Monday, August 25, 2014

Later School Times Suggested by American Academy of Pediatrics

Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington has recently submitted a policy statement requesting that school districts delay starting times for morning classes.
Recent research has shown that adolescents who get enough sleep have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life. Studies have shown that delaying early school start times is one key factor that can help adolescents get the sleep they need.

Many school districts are debating the change; the Long Beach, California, school board voted last year to delay the start of middle school until 9 a.m. But it’s a complex issue with school boards, educators and parents struggling to balance bus schedules, after-school activities and work schedules for older students. 

Nonetheless, Owens says biology should trump convenience. She notes that when teenagers go into puberty, there are changes in their circadian rhythm, the body's natural clock that regulates sleep and wake patterns. At the beginning of adolescence there is a natural delay in sleep and wake times, so that the average teenager doesn't fall asleep until around 11 pm.
 However, they also need between eight and nine hours of sleep per night so they are biologically programmed to wake at around 8am, when they're already in first period class. Teens often sleep in over the weekend, and many teen habits make it even harder to fall asleep which makes matters worse. But parents can help: it's especially important to set limits on the nighttime use of electronics. Studies have shown that the light from an tablet or cell phone can keep the brain in a waking, excited state. Quick naps late in the afternoon for 20 minutes or so can take the edge off and temporarily restore alertness.

A separate study published this month in the Journal of Pediatrics found that teenagers who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to become obese. Shakira Suglia of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and colleagues found that about a fifth of the 16-year-olds reported getting less than six hours of sleep a night, in a survey of 10,000 teens and young adults. Those with less sleep were 20 percent more likely to be obese by age 21, compared to their peers who got more than eight hours of sleep

 “Lack of sleep in your teenage years can stack the deck against you for obesity later in life,” Suglia said in a statement. “Once you’re an obese adult, it is much harder to lose weight and keep it off. And the longer you are obese, the greater your risk for health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.”

Read more:
Teen Sleeplessness Piles on Risk for Obesity

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


THE SLEEP EDUCATION CONSORTIUM (S.E.C.) is Excited to Announce the Start of the A.W.A.K.E. GREATER HOUSTON Monthly Patient Advocacy Group for Individuals Suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Other Sleep Disorders.

A.W.A.K.E. is a national patient advocacy group sponsored by the American Sleep Apnea Association. Its mission is to increase awareness and education about Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
The A.W.A.K.E. GREATER HOUSTON chapter will meet monthly on a rotating cycle of three locations: the Houston Medical Center, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land. Meetings will start with patient discussion, followed by a brief interactive lecture about varying sleep disorders. These lectures will be given by local sleep specialists and will encourage patient Sleep Disorders. and education about Obstructive Sleep Apnea. involvement in the topics discussed.

The first meeting will be on Tuesday, August 26, 2014
At Comprehensive Sleep Medicine Associates
15423 Creek Bend Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Patient Discussion Begins – 6:30 P.M.
Physician presentations:
Overview of Obstructive Sleep Apnea – 7:00 P.M.
Dental Appliances as an alternative treatment to CPAP – 7:20 P.M.
Discussion will follow the conclusion of the lectures.

RSVP by calling 281-269-7881 or by sending an email to