Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Health Experts: A shut-eye starved child is nothing to sleep on

A good night's sleep is as important to your child as a hearty breakfast. Without enough shut-eye, children are more likely to struggle with their school studies, do poorly on the playing field, and suffer depression.

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), children are getting less than the recommended amount of sleep over a 24-hour period. This can make it tough for your child to solve problems and memorize lessons, which can lower grades and self-esteem.

Sleep-starved kids are also more easily frustrated and fidgety. A child's sleep trouble affects the whole family. Parents who are up coaxing a child to bed are robbed of their own valuable sleep.

The best cure is a consistent bedtime schedule. Stick to a bedtime that permits this amount of nightly sleep:
  • 11 to 13 hours for a 3- to 5-year-old child. Preschoolers often have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Children this age also are more likely to have nightmares and sleep terrors, and to sleepwalk.
  • 10 to 11 hours for a school-aged child. Schoolchildren spend time with TV, computers, and the Internet, all of which can erode time for sleep. This age group also may be drinking caffeinated beverages that can affect the ease of falling asleep at night. Watching TV just before bedtime may make it more difficult to fall asleep and may create resistance or anxiety about bedtime. Too little sleep can lead to mood swings, and behavioral and cognitive problems.
If the current bedtime for your child is too late, move it 15 minutes earlier each night, until you reach the desired bedtime. Tuck resisters back into their own beds, promptly and repeatedly, until they get the message that you expect them to get to sleep on their own.

Sound Advice for Sound Sleep

  • Unplug : Turn off TVs, computers, and cell phones. Better yet, keep such things out of the bedroom, which should be a stimulation-free zone.
  • Wind down: Start the transition to sleep with dimmed lights and a warm bath; end with reading a book. Avoid watching TV just before bedtime.
  • Decaffeinate: Drinking any caffeine during the day can affect sound sleep. Caffeine is found not just in coffee and cola, but also in tea and chocolate.
  • Decompress: Overbooked kids who rush from band practice to dance class to dinner to homework may be too keyed up at bedtime to unwind. Experts recommend one activity per season.
  • Get help: If, despite these measures, your child still resists bedtime, has nighttime awakenings, or snores, talk with your doctor.
The sleep experts at Hackensack Meridian Health K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital can help determine if your child has a sleep disorder, or another type of neurological condition. Hackensack Meridian Health K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital offers the region's first pediatric sleep program, backed by research and dedication from our physicians and nurses. Learn more here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Adrian Pristas, M.D. talks with Two River Times about sleep apnea severity and treatment

According to the National Sleep Foundation, some 18 million Americans now struggle with sleep apnea - a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that has been linked to heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, blood clots and diabetes.

Two River Times recently spoke with Adrian Pristas, M.D., Medical Director of Sleep Medicine for Hackensack Meridian Health, to help convey both the severity of sleep apnea and the scope of treatment options available to patients.

“Sleep apnea is a relatively common disorder of breathing that occurs during sleep where the posterior air way collapses during certain stages of sleep and causes a cessation of breathing for at least 10 seconds or more,” says Dr. Pristas in the Two River Times piece, "A Snorer's Alarming Affliction: Sleep Apnea."

Read the complete Two River Times piece featuring Adrian Adrian Pristas, M.D., Medical Director of Sleep Medicine for Hackensack Meridian Health, here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Adrian Pristas, M.D., Medical Director of Meridian's Sleep Medicine Program, hits the WOBM airwaves

Adrian Pristas, M.D., Medical Director of Meridian's Sleep Medicine Program, now part of the Hackensack Meridian Health family, hit the WOBM airwaves recently to talk about how a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining overall health and well-being.

During the interview, Dr. Pristas was asked how someone might distinguish the occasional poor night's sleep from a potentially serious sleep issue posing legitimate health concerns.

"Everyone is allowed about 15 minutes after waking up in the morning to feel a little grumpy, groggy. But in general, you should wake up in the morning feeling pretty good," Dr. Pristas says. "You should be waking up most days feeling alert and well rested. If you're not; if you're consistently tired throughout the day or find yourself nodding off in the afternoon, that could be a red flag."

To learn more about Meridian Centers for Sleep Medicine, please visit MeridianWellRested.com or call 844-GetURZZ.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Join us for 'Power of an Hour' Nov. 5 at Freehold Raceway Mall

It’s the gift that comes once a year - an extra hour of precious sleep. You’ll hear few complaints when that biannual ritual known as daylight savings time comes to a close, but if you are truly looking to wake up refreshed with more energy to face the day, you might want to rethink spending that extra hour in bed once the sun comes up.

Join us at Freehold Raceway Mall on Saturday, November 5 from 9 a.m. to noon for our second annual Power of an Hour event. This interactive and fun event is designed to help you maximize that extra hour of sleep, so you can wake to a brighter tomorrow.

From nutrition tips and relaxation techniques, to designing a healthy sleep environment, our sleep experts will share the tools and latest advances in sleep medicine that will help you seize the night…so you can seize the day. This event is free, so register today by calling 1-800-DOCTORS.

Register here, and for more information, please visit: MeridianHealth.com/TunedIntoYourHealth.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Feeling short-changed on shut eye? You're not alone.

Short-changed on shut eye? You're not alone, as more than 83 million Americans are now reported to be lacking sleep.

While some may be worried about "sleeping their life away," a new study finds that about one-third of Americans have the opposite problem, snoozing less than the recommended seven hours per night.

And while the resulting drowsiness can contribute to accidents, anxiety, depression and lost productivity, the less immediate health effects raise even greater cause for concern.

“Overtime, lack of sleep alters your hormones and metabolism, increasing your risk for diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease,” says Jeffrey Miskoff, D.O., a pulmonologist at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

To find out where you and the sandman stand, try keeping a 10-day sleep journal. Be sure to log when you fall asleep and wake up, and include any naps as well. And don't forget to discuss your sleep habits with your doctor.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Healthy Sleep: First of Five 'Pillars of Health and Wellness'

We know that healthy sleep is one of the key components of integrative medicine, but at its essence, what does "integrative" health really entail?

Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, administrative director of Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine, recently stopped by  94.3 The Point to help answer that very question.

"When we talk about integrative health and medicine, we're talking about an umbrella term for all of the complimentary therapies that we bring into conventional medicine," Knutson says. "We call it 'integrative' because it's a combination of traditional Western medicine and other treatments such as massage, acupuncture, movement therapy, and more."

Sleep is one of the "five pillars of health and wellness" comprising the essence of Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine, along with nutrition, activity, resilience and purpose, according to Knutson.

Listen to Knutson's interview with 94.3 The Point to learn more about Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine and the five pillars of health and wellness.

Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine is a comprehensive health and wellness program designed to foster healthy alignment of body, mind and spirit. For more information, visit MeridianIntegrativeMedicine.com.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Your Cell Phone: The Good, the Bad, and the Happy Medium

Keys? Check.

Wallet or purse? Check.

Personal, pocket sized, all knowing, all powerful super computer? Check.

If you’re like many adults in the U.S., you don’t ever leave home without your smartphone.

These mobile marvels can connect people all over the world, entertain them, and boost productivity into the stratosphere.

Thanks to the seemingly cosmic expansion of 21st century technology, we can now talk to anyone, learn anything and transport anywhere in what feels like the blink of an eye. 

However, because smartphone technology is relatively new, the positive and negative impact these modern marvels may have on long-term health is largely still a mystery, and this realm of seemingly superhuman connectivity could be coming at a price, gradually grinding away at some of our most fundamental human needs.

The Good

Smart phone apps can be global-positioning devices, music players, game consoles, and even pocket sized personal trainers.

Your phone may help you eat better. You may already have a favorite website or app for healthy recipes. But you can also use your phone to record the foods you eat — much like a food journal. It’s easy and convenient, and one study found that people who used their phones instead of paper and pen for this purpose were more likely to stick with their diet plan.

Your phone may keep you moving. You can use it to track your physical activity. Research shows such apps are quite accurate in their step counts and distance measurements. They can also motivate you with instant feedback and goal setting. What’s more, people who use their phones to listen to music while they exercise report liking the activity more.

Your phone may help lower stress. In just a few clicks, you can download soothing music or nature sounds. Or try some yoga. Its physical movements and breathing techniques may help you relax.

The Bad

Despite its seemingly superhuman capabilities, your smartphone may not always be good for you.

Your phone can be a distraction. Whether driving or walking outdoors, pack away your phone. You are less likely to pay attention to your surroundings when using it. And your reaction time won’t be as quick. You may want to skip it while exercising, too. Although music may energize you while working out, talking and texting have been shown to reduce exercise intensity and duration.

Your phone may make you anxious. Keeping up with social media, text messaging, and other alerts can be overwhelming. In fact, one study of a group of college students found heavy cell phone users were more likely to be anxious and unhappy. They also tended to have lower grade-point averages.

Your phone may disrupt your sleep. Just like a television or computer, your phone’s glowing screen may keep you up at night. Such artificial sources of light can mess with your body’s natural sleep cycle. Plus, constant alerts can interrupt your slumber.

The Happy Medium

With a small computer always in your pocket, it can be hard to disconnect. Too much phone time may cause physical problems, too. Try adjusting your phone use with these healthy habits:

Turn your phone off at night. Or at least put it on mute. Also limit the amount of screen time before bedtime. Playing games or texting may make it hard for you to relax.

Take frequent breaks.
Too much texting or similar activities can cause overuse pain in fingers and wrists. Your eyes can also become strained from looking at the screen too long.

Turn down the sound.
If you use earphones or ear buds to listen to music from your phone, a loud volume setting can quickly damage your hearing.

Plan some no phone time.
Nearly half of smartphone users say they can’t live without their phones.