When people think of depression they usually imagine an adult. However depression and anxiety can affect children as well. One type of depression that affects both adults and children is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is sometimes not recognized right away because the depression comes and goes according to the seasons. Some external factors that can trigger S.A.D are cold and dark weather or the chaos of holidays or the loneliness from not seeing friends because of school break. Clinical factors can also play a role in this specific type of depression.
The specific cause of S.A.D is still unknown. However Mayo Clinic has stated that the sudden decrease of sunlight in Fall and Winter could be a possible cause. The decrease in daylight can also cause a decrease in serotonin levels. Serotonin is nicknamed the “Happy Hormone” this chemical in the brain can affect many aspects of a persons life. Including the following.
If a child is acting different for example having a decreased appetite, not sleeping well, sleeping too much, acting grumpy or having new troubles in school these could be signs of S.A.D. If your child or children have any of these troubles especially during Fall or Winter it might be time to speak with a pediatrician.
The right hand hormone to serotonin is melatonin. This hormone is nicknamed the “Sleep Hormone”. The production of this hormone is signaled by darkness. With it becoming darker earlier in Fall and Winter the body might produce too much melatonin making a child feel sluggish. This sudden increase in melatonin can also cause a person’s moods to change.
People who have symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are advised to spend time in the sunlight. Daylight can increase the production of serotonin which can possibly decrease the affects of S.A.D.
Again if you notice your child has depression during certain seasons speak with your pediatrician so your son or daughter can receive the best care.
Do you have a new pup or older dog in the family? Was New Years Eve filled with whines as your little “mans best friend” hid under the bed out of fear? Or does your dog have patches of fur falling out? If yes then melatonin supplements might help.
These supplements come in a few forms. These include tablets, liquids, capsules or powder. Plain tablet form is the most recommended for dogs simply hide it in their food. This supplement “kicks in” with in 10-15 minutes and can last eight hours. This can be given when dog is anxious or for long period of time under direction of your vet.
The benefits of melatonin include:
- Help with insomnia without causing drowsiness
- Helps puppies who have sensitive hearing deal with “scary” noises
- Can help regrow fur
If your puppy or old timer have these few issues speak with your veterinarian about melatonin supplements. If they agree to try this medication check out World Wide Labs for an all natural option.
Last month we had an article on Five Bedtime Snacks To Help You Sleep.
This article is all about bedtime beverages that can soothe your mind to help you drift off to dream land.
Bedtime Beverages and their Benefits
Natural Tea Brew- Simmering three to four lettuce leaves for 15 minutes and adding mint leaves can be a calming natural tea. Lettuce has lactucarium a natural chemical which has a sedative affect. Sipping this brew might help you ease into sleep.
Cherry Juice – Researchers from the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester discovered that tart cherries can spike the production of melatonin. This hormone is the natural hormone in our brains that produces sleep. Drinking a glass of tart cherry juice can cause a boost of melatonin which can help you fall asleep.
Peppermint Tea- Peppermint is known to have stomach soothing properties. If you have anxiety and it is causing nausea and trouble sleeping try sipping peppermint tea to calm the butterflies and get a goodnight’s rest.
Chamomile Tea- The most popular bedtime tea is chamomile. Researchers have discovered that this tea has a chemical named glycine which can relax muscles and nerves. It is similar to a mild sedative which can help the drinker who sips this tea to fall asleep more peacefully.
Passion Fruit Tea- Researchers in Australia discovered that high levels of Harman alkaloids found in passion fruit flowers can act on the nervous system to make a person tired. Sipping this sweet herbal tea an hour before bedtime can possibly help you sleep more soundly.
If you have trouble sleeping try these beverages before bedtime. If they help feel free to share your story in the comments. If your sleeping troubles persist speak with your doctor. If the doctor suggests melatonin supplements check out World Wide Labs for an all natural option.
There have been many studies on how to get a better nights sleep. We know that being too full or too hungry can disrupt the night. The brain uses many hormones and chemicals to induce sleep. These mainly include melatonin and tryptophan. These following snack ideas from Daily Medical and Readers Digest can help these chemicals activate and help your mind drift off to dreamland.
Snacks and Their Bedtime Benefits
Bananas – This underestimated yellow fruit is full of potassium, tryptophan, and magnesium. These three elements together work as muscle relaxers which can help the body be ready for sleep.
Fish- You can be humming ,”Just keep sleeping, just keep sleeping…” into your pillow if you eat tuna, halibut or salmon. These fish are packed with vitamin B6. Your body needs this vitamin to be able to produce melatonin and seratonin which are important chemicals for the brain.
Pistachios- This fun to open nut is also a great source of B6. Which like with the fish this vitamin helps create melatonin in the brain which helps the body fall asleep.
Walnuts – This powerful little nut has tryptophan (an amino acid that enhances sleep by helping produce the hormone melatonin which signals sleep). University of Texas researchers even found that walnuts contain their own supply of melatonin.
Almonds- These smooth nuts provide magnesium, which is a mineral that can provide a higher sleep quality. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine published a study that discovered that low magnesium levels can disrupt sleep.
Give these bedtime snacks a try and see if you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Share your results in the comments. Remember if you have severe insomnia to consult your doctor.
Reader’s Digest Online
There have been conversations at the breakfast table of family members sharing stories of the strange dreams they had the night before. Dreams happen because of Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep. It is when the brain is most active during sleep. this brain scan shows the difference in activity between NREM and REM sleep.
The Huffington Post wrote a news article about how and why melatonin supplements can increase the vividness and strangeness of dreams. (Dream Article) This article stated that people who start taking melatonin are usually those having trouble sleeping. They are not used to the increased REM sleep and therefore notice odd dreams. This post also stated that a majority of dreams are abnormal. It mentioned that the increased brain activity creates more lifelike dreams that the dreamer can remember. If you are taking melatonin and your dreams are becoming bothersome you can decrease the dosage.
Dreams will decrease in intensity once the body and mind are adjusted to the new increased amount of REM sleep. A caution to those with diagnosed insomnia talk with your doctor about treatments. The Melatonin supplement is not meant for severe insomnia it is meant for graveyard shift workers & those recovering from the symptoms of jet lag.
Melatonin can truly help those who are trying to adjust to new sleeping schedules. Dreams can be a new fun side effect. If you have taken melatonin and enjoy the new more vivid dreams feel free to share your story in the comments below. Also check out Worldwide Labs for an all natural melatonin supplement if you would like help in getting a good night’s sleep. Remember to always speak with your primary doctor before starting any supplements.
With school just starting some families might still be struggling to get back into the school year bedtime routine. If you are a parent with a child who wants to stay up late and then struggles during the school day here are some tips that might help you get back to a schedule.
At least a week before school starts, get back to school-year bedtimes
- Many schools are already in session. Though this is a good idea for holiday breaks. Even though kids will want to stay up late during school holidays make sure they get the sleep they need and stick to a schedule so they will not be out of sync when school returns.
No electronics within an hour before bedtime
- Have a rule to turn off all devices one hour before bedtime. Do not stay up watching movies. Maybe choose to read a calming book or talk about each child’s favorite part of the day as part of a routine to wind down for the evening.
Have a predictable, consistent bedtime routine
- Humans are creatures of habit. If you create a consistent, enjoyable and calming routine, children’s minds will start to relax and produce melatonin (hormone that produces sleep) to prepare for bed. Routines can be simple and classic or special to your family. For example the hour before bedtime read a chapter from a book, then have kids take a bath, put on pajamas, brush teeth and then say goodnight. You can add anything you want to a bedtime routine to make it special and unique.
Darkness is key
- Creating a dark environment is important for melatonin creation. When there is light the brain believes it is day and sends signals to stay awake. Having a dark room to aid sleep might be hard for some children who are afraid of the dark. As many parents know having a simple dim night light can help calm these fears.
Limit caffeine (or sugar) in the evening hours
- Caffeine and sugar are natural stimulants and can cause a child’s mind to stay active when bedtime comes around. Dessert is fun but make sure to serve these yummy treats a few hours before bedtime and create a limit of one serving per child.
Calculate the best bedtime
- Research how many hours of sleep your child needs at their age. Look at when school starts and decide when children need to be awake in the morning to have enough time to get ready for school. Then use these figures to decide the best bedtime for your children.
Get the temperature right
- The best temperature for a good night sleep is between 68 and 70 degrees. Use a fan or AC to keep children’s bedrooms at a comfortable sleeping temperature.
Get a white-noise machine
- A consistent white-noise machine , that is not too loud, can help mask outside noises that might wake up a child.
Keep an eye on wake-up times
- Make rules about getting out of bed. Sometimes children wake up too early and have not received enough rest. Help children understand when to go to bed and when to wake up by adding a large digital clock to their bedroom.
Involve kids in the process of creating a bedtime routine
- Kids are more willing to agree to rules when they help create them. Add unique bedtime activities that match your child’s hobbies and personality. For example quiet color time, brush teeth to music, bedtime yoga, glass of milk or water etc. There are hundreds of ideas for creating fun bedtime routines found on Pinterest. You can click this link to get ideas Pinterest Bedtime Ideas
Hopefully these tips help make bedtime run more smoothly. If your child continues to have trouble sleeping, speak with a pediatrician to see if melatonin supplements can help your child fall asleep more peacefully.
With Autumn around the corner the seasonal changes are coming. These can be exciting times. Fall brings pumpkin flavored everything, colorful leaves, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Then Winter presents us with snowfall, snowmen, Holiday decorations lighting up the streets and fireworks as we welcome in the new year. These things can be exciting. Though for some people seasonal change can bring on Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
Mayo Clinic defines SAD as, “A type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.”
The question is what causes this specific type of depression? Mayo Clinic stated, “The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include”
- Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
- Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
- Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
The fact that low melatonin levels can be a factor of causing SAD is a reason that some doctors prescribe melatonin supplements to help with the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you feel depressed during the Fall or Winter or even Spring and Summer talk to your doctor. If your therapist or primary doctor suggests a melatonin supplement click this Link to learn about the all natural Melatonin supplement from Worldwide Labs.
There are many reasons to travel to new time zones. Such as business, family vacation, romantic getaway or a competition. Whatever your reason for travel don’t let jet lag get in the way. There are several side effects of jet lag that can ruin a trip.
Side effects can include the following: fatigue, headache, insomnia, dizziness, upset stomach, reduced appetite, and tiredness. No one wants to experience these downers while traveling and visiting beautiful landmarks.
The following are some tips on how to survive jet lag and truly enjoy your far off travels. These tips are from an article found on EZ Cycling News
- If travelling more than 4 time zones westward or more than 3 times zones eastward, try to arrive at your destination at least 1 day early for each time zone crossed prior to your event.
- Preset sleep/wake cycles to the destination time zone several days prior to departing. For eastward travel, sleep and wake earlier. For westward travel, sleep and wake later.
- If one is prone to insomnia after arrival, then taking a prescribed sedative medication like zopiclone will help one fall and stay asleep. Some people may also find melatonin works in a similar way.
- Light therapy/phototherapy (eg. Litebook, Lumie, etc.) can be used. Most products have web-based calculators to help determine when light exposure should be scheduled depending the departure and arrival destination.
Like tip three states melatonin might be helpful to calm the mind to be able to fall asleep. The best time to take melatonin is one hour before the desired time to fall asleep. Talk to a healthcare professional to see if melatonin could be the right choice for you for your next international adventure.
If your doctor does suggest melatonin check out Worldwide Labs for the Jet Lag Kit.
Are you up at night staring at the ceiling wishing you could fall asleep? Or are you so stressed about the next day that you are too wired to lay down your head and dream? If you have these struggles here are Eight Tips to help you sleep better.
One Stick to A Schedule. Set a schedule of when to go to sleep and when to wake up each day. Work to stay on this schedule and your body will learn to follow this habit. It will learn when to release sleep hormones to make you more relaxed and ready for bed.
Two Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Diet can have an affect on your quality of sleep. Being too full or too hungry can keep you awake. Also avoid alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine before bed as these chemicals can cause disruption to your sleep.
Three Create a bedtime routine. Humans are creatures of habit. If you set a bedtime routine your body will recognize this. Having a list of things you do before you go to bed can help your mind relax. For example obviously brushing your teeth is a part of the bedtime routine. Though maybe you can add other special tasks for example putting on lotion or reading to your kids etc. If you are a parent of young children having a bedtime routine set for them can make all the difference. It can help you and them sleep better which can create better mornings and clearer minds. This can create greater success at work and school.
Four Get comfortable! Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep. Have comfortable pillows, seasonal blankets, fan/heater etc. If you need to put up dark curtains, and have white noise machines. Also make sure your bedroom is only a bedroom. Do not have your office there. Also do not use your laptops or other devices in bed. This can confuse the mind thinking bed is for work or play and will send the signals to stay awake rather than the signals for sleep.
Five Limit daytime naps. This one is important if you want to set good sleeping habits. If you do take a nap make sure it is only between ten to thirty minutes. If you are a night shift worker obviously these rules are different for you. If you need to sleep in the day set good alarms and also have dark curtains so you can fully fall asleep.
Six Include physical activity in your daily routine. Have an active lifestyle but remember to not exercise too close to the time you want to go to sleep. Being active during the day will help your mind and body wind down at night.
Seven Manage Stress. Too much stress can cause disruption to sleep. A helpful tip is to write down everything that is causing you stress. Or to write a to do list for the next day. That way the things that were on your mind are now on a piece of paper (or in a note app).
Eight Know when to see a doctor. If your sleep is being severely disturbed or disrupted talk to your doctor about possible treatment.
In this digital world many families spend too much time watching T.V or playing on tablets and smartphones. These are not evil devices though they can cause damage to health.
“A child needs eight hours of peaceful sleep daily to remain fit and active. Excessive addiction to mobile phones distracts the mind and disturbs his or her sleep-wake cycle.” (DailyMail) With this distraction causes a decrease in melatonin, this is the natural chemical in the brain that is released to tell the mind and body to relax and go to sleep.The blue light from devices makes the mind believe it is daytime, so it does not release the needed amount of melatonin to sleep even though it is late at night.
Parents with young children should take note that screen time late at night can change sleeping patterns. This can cause problems in focusing at school. Parents should encourage kids to play outside during the day and to turn off all devices at least one hour before bedtime. By doing this a child can create better sleeping habits. By receiving the eight to ten hours of sleep needed a child’s performance in school and their daily attitude can improve greatly.
This benefit was stated by Dr Geetha Srinivasan, (senior consultant, pediatric ophthalmology, ICARE Hospital) who said, “…cutting back on tech use at night means getting better sleep, making people more productive at both work and school.”
For parents with children with insomnia, ADHD or Autism should look into creating new habits as well. Though if bedtime routines and cutting back screen time does not improve the quality of sleep of their child parents can consult doctors about melatonin supplements.
Melatonin supplements simply increase the natural chemical melatonin to help children, teens and adults naturally fall asleep. To learn more about melatonin and children click this link. http://bit.ly/MelatoninAndChildren
(Natural Health 365)