Sleep and the Immune System

Lack of sleep makes ours and our children’s immune systems weaker, hence they makes us more prone to catching colds, viral infections and the flu. Our immune system is designed to protect us from colds, flu, and other ailments. Lack of sleep suppresses immune system functions.

A study published in the September 25, 2002 issue of theJournal of the American Medical Associationdemonstrated that a lack of sleep measurably adversely affects the body’s response to the flu vaccine. This study was done in healthy young adults and half of those included in the study slept only 4 hours per night for 6 nights. The comparison group, experienced a normal night’s sleep over the same period of time. Flu vaccines were administered on the 5th day.

Blood test results showed the sleep-deprived group had less than half the antibodies the comparison group did. Once the sleep deprived group resumed normal sleep habits, there was no difference found in levels of immunity between the two groups.

Want to be healthier and make sure your children don’t get as sick? Make sure you all get a good night sleep.

Signs of Sleep Deficiency in Children

Many parents wonder whether their childrena are getting enough sleep. The first thing to do when in doubt, is counting the amount of hours they are sleeping. Then refer to the general guidelines of how many hours children their age should sleep per day.

The second thing would be to watch her for signs of sleep deprivation,such as:

  • Constant sleepiness throughout the day, almost every day
  • Fatigue. It looks like your child is dragging herself from one place to the next one
  • Inattentiveness and hyperactivity
  • Crankiness and moodiness, especially at the end of the day
  • Difficult awakenings. It is difficult to get your child out of bed and active in the morning
  • Difficult betimes. Your child is so cranky that she can’t fall asleep
  • Frequent waking during the night
  • Trouble focusing on tasks
  • Impaired memory and cognitive ability, the ability to think and process information
  • Decreased daytime alertness
  • Decreased academic performance
  • Low threshold to express negative emotion (irritability and easy frustration)
  • Difficulty modulating impulses and emotions

If your child exhibits many of this symptoms, you should adjust her schedule so she gets more daytime sleep (naps), and night-time sleep.

Bedtime routine, sleep pattern and children’s health

A child’s bedtime routine could affect his or her sleep pattern throughout a lifetime. Setting bedtime routines and bedtime can improve sleep quality and quantity for infants and toddlers. Not getting enough sleep affects children’s behavior, memory, attention, and emotional well-being.

“Sleep patterns and sleep routines matter because they have both long-term and short-term implications for health and cognitive development,” said Lauren Hale, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center in Stony Brook, New York. “If it sets a pattern in the way you treat sleep or bedtime, these patterns may last your whole life unknowingly.”

Devote time and effort to make sure your children get enough and proper sleep, it’ll be a fantastic health gift for life.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/09/14/bedtime.children/index.html

What are we feeding our children?

When I watched the “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”, I was outraged. Our children are getting pizza for breakfast, chicken nuggets for lunch, flavored milk as a snack… in their schools! This show is a must-see for all parents. If you haven’t watch it, I invite you to do so; and take action afterwards. Make sure you know what your little kids are putting in their bodies.

Jamie Oliver, a well-known chef from Britain, is taking his war against unhealthy eating habits to American shores. The U.S. is suffering from an obesity epidemic (specially among children) and he aims to stop it.

The scene of kids eating pizza for breakfast and thinking a tomato is a potato; children up to 10 years old not knowing how to use an knife and a fork; school bureaucrats calling french fries a vegetable; and school cooks not having a problem with serving all-processed meals to children day in and day out, is really rivetingly sad. This is just a sample of what he fins in our school:

Here’s the video of his speech at TED, as well as the trailer for “Food Revolution”:

You can also watch the show online here.

Please, watch it and take action!!! Don’t let your children suffer from obesity, diabetes and many other complications that they shouldn’t have to deal with.