Posts

A Nap Sounds Like a Good Idea

Have you taken a NAP lately?  Your schedule might be so jam-packed that you think “there’s no way I have time for a nap!” but you may want to reconsider.

Prevention Magazine’s Jacqueline Parisi has looked at the research on afternoon naps and she says a nap may benefit your productivity levels by increasing alertness, creativity, recall, and memory in the second half of your day.

 

Also, a well-timed nap (right after lunch rather than in the late afternoon) can also help you recover after a sleep-deprived night.

 

Prevention’s article on naps quotes Ben Greenfield, the author of “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health, and Life.”

Greenfield offers this advice on getting the most out of an afternoon nap.

Don’t use your alarm clock unless you have to.  As you develop a healthy napping habit, your body will naturally wake up in 20 to 60 minutes. Also, jolting awake at the sound of your alarm gives you an unnatural injection of stressful adrenaline and cortisol.

Time your naps. Try to nap seven to eight hours after you wake up, you’re your mind is often the least alert.

Don’t drink coffee before your nap. Even a tiny amount of caffeine in your system can mess with your sleep quality.

Don’t exercise immediately before napping. Finish your workout at least 45 minutes before the start of your nap to get the best results.

Eat before your nap. If you’re hungry when you go down for a nap, odds are you are not going to sleep very well, so try napping right after lunch.

And stick to a schedule. If possible, nap at the same time every day. That way, your body will become accustomed the napping routine.

For more advice on napping, see Jaqueline’s article at Prevention.com.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Why You Need to Talk to Your Kids About “Sexting”

Have you talked to your kids about “sexting?”  If not, perhaps it’s time to have that conversation.

Researchers from Drexel University surveyed college students about whether they had sent sexual text message during high school and they were startled by what they learned.

54% admitted to sending or receiving “sexually explicit text messages or images” when they were under the age of 18. Almost all of them said it was in the context of a romantic relationship or as a means of flirting.

Study author David DeMatteo says “We were shocked by the prevalence and the frequency of sexting among minors. We were struck by how many of those surveyed seem to think of sexting as a normal, standard way of interacting with their peers.”

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Southern California found that teens who send more than 100 texts a day are more likely to sext and to be sexually active.  In addition, kids who receive sexual text messages are six times more likely to report being sexually active.

Eric Rice at the USC School of Social Work says “Our results show that excessive, unlimited or unmonitored texting seems to enable sexting.”

Dr. Rice recommends that parents openly monitor their young teen’s cellphone, check in with them about who they’re communicating with, and even restrict the number of texts allowed per month.

By the way, if you find it difficult to talk to your kids about sexuality, here are two resources you may find helpful.  Psychologist Dr. Stan Jones and his wife Brenna have written a wonderful series of books called “God’s Design for Sex.”  You can read the books with your kids, and there is a specific book for each age range.

Also, youth expert Jim Burns has an outstanding book just for teens called “The Purity Code: Gods Plan for Sex and Your Body.”

And don’t wait—if YOU don’t teach your kids about sex, someone else will!

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

The Poop on Potty Training

Dear Dr. Bill,

 

I need some information on how to get our son potty-trained.  We’ve been trying since he turned two-years-old.  He seems afraid of sitting the regular toilet even though we try using a training seat for him.  He is just a bit over 2|1/2.  What should we do?

 

–George

 

Dear George,

 

Potty training is a messy subject, but it’s something a lot of parents get stressed out about.  One of reasons for the stress is pressure from family and friends.

 

You should know that the AVERAGE age for mastering toilet training is three.  That’s just an average, which means a lot of kids are trained closer to two, while others don’t reach this milestone until age four.

 

The toddler who succeeds in potty training is the one who WANTS to be trained.  Kids forced into potty training before they’re ready may develop a negative attitude that will only delay success.  Here are a few signs that can help you figure out if your son is ready:

 

Does he know when he is about to go?  This awareness will help him get started.

 

Are his bowel movements predictable?  Don’t laugh…regularity can help you figure out the times of day when potty training attempts are most likely to succeed.

 

Does he want to wear “big boy” underwear?  This is a sign of wanting to be independent.  Underwear can also serve as a reward for your son’s interest in toilet training.

 

Can he pull his pants down and pull them back up by himself?  This is important skill…it allows for easy access when he feels the urge to go.

 

You can find more potty training advice at focusonthefamily.com.

 

Thanks for writing, George.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Can Your Child’s Drawings Predict Their IQ Later in Life?

Can your child’s drawings predict his intelligence level later in life?  Researchers in England say “possibly.”

 

United Press International reports on a new study done at King’s College in London.  Researchers there followed 8,000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins over a period of 10 years.

 

When the kids in the study were 4-years-old, they were asked to draw a picture of a child.  Those same kids were given an IQ test 10 years later.

 

The study found that kids who drew more accurate and detailed pictures at 4 had higher scores on the IQ test at 14.

 

The quality of the 4-year-olds’ drawings was based on details, not how artistic they were.  The researchers looked to see if the kids had included features like a head, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, body, arms and so on.

Dr. Rosalind Arden, the lead author of the study says: “The correlation is moderate, so our findings are interesting, but it does not mean that parents should worry if their child draws badly.”

Dr. Arden points out that drawing ability does not determine intelligence, and that there are numerous other factors, both genetic and environmental, which affect intelligence later in life.

By the way, the researchers also found the quality of drawings and intelligence were more closely linked in the identical twins than the fraternal twins, which seems to suggest a genetic component.

I have to admit, I was VERY relieved to hear that the quality of your drawing doesn’t indicate your level of intelligence.  Because when I draw pictures for my kids, they just look at me and say “what is that, Dad?”

 

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

The Link Between What We Watch and What We Eat

There’s a link between what you watch and what you eat.

Most of us realize that snacking while watching TV isn’t a good idea, but it turns out that we’re more likely to binge on snacks when watching certain types of shows.

CBS News is reporting on a new study that found that people watching an action movie ate twice the amount of snacks as those watching an interview program.

The study at Cornell University involved college students who were split in three groups.

Each group was randomly assigned to watch either an excerpt from “The Island,” an action flick starring Scarlett Johansson; an identical excerpt from “The Island” but without the sound; or the interview program “The Charlie Rose Show.”

The subjects were provided with M&Ms, cookies, carrots and grapes to snack on while watching the shows. The researchers weighed the snacks before and after the experiment to see how much the people in each group had eaten.

Those who watched the action movie with sound on ate 206 grams of food — almost twice as much as those watching the interview program.

Interestingly, even the people who watched the action movie with no sound ate more than those who watched the interview show.

So what is it about action movies that makes viewers snack more?

Study author Aner Tal says “More stimulating programs that are fast paced and include many camera cuts, really draw you in and distract you from what you are eating. They can make you eat more because you’re paying less attention to how much you are putting in your mouth.”

So how can you avoid overeating during your favorite action movie? The researchers suggest pre-portioning your TV snacks, instead of bringing out a whole bag of chips or a box of cookies.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Sleep Drunkenness

Could you be suffering from “sleep drunkenness?”

Researchers at Stanford University believe that as many as 1 in 7 adults suffer from a sleep condition known as confusional arousal or more commonly as “sleep drunkenness.”

According to science.blog,com, as many as 36 million Americans experience this potentially problematic sleep condition, in which they are awakened suddenly in a confused state and may be prone to inappropriate behavior, poor decision-making, or even violence.

Stanford psychiatrist and sleep expert Maurice Ohayon was surprised at the extent of the problem and particularly the length of time that people reported feeling confused and disoriented following a sudden awakening.

He told Science Blog “When you ask people, 60 percent said it lasted more than 5 minutes. And one third said it was 15 minutes or more. A lot of things can happen in that time.”

Dr. Ohayan noted that the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, the worst nuclear incident in U.S. history, was made worse by poor decision-making on the part of an engineer who had been awakened suddenly from a nap.

He also cautioned that airline pilots, who may nap during a break, may not be fully efficient for 5 or 10 minutes after being awakened and should take their time before resuming control of an aircraft.

Among those who are most prone to confusional arousal are those with sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or those who sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours a night.  The researchers found it is also more common in people with certain psychiatric disorders, such as major depression, anxiety and alcohol dependence.

By the way, more than a third of the people in the study who experienced the problem reported having hallucinations, and 15 percent reported sleep-walking, sometimes accompanied by violent behavior toward the person who woke them up.

Yikes—I better make sure I don’t wake up my wife when she’s taking her Sunday afternoon nap!

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.