Archive for the ‘School Performance and Light’ Category

tired baby In the January 2012 issue of PARENTS magazine, an article by Betsy Stephens outlines the significant impacts that sleep disturbances have on children – much more serious ones than most parents probably appreciate. For example, according to a recent study from University of Virginia, children who lack adequate sleep consistently suffer a drop in IQ points that is equivalent to the effect of lead poisoning. According to Dr. Judith Owens, M.D. at Children’s National Medical Center, tired brains cause neurons to lose their ability to work- to form the connections needed to learn. Furthermore, there can be long-term cardiovascular and obesity effects from consistent lack of sleep in children.

A rare occurrence? Hardly – the number of young children considered at risk for these sleep problems is estimated to be more than 20-30%. There are now more than 40 accredited pediatric sleep centers nationally, but many parents do not seek medical help, because they think their child’s sleep issues are as much their problem as the child’s.

Pediatricians suggest a number of strategies for addressing your child’s sleep disturbance. One of the easiest first steps is to use a bedroom light that has a gradually fading light, which is nature’s way of engaging the body’s circadian rhythms to respond with sleep.

In a May 2012 journal, Harvard University researchers reported on ongoing research to  understand the range of health effects produced by increased exposure to light at night, especially blue light emitted by electronics, including smartphones and tablets.

According to the report, many studies have identified a broad spectrum of serious health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and several types of cancer as being linked to nighttime light exposure, especially when such exposure is a daily work environment.

Exposure to light suppresses melatonin, which is a hormone critical to regulating circadian rhythms and sleep/wake cycles. Increased exposure to light is part of the reason so many report poor sleep. Moreover, blue light, which is emitted by many electronics and energy-efficient bulbs, suppresses melatonin for almost twice as long as incandescent lights. In short, the quest for energy efficiencies in lighting will have a significant effect on health unless some adjustments are made. Some options are:

-Use incandescent or warm tone lights for evening reading. Avoid LED’s, especially those with a lot of blue light.

-Avoid using electronics or working night. If you must, wear blue-blocking glasses, such as Slumber Shades.

Everyone should be alert to unintended consequences from the benefit of light in the evening.  Energy efficiency savings are significant for everyone, but using them should not cost your health.

See: Blue Light Has a Dark Side http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2012/May/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

What’s on your back to school shopping list?

While shopping for pencils and notebooks, don’t forget to include a SunRise Clock. Of all the back to school items you might consider, this amazing clock has the most potential to improve your student’s readiness to learn, athletic performance, and academic success.

Research confirms the importance of a good night’s sleep for everyone, especially sleep deprived teenagers. Their biological clocks are naturally set to a relatively late sleep schedule. Add the nightly digital distractions that most teenagers love, and the National Sleep Foundation reports that only 20% of teenagers get sufficient sleep at night. Research confirms that teenagers are the last people who should be waking early, yet most have to arrive at school very early and stay late to fit sports practices and other activities into a crowded day.

While sleep challenges are likely to persist throughout the school year, September is the cruelest month. If teenagers follow their inclination and stay up late and sleep in all summer, going back to school can be, literally, a rude awakening. Teenagers accustomed to sleeping until noon will be way out of sync with the schedule they’ll need to follow in September. Many of those students will be sleeping in class and drinking coffee and energy drinks to try to stay awake.
You probably can’t fight the school schedule, but you can help smooth your teenager’s transition from summer sleep patterns to the September school schedule. SunRise Clocks are an effective remedy for that too-early school bus. They mimic a natural sunrise each morning, and the gradually brightening light will wake your student naturally, helping them start the day with more energy and alertness. Parents also love the fact that the SunRise Clock wakes teens so effectively, avoiding the need for those nagging wake up calls and morning arguments that can leave the whole family starting the day in a bad mood.

It’s almost fall, and some of us are experiencing the fall funkies, the winter blues, or just the blahs, which increase as you experience less daylight and more gray days – a natural response actually, but not one that needs to overwhelm you. Get control of the seasonal cycle this time by using a light box or visor for your lux therapy, and a dawn simulator to help reprogram your body’s clock.

Let us know how we can help you with your fall/winter blues!

And, check out what our friends at Best New Alarm Clocks.com have to say about the SunRise Alarm Clock in Charcoal, and post your own review!

Really great product, good company
This is a super product that provides a great way to wake up in the mornings. We wake up much easier and more refreshed with the Sunrise Clock. Great find.”

“Before buying the BioBrite clock, I read in one of the earlier reviews that the method of programming the clock was rather complex– This is not true.”

“I received my BioBrite a month ago and have been using it ever since. It’s fairly easy to set up and works really well for me.”

“What a fabulous alternative to a shrill alarm jarring you awake out of a deep slumber. The Biobrite is a sunrise clock that really works.”

“I have one window to my bedroom and not much light gets in at all. Before i got this when I woke up I had no idea if it was 6AM or 10AM.”

…And many more…