Archive for the ‘school success’ category

Start School Later meets with the Dept. of Health

July 17, 2012

Tomorrow, July 18, the leaders of the national Start School Later initiative will be meeting with directors at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health. There is a connection between early school start times and depression and suicidal thoughts that needs to be addressed.

The full press release is below, and I’ll post the update from the meeting in the next few days. If you’d like to weigh in with your support of later school start times you can sign the petition at http://www.startschoollater.net
RELEASE: July 16, 2012: GRASSROOTS GROUP ASKS FEDERAL AGENCY TO ADDRESS LINK BETWEEN EARLY HIGH SCHOOL START TIMES, MENTAL HEALTH, AND TEEN SUICIDES:

Contact: Heather Macintosh, 410-279-4569 heathermac@verizon.net
Dr. Terra Ziporyn Snider, Co-Director, 410-262-6616

Start School Later, a national coalition advocating for sane, humane high school start times, is meeting with Dr. Anne Mathews-Younes, Director of the Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress and Special Programs, and Dr. Richard McKeon, Director of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the US Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS), Wednesday, July 18, in Rockville, MD.

Compelling scientific research shows that adolescents’ sleep needs are being dangerously compromised by the extremely early school schedules of many US high schools. Waking at 5:30 to catch a bus and begin school in the 7 o’clock hour is incompatible with adolescent sleep needs and causing teens to miss out on the crucial sleep they need for physical and mental health and development and optimum academic achievement. Sleep deprivation is strongly linked to anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation, among other health effects.

SAMHSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which, in turn, is increasingly recognizing the importance sleep plays in the health and wellness of young people.

“We’re looking forward to discussing ways federal agencies might be helpful in raising awareness and facilitating policies to ensure safe, healthy school hours for all children,” says Terra Ziporyn Snider, PhD, Start School Later’s Co-Director. “This has been impossible to achieve in many local school systems, where all too often politics and myth trump student health and well-being.”

Start School Later is an all-volunteer, national coalition working to ensure that all public schools can set hours compatible with health, safety, equity, and learning. Coalition members attending the SAMHSA meeting include Dr. Terra Ziporyn Snider and Kari Oakes, PA-C, both from Maryland, as well as Terry Cralle, RN, of Virginia, and Debbie Coleman, MBA, faculty member at the Miami University (Ohio).

Meet Us at the Bus Stop

January 24, 2012

So . . . how many of you are driving to work at 6:30ish? Ever see a kid suddenly caught in your headlights as they are waiting for the bus?

Over the last months the Start School Later movement has been gathering steam as almost 3,000 people across the nation have signed the petition, and the media has discussed the research showing that students do better when school starts later.

This week, on Thursday January 26th, the Meet us at the Bus Stop event is happening across the country to highlight how early children have to get up for school, so early that they are often waiting in the dark, on cold winter mornings, to catch the bus. Please join in by posting photos or video interviews of your children as they are waiting for the bus on Thursday morming. You can post them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/279393105455960/

See video from the previous Winter Solstice 2011 event at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl0zvs43wjQ&feature=youtu.be

Sign the Start School Later petition at http://signon.org/sign/promote-legislation-to.fb1?source=s.fb&r_by=1521139

Better School Start Times

December 31, 2011

Over the last several months national efforts to start school later have been growing, and it’s about time! For over 2 decades it’s been well established by medical research that there is a shift of the internal body clock during puberty. This causes teens to become sleepy later than younger children, and wake up later. This is a physiologic change, and not simply a preference for later socializing or “laziness” in the morning as was sometimes described.

Terra Snider, PhD, has created a national petition calling for legislation to prevent high schools from starting before 8am. When students go to school at times when they are most alert their performance improves, including improved test scores, decreased absenteeism, and increased graduation rates.

This issue is very close to my heart, and of utmost importance. Right out of college, in the early 1990′s, I worked in the research lab of Dr. Mary Carskadon, the leading researcher on children’s sleep/alertness patterns. After a couple years my impression was that a lot was known about this among researchers, but wasn’t being used to make children’s lives better. So although I’m interested in research, I decided to become a physician and help people with sleep problems. Now in my private practice it is striking how many adults say their sleep problems started as teens. For this reason I love to help children with sleep problems in hopes of improving their sleep before they’ve had problems for 20+ years.

Please sign this important petition, then ask your circle of friends to sign it too. http://signon.org/sign/promote-legislation-to.fb1?source=s.fb&r_by=1521139.   As of this writing there are 1466 signators across the nation, and growing each day.

There is a wonderful website by Dennis Nolan, JD, summarizing the impact of school start time on student’s well-being at http://schoolstarttime.org/.

If you are inspired to lend your talents to improving student’s lives in this way please let me know, or contact organizers directly.

Sleep Health in the News

March 30, 2011

It’s been fun the last week to talk with several folks in the media, both here in Seattle and on the web.  Here’s the links:

Interview about sleep & social skills with Linda Thomas of KIRO news
radio will air Weds, 5-8am, 97.3 fm
http://www.mynorthwest.com/category/news_chick_blog/20110328/Lack-of-sleep-impairs-teen-social-life/#comments

Interview on sleep needs & performance with Michael Harthorne of KOMO
community news
http://ballard.komonews.com/news/health/specialist-ballard-students-suffering-sleep-they-arent-getting/630340

Interview about insomnia with Myrna Sandbrand, RN on BlogTalkRadio

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ezsleep/2011/03/25/interview-with-dr-darley

I love to talk to people about sleep health, the may ways it impacts their well-being, and what to do to improve sleep.  If you’d like a speaker for your group let me know, drdarley@naturalsleepmedicine.net.

Want a Better Social Life? Then Sleep Well

March 2, 2011

So, what has to happen to have a good social life? People need to think you are somewhat attractive, you need to be able to read others’ emotions, and you need to be a pretty good person.

All these aspects of a good social life are impacted negatively if you don’t sleep well. Research this last year has shown that when people are sleep deprived they:
A) are considered less attractive than when they are well rested
B) are less able to discern happy and angry emotions from anothers’ facial expression
C) are more likely to put their own interests above others when making moral or ethical decisions.

So, we already knew the many ways poor sleep or sleep deprivation impacts our physical health and performance. Now we’re starting to learn how our social abilities are impacted too.

My next thought is about the high number of children who are sleep deprived (80% of highschool students). Since this is a time when they are learning social skills, what is the long-term impact of being sleep deprived at this critical time?

Children’s Sleep and School Success

August 9, 2010

Children’s Sleep and School Success – How they are related
School start is on the horizon. For those with children this can be a busy time, doing those last minute summer activities, getting school supplies, and preparing children for a successful year. Let’s take the time to get children on a good sleep schedule that will help them in school.

Children’s Sleep
Why is it important to think about children’s sleep? To start, many children simply don’t get enough hours of sleep. Here’s how much sleep kids need:
• children 3 to 5 years old need more than 11 hours
• children 6 to 12 years old need 10 to 11 hours
• teenagers need 9 to 9.5 hours
Looking at the school start times here in Seattle, and allowing just one hour from wake-up to being at school, grade school children should be sleeping by 9pm, middle schoolers by 9:30p, and high school students by 9:30-10pm. (If your child needs more than 1 hour from wake-up to school start time then move bedtime earlier accordingly). Are your children getting to sleep at that time? If not, your child is probably feeling the effects of insufficient sleep.
Impacts of Insufficient Sleep
Going to school can be demanding, children are asked to concentrate, learn physical skills, and develop socially with their peers. Here are some highlights:
• Only 20% of children grades 6-12 get the necessary amount of sleep (>9 hrs)! Can you believe it?! In younger children, only 47% get the sleep they need.
• Increased playground injuries in children who sleep <10 hours.
• Children with insufficient sleep are more likely to be angry, depressed, or overly emotional. Kids who sleep less take more risks, and this is especially true in teens.
• Cognitive effects include impaired memory, creative problem solving, and decreased verbal fluency, all skills that your child needs in school

What you can do to improve your child’s sleep:
• Establish bedtimes for your children, so everyone in the household knows the standard. You may want to have a time when everyone finishes their activities and starts to “wind down.”
• Start a trend in your social group of starting activities early enough that they usually end an hour before bedtime. This gives you time to travel home safely, and wind down a little before going to sleep.
• Remove electronic media from your child’s bedroom so they are not tempted to continue with homework, TV, or texting after bedtime
• Kids (and parents) can get excited about activities. Emphasize quality wake hours rather than quantity. Is it really fun to stay up late if you are so tired that you can’t think or are teary the next day?
• Allow your children to catch up on sleep on the weekends or vacations if necessary. The golden standard is to wake up on their own, feeling refreshed and energetic throughout the day. If your child sleeps a lot more on weekends, consider moving their school night bedtime earlier in 15 minute increments until it evens out.

Sleep Health Education in Seattle

December 14, 2009

Talking with people about sleep health, giving them the facts, and the knowledge of how to promote healthy sleep for themselves and their families, is one of the things I love to do.  Just last week we put excerpts from a recent PTA talk on YouTube.  You can view it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syxCF12fWdM.  Watch it and let me know what you think!

The calendar for 2010 is growing, please let me know if you’d like me to come talk to your PTA, civic group, or corporation.  Here’s a sample of what’s going on so far.

“Optimizing Work Performance – The Sleep Connection”

Vulcan Inc.
January 26, 2010, 12:30-1:30pm
Open to employees

Join Dr. Darley to learn about how good sleep health can improve your job performance.   Objectives for this one hour “Lunch and Learn” are:

  • Understand the ways poor sleep interferes with mental, physical and emotional performance
  • Understand the most prevalent sleep disorders, including insufficient sleep
  • Learn ways to improve sleep

“Sleeping Like a Baby”

PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support)
Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
January 26, 2010, 6:30-8:00pm
Open to PEPS participants

Many new parents struggle to help their infant get into a regular sleep routine, and get enough sleep themselves.   Dr. Darley will discuss questions parents frequently ask about how to get their baby to sleep, the safety of co-sleeping, nap routines and sleep schedules.   There will be 30 minutes for questions and discussion after her presentation.

“Sleep and Mental Health: A Dynamic Interplay”

Continuing Education event for the Seattle Counselors Association (SCA)
February 19, 2010
Open to SCA members and visitors

Dr. Darley will discuss the dynamic interplay between sleep and mental health.   We’ll look in depth at a few conditions, including ADHD, anxiety, and depression.   The second half of the presentation will include screening questions for counselors to use in assessing whether sleep may be a contributing factor.   We’ll also discuss the effects of pharmaceuticals, over the counter medications, and supplements.   There will be ample time for questions and discussion.

“Sleep Well, and Succeed in School”

Loyal Height Elementary, Seattle Washington
April 29, 2010, 7:00p to 8:30p
Open to school parents

Many children have sleep problems, and their mood and performance suffers.   Come learn about common pediatric sleep problems, how they influence your child, and what you can do to ensure your child gets healthy sleep.

Join Dr. Catherine Darley, ND from The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine as she discusses:

  • normal sleep in children
  • the effects of insufficient sleep, the most common sleep problem
  • sleep disordered breathing in children
  • Learn steps to take at home to improve your child’s sleep

Sleep Health Education in Seattle

October 2, 2009

Many people need more information and inspiration to improve their sleep. This fall I’ll be giving sleep health talks to many groups of people around Seattle.  Here is a short listing of educational talks coming up.  If you would like to schedule a sleep presentation for your group just email or phone.

“Sleep Well, Succeed in School”
Seattle Academy October 19, 2009
Not open to the public

Many children have sleep problems, and their mood and performance suffers.
Come learn about common pediatric sleep problems, how they influence your child, and what you can do to ensure your child gets healthy sleep.

Join Dr. Catherine Darley, ND from The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine as she discusses:
normal sleep in children
the changes in sleep timing that teens experience
the effects of insufficient sleep, the most common sleep problem
sleep disordered breathing in children
steps to take at home to improve your child’s sleep
——————————————————–

“Optimizing Work Performance – The Sleep Connection”
October 20, 2009 noon -1pm
City of Seattle
Open to city employees

Join Dr. Darley to learn about how good sleep health can improve your job performance. Objectives for this one hour “Lunch and Learn” are:
Understand the ways poor sleep interferes with mental, physical and emotional performance
Understand the most prevalent sleep disorders, including insufficient sleep
Learn ways to improve sleep
There will be time for discussion and to answer questions.
——————————————————–

“Sleep Apnea and it’s Consequences”
November 10, 2009 7 – 8pm
King County Medical Assistants Association
Continuing Education event, open to members

Sleep apnea is a common sleep breathing disorder which affects both men and women. It is important to recognize and treat effectively because it significantly increases cardiovascular disease. Dr. Darley will discuss sleep apnea, it’s mechanism and it’s effects on overall health. We’ll also discuss current treatment options and issues.
——————————————————–

“Sleep and Mental Health: A Dynamic Interplay”
Continuing Education event for the Seattle Counselors Association (SCA)
February 19, 2010
Open to SCA members and visitors

Dr. Darley will discuss the dynamic interplay between sleep and mental health. We’ll look in depth at a few conditions, including ADHD, anxiety, and depression. The second half of the presentation will include screening questions for counselors to use in assessing whether sleep may be a contributing factor. We’ll also discuss the effects of pharmaceuticals, over the counter medications, and supplements. There will be ample time for questions and discussion.

Children are Sleep Deprived

September 21, 2009

Children are sleep deprived just as adults are – 27% of children get less sleep than they need each school night. How much sleep does a child need? Preschoolers (ages 3 to 5) need about 11 to 12 hours, children aged 6 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours, and high school students need 9 to 9.5 hours.

If a child doesn’t get enough sleep they can have mood and behavior problems. For example, they may be irritable, overly emotional, have difficulty cooperating or controlling impulses. Teens especially will take more risks when they are sleep deprived.

School performance is also impaired by sleep deprivation. It becomes more difficult to pay attention, creativity declines, and memory is impaired. Certainly not what we want for our children in school!

Tips to help your children get the sleep they need:
If you suspect your children are not getting the sleep they need to feel good and do well in school there are steps you can take today to improve their sleep.

First, set a consistent wake up time for your child. The time you wake up is the most important for setting your body clock. Next, get them to bed 15 minutes earlier every couple days, until they awaken refreshed on their own. When a preschool or grade school child is getting enough sleep they will be able to awake on their own (this may not be true of teens, more on teen sleep another time).

“Screen time” in front of a computer or television can interfere with easily falling asleep both because of the bright light and because it is mentally stimulating. So establish a bedtime routine that does not involved the TV or computer.

Caffeine stays active in the body for 6 to 8 hours. Ensure your child is not having any caffeine after noon to help sleep well at night.


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