Professor Andrew Coogan, a behavioral neuroscientist specializing in sleep, talks to Ciara King about back-to-school sleep habits, side-sleeping on the weekends, naps, and sleep disturbances. Please go back up and ask.
Returning children to school-time sleep routines can result in sleepless nights for parents and caregivers. After a late bedtime during the summer, is there an easy way to make changes? According to sleep behavioral neuroscientist Professor Andrew Coogan, the answer is gradual.
Andrew spoke to Ciara King, who stood in for Ray Darcy, about good sleep habits for kids, teenagers and adults. Andrew also shares some tips for recognizing the difference between strange sleepless nights and problems that may indicate sleep disturbances.
Research shows that we in Ireland aren’t the worst sleepers in the world, Coogan says.But many of us don’t get the best results quality Not prioritizing sleep
“Sleep is kind of pushed to the side.”
With the big reset just around the corner, Ciara asks what’s the best way to get everyone back into their back-to-school routines effortlessly. Andrew says that while waking up at a set time isn’t an option, choosing to go to bed early can make it easier for everyone.
“When we go back to school, back to college, back to work, what we lose control of is when we wake up. What we can control is when we go to bed. So maybe we should shift when we go to bed a little earlier. And start now by the time your kids go back to school. “
Coogan advises that gradual changes work better than sudden changes. If your bedtimes were more casual over the summer, slowly change them back so the back-to-school changes aren’t too drastic.
“Don’t try to do it all at once. Do it in 10 minutes or so. It’s easy to get back on track.”
As an adult, you need an average of seven to eight hours of sleep, but this varies by age and individual, sleep experts say. As you transition from childhood to teenage years, your sleep habits will change.
“When you’re a teenager, your sleep timing changes. So, if you’re 16 and you’re naturally waking up at 7am, you’re going to wake up at noon. It’s not that teens are lazy.” It’s their bodies. It’s what they do and it’s part of adolescence. “
Coogan says that while parenthood can affect sleep, it’s not a long-term problem.
“If you have a little baby in the house, that means you have a little baby in the house. But if there’s no such reason, , if you can put your finger on it, it could be a bad cycle you’re stuck in, and there’s help available to break that cycle. .”
Watch out for uncontrolled naps during the day and constant lightheadedness and moodiness. These could indicate a problem, says Andrew. If you don’t suffer from these problems long-term, don’t worry.
“If you don’t feel overly tired during the day. If you can’t sleep. If you don’t plan to nap during the day. it’s okay.”
Occasional sleeplessness is normal, says Coogan, but if sleep problems persist for more than a month, you may need professional help.
“If the symptoms persist, if they recur, it’s probably time for a discussion. Talking to your GP is probably your best contact.”
Good news for those who prefer to lie down on weekends. It’s not necessarily bad for you, Andrew says, and we’re just paying off the “sleep debt” we built up during the week.
“Ideally, we would not have to oversleep on weekends, but we know that most of us don’t get enough sleep because we have to get up during the week.”
To some extent, sleep habits are hard-wired because they are determined by genes, says Andrew.
“We believe that 50% of sleep traits are related to our genes, and the other 50% are simply related to our circumstances, our lives and our environment.”
Even if there is a genetic component, there are many things we can do to improve our own sleep habits, says Professor Coogan.
“There are still many things we can do to get better sleep. Not everything is hardwired into our genes, so we are not powerless.”
Andrew talks about sleep apnea, bedroom screens, and discusses the question, “Should I nap or not?” Listen to the full interview above again.
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