposure. The process shows the brighter the light, the more melatonin was suppressed.

The researchers found that among 38 children in early to middle puberty, an hour of 15 lux of light, or the light the same with dim “mood” lighting, suppressed melatonin by 9.2 percent, and an hour of 150 lux, or a normal room light, reduced it by 26 percent. The light exposure was maximised to 500 lux, or as bright as light in a supermarket, and it reduced the young teens’ melatonin by 36.9 percent.

Those in the late or post-puberty stage were also affected but not as much, researchers said. The 29 adult teens were also exposed to the same amounts of light, which 15 lux did not suppress melatonin at all; 150 lux reduced melatonin by 12.5 percent and 500 lux reduced it by 23.9 percent.

“Small amounts of light at night, such as light from screens, can be enough to affect sleep patterns,” said Mary Carskadon, senior author of study and a professor of psychiatry and human behaviour at Brown University. The effects were the same between boys and girls.

Carskadon said that students who have tablets or TVs or computers, even an ‘old-school’ flashlight under the covers to read, are pushing their circadian clocks, or the cycle of their sleep, to a later timing. The technology makes it harder to go to sleep and wake up at times early the next morning for school.

The findings have a significant implication for kids and young teens as they head back to school, the researchers said, and the children and their parents should limit the use of screens at bedtime. It has been found by another study that 96 percent of teens today use at least one gadget or technology in the hour before going to bed.

This article was originally published by International Business Times. See the original article here.

The Most Sleep Deprived Occupations

A recent study conducted for Sleepy’s has found the top 10 most and least sleep-deprived jobs.  This study comes in light of Daylight Saving Time which is less than one month away (Sunday, March 11th)!  As we all prepare to lose an hour of sleep in March, check out the list of the already sleep-deprived occupations:

  1. Home Health Aides
  2. Lawyers
  3. Police Officers
  4. Physicians, Paramedics
  5. Economists
  6. Social Workers
  7. Computer Programmers
  8. Financial Analysts
  9. Plant Operators
  10. Secretaries

I can see why home health aides top the list of most sleep-deprived job because many aides are working for more than one family and frequently work night shifts.  These sleep-deprived occupations can also be related to most stressful and most dangerous jobs rankings, which is no surprise why they are also sleep-deprived.  On the opposite end of this study, the most well-rested occupations were also determined.  Here’s that list:

  1. Forest, Logging Workers
  2. Hairstylists
  3. Sales Representatives
  4. Bartenders
  5. Construction Workers
  6. Athletes
  7. Landscapers
  8. Engineers
  9. Aircraft Pilots
  10. Teachers

The theme among some of the well-rested jobs is that many are jobs that require working outdoors.  Getting additional time in the sun not only boosts moods, but also helps keep the circadian rhythm in order.  No matter if you’re in the most sleep-deprived or well-rested occupations, sleep is important for not only health, but also job performance.  So on Sunday March 11th when we all lose an hour of sleep, keep these sleep tips in mind, to make sure you get your quality sleep.

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Sleep in a room that is dark, quiet & cool.
  • Make sure your mattress properly supports your body.
  • Avoid caffeine after 12pm.

For more great information about sleep and health visit Sleep.com.


Contributor: Emily Barrett

Sleep Is Not a Luxury

It’s almost eight months since I started my journey as the first-ever Sleepy’s Snooze Director.  I have learned so much about sleep and mattresses; I can’t help but reflect on what I’ve learned.  It’s not all too often that you’re able to have a job that is not only professionally rewarding, but also beneficial to your health.  This job was created as a way to express the importance of sleep and how it affects your life, but I still feel like there is much more to be done to make sleep a priority in everyone’s lives.

I think that the main battle we have to overcome as sleep enthusiasts is to define sleep as a necessity, not a luxury.  Our society glorifies (and almost demands) sleep deprivation as a normal thing.  Students are frequently pulling all-nighters to get through their demanding schedules of classes, jobs and coursework (not to mention extracurricular as well).  Also, many people are forced to take on shift work to make ends meet.  Then there are the people with the mantra, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” who make it no easier to believe that sleep is crucial.

I believe there is hope for our cause though.  I’ve been seeing “Sleep” sections on some of the most visited websites, such as Yahoo, The Huffington Post and WebMD.  There is also Sleep.com which is a website entirely devoted to sleep.  This is great because now people have access to sleep information whenever they want.  It’s just a matter of getting people to realize that their sleep troubles are actually problems with real solutions.  All too often I’ll hear someone say, “Oh, I’m just a light sleeper,” and they accept the fact that they don’t sleep well.  To them I say, “Get help!”  When your TV isn’t working, you get it fixed.  When your tooth hurts, you go to the dentist.  If you’re not sleeping well, talk to your doctor!

What are your views on sleep?  Is it a necessity or is it a luxury?  What are you doing to advocate the importance of sleep in everyone’s lives?  Do you ever talk to your doctor about your sleep problems?  I want to hear from you, so make sure to leave a comment below so that we can have a great conversation about this.  It’s in my opinion that if we don’t start to openly talk about sleep and our problems with sleep, then we won’t be able to change the public perception of sleep as a luxury.


Contributor: Emily Barrett

Should Schools Start Later?

The internet is buzzing with the latest sleep debate.  Should schools start later as a means to combat teens’ sleep deprivation?  More research has been coming out that suggests that biologically, teenagers’ circadian rhythms are set to produce melatonin much later in the night, between 11pm and 12am, so they are unable to fall asleep in time to get enough hours of sleep before school the next day.  So if you’re thinking your teen is staying up late just to Facebook with friends and text all night, you may want to think again.  Both sides of this argument have plausible defenses, but at the end of the day, what should we go with?  Let’s bring both sides of the argument into the hypothetical boxing ring.

In this corner of the ring we have the long reigning champ known as logistics.  The way we have school times set up now is so that the youngest kids are picked up last so that they aren’t waiting for the bus in the darkest mornings of winter which is a safety issue.  Elementary students get picked up last and middle and high school students get picked up first.  School times that are currently in place exist because of parents’ work schedules as well as the students’ after-school activities.  If school starts later then the students get out later and then their sports and clubs get pushed back and so does getting homework getting done and so on and so forth, into a giant snowball of reasons why not to start school after 8am.

On the opposite side of this argument we have the rookie, the supporter of later school starting times.  Any teenager will automatically back this argument, even without further details.  But there are scientific facts that back up this rookie argument that could KO the reigning champ.  Teenagers’ don’t produce melatonin until later in the night compared to adults and children, which is why they stay up later.  So when they wake up early in the morning to get ready for school, there is still melatonin in their body which makes it very difficult to wake up.  The teenagers are basically zombies during the first few periods as their bodies slowly wake up.  If the school day started a little bit later than the students would be getting more sleep each night which may result in better attendance, higher grades and less of a chance of depression. 

I’m not even sure if I know where I stand on this issue.  I remember my zombie mornings getting ready for school and barely remembering my first four classes of the day when I was in high school, but I did survive it, with decent grades.  Then again, if my peers were given more time to sleep, they would’ve probably been equally successful with their grades and actually attend the first few periods of the day.  But then would we have to shift the average work day so that working parents are able to get their kids to and from school safely?  Where do you stand on this delayed school debate?  Do you think school start times should remain the same as they are or should they start later?  How do you think your high school experience would have been different if it started later in the morning?


Contributor: Emily Barrett

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