Help your teen sleep better According to recent studies, forty-three percent of parents say their teens struggle to fall asleep — or wake up and can’t get back to sleep. Help your teen sleep better with the following tips: Maintain a regular sleep schedule Keeping a sleep schedule within an hour of what’s usual helps keep the circadian rhythm in check. Sleeping in hours later than normal on the weekends and during school breaks makes it even more difficult to switch back — and can lead to more tiredness and grogginess. “Catch-up” sleep is also unlikely to make up for the full amount of sleep debt accrued over a week, and we don’t believe it’s as restorative to the body. Discourage afternoon naps Even though they may provide more sleep short term, naps make it harder to fall asleep at night. They also break up sleep, which means lower quality of sleep and fewer benefits. If this is a habit, do everything you can to quit naps for a week to make it easier to not nap going forward. Ban electronics from the bedroom Not being able to stay off electronics — including social media and cell phones — was the top reason polled parents cited for their teens’ sleep troubles. Some research indicates that the light exposure from screens also disrupts traditional cues sent to the brain to wind down. That’s why I recommend physically removing the device. Charge phones elsewhere Make it a family rule to charge all devices in a parent’s bedroom or another isolated space to reduce temptation at bedtime. Many teens I’ve seen in my own practice actually describe a sense of relief when their parents limit phone use because it takes away some of that pressure to keep up with social news and what their peers are up to. Stick to sleep-friendly bedtime routines In addition to banning electronics, limit other distractions in the bedroom. All stimulation should be minimized. Keep lights low and active pets out of the bedroom. We discourage using music or sound machines to help with sleep because they may actually keep the brain stimulated. Realize sleep isn’t instant We don’t expect people to fall asleep right away. It can take half an hour for someone to truly fall asleep. Have your teen follow a routine that helps them de-stress and wind down to get their body into sleep mode and send the right signals to the brain that it’s time to snooze (e.g., bath, reading, bed). Consult a health provider Sometimes an underlying medical issue, such as depression or sleep apnea, may be causing sleep trouble. If a teen continues to have problems falling asleep or is waking up multiple times at night despite healthy sleep hygiene habits, speak to a sleep specialist. Call us if you have additional information. We can help.
Tips to Prepare for Traveling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome Traveling with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can make even a simple trip worrisome. The syndrome, which causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and cramps, can often be unpredictable. Planning ahead can help you avoid common problems. Talk to your doctor before you go: Call your doctor and make sure she or he has any tips or medications covered while you are traveling. Make sure to stock up before your trip if you need a prescription refill or and talk to your doctor about tips to keep your symptoms at bay before starting your trip. Stockpile supplies: Always take enough medicine for your entire trip and a few days extra and put it in your carry-on bag — not in your checked bag, in case it gets lost. Consider packing flushable wipes and a change of clothes as a precaution. Keep your normal habits while on your trip: Always follow the same eating habits they keep at home, with one exception: Drink only sanitized or bottled water when abroad. Even when brushing your teeth, make sure you’re brushing with bottled water to avoid the risk of using un-sanitized water. Know the landscape: Simple preventive research helps lessen anxiety when traveling with IBS. Find out the bathroom location before arriving at each destination. You can also ease your journey by making sure your seat on the plane, train or bus carrier is near the restroom. If taking a road trip, log the rest stop locations along the way. Have a great trip, don’t worry, and be prepared!
What you need to know about treating cervical cancer. Now ranking 14th, cervical cancer was once one of the most common cancers affecting U.S. women. This rate has declined sharply with the introduction of the Pap test, a screening procedure that can find changes in the cervix before the cancer develops. The test can also help to find cervical cancer at an early stage. Several risk factors increase a woman’s chance of developing cervical cancer. The most important risk factor is infection caused by HPV, or human papillomavirus. Other risk factors include smoking, immunosuppression, chlamydia infection and being overweight. Treatment of cervical cancer depends on:
- Stage of the cancer
- Size and shape of the tumor
- A woman’s age and general health
- A woman’s desire to have children
Common Myths About Concussions A concussion is a traumatic brain injury characterized by the head and brain moving rapidly back and forth, striking the inside of the skull. Symptoms vary based on the individual and the severity of the impact. Signs of a concussion may include headache, sensitivity to light or sound, dizziness, sleep problems, nausea, changes in mood, confusion and memory problems. Common Concussion Myths (Items that are NOT true about Concussions) A concussion happens only with a blow to the head. Not all concussions are the result of a blow to the head. The cause could be an indirect blow somewhere else on the body that results in the head and brain moving rapidly back and forth. This causes a temporary change in the brain’s energy metabolism, resulting in concussion symptoms. A person with a concussion always loses consciousness. A concussion involves the loss of consciousness only about 10 percent of the time. And a person who loses consciousness as a result of some type of head trauma doesn’t necessarily have a concussion. Dilated pupils are a sign of concussion. Pupil dilation is not a reliable sign of concussion, particularly when both pupils are dilated equally. Our pupils can become dilated when the autonomic nervous systems sympathetic branch is stimulated and the fight or flight response is triggered. This can happen when the body is under stress due to excitement, nervousness or anxiety. However, when one pupil is more dilated than the other, it could be the sign of a structural brain injury that requires immediate emergency attention. Concussion patients should be awakened every few hours so they don’t lose consciousness. While checking on the individual within the first four hours of a concussion is important, the risk of a more serious brain injury typically passes after approximately four hours. After that, the individual should be allowed to rest, sleep and conserve energy for the next 48 to 72 hours. As a person further recovers from a concussion (following the 48- to 72-hour rest period), it’s also important for them to maintain their normal sleep patterns. Often, patients experience ongoing fatigue, causing them to sleep during the day and resulting in nighttime insomnia. We recommend melatonin for these patients, along with the standard sleep “hygiene”: no cellphones, tablets or TVs in the bedroom. Children who have suffered a concussion should avoid all screens and digital media. These activities may make symptoms worse, especially in the first few days after injury. If symptoms become worse, the activity should be avoided. Once individuals become less symptomatic, however, it is important to get back to normal activities that do not worsen symptoms, including screen time. If the child’s concussion is related to a sport or activity, he or she is now disconnected from teammates and friends. Taking away a child’s normal activities and social network — such as video games and cell phones — can be like taking away their identity, which can add to their sadness or anxiety. This can be harmful to the recovery process and could even prolong it. If you think you or a loved one has a concussion, you’ll want to be checked out by a doctor right away. Call us if you have questions on what to do if you do have a concussion.
Measles Outbreak: The importance of getting vaccinated Vaccinations are important. On Jan. 16 health officials in Denver alerted the public of a measles exposure in Colorado. Denver Public Health officials believe the person was traveling internationally when they were exposed to measles. What are the measles? Measles, or rubeola, is a viral infection of the respiratory system. It is a very contagious disease that can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva. An infected person can release the infection into the air when they cough or sneeze. The virus can live on surfaces for several hours. As the infected particles enter the air and settle on surfaces, anyone within close proximity can become infected. Symptoms generally appear within 14 days of exposure to the virus. Symptoms include:
- red eyes
- light sensitivity
- muscle aches
- runny nose
- sore throat
- white spots inside the mouth