Today’s Reading List: Why do teens need more sleep?

Today at @ontariosdoctors we look at why adolescents need more sleep than children or adults. Also, we discuss the importance of a balanced diet for expectant mothers.

Studies indicate teens should get between eight and one- half to nine and one-half hours of sleep per night. According to research, sleep deprivation may have consequences on school performance and contribute to both mental and physical health problems including obesity and depression. The Globe and Mail brings us this story:

A report shows that early start times at school may be one main cause of disrupted sleep in teens. Young adults may experience “phase delay” which is the tendency to go to sleep later and wake up later than children and adults. That being said, it is not surprising that teens struggle with an early start. For this age group, experts recommend school classes start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. More sleep in the morning could lead to reduced daytime drowsiness, better moods and reduced signs of depression.

“Many adolescents don’t realize they need so much sleep, and that they think they can catch up on weekends. However, getting regular and sufficient sleep during the week is a better strategy – one associated with higher grades.” Says Dr. Shelly Weiss, past president of the Canadian Sleep Society

“Toronto’s Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute is one of Canada’s few public high schools with a later start time: First period is at 10 a.m., allowing students to get more sleep and thereby providing conditions conducive to health and academic achievement.”

Health experts stress the importance of pregnant woman maintaining a well-balanced diet which draws on the four essential food groups: grains, protein, dairy, and fruits and vegetables. The vitamins and nutrients found in vitamin rich foods such as dark leafy greens and dairy products could support proper development of the fetal nervous system. Scientists suggest the popular notion of a pregnant woman’s need to eat double or “eat for two” may provide an excuse to overeat or eat the wrong types of foods. The Hamilton Spectator brings us this story:

“Forget about the adage that pregnant women are eating for two. Yes, calorie intake will increase, but that’s not carte blanche to double the daily caloric intake. Pregnant women should take in about an extra 300 calories per day.” Says researcher Dr. Shari Maxwell

Approximately 8 to 10 per cent of babies are born with a lower than average birth weight which is mainly due to lack of proper nutrition in mothers. No single food or food group can provide the nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy, therefore variety is imperative. There are multiple sources for essential vitamins. For example, woman who cannot digest dairy can look to other foods such as beans, spinach or broccoli to get adequate calcium.

“Although they may not have the same access to certain foods and resources,” says dilatation Lisa Quast, expecting women can eat a more-than-adequate diet if they work at it. “They are not going to get it at fast food restaurants or through convenience foods.”

Posted on August 26, 2014 in Health in the News, Reading List, Uncategorized

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