More on Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain.

More and more evidence is surfacing connecting weight gain with not sleeping enough.

One way of helping the people of Haiti

The horrific earthquake which devastated Haiti this past Tuesday evening has left most of us with a desire to help the people of that country, some way, some how.One organization which I'd like to recommend donating to is Partners in Health (

Do Later Bedtimes Increase Risk of Teen Depression, Suicide?

A new study published in the January 2010 issue of SLEEP looking at the effect of bedtimes set by parents on mood in 15,659 7-12th graders found that the later a child's bedtime was set, the more likely the child was to have symptoms of depression and/or suicidal thoughts. 

One of my favorite books of 2009

As 2009 is drawing down, I find myself thinking about some of the books I've read this last year. One of the most moving was "Six Months in Sudan" by Dr. James Maskalyk, an Emergency Medicine physician from Toronto, Canada, who joined Doctors without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers after completing his training and spent six months at a hospital in Abyei, Sudan.

Don't ignore that snore!

Snoring, choking, gasping, and pauses in breathing while sleeping: all signs of obstructive sleep apnea, a common disorder thought to affect up to 1 in 5 adults (and 3% of children). Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat collapses inward during sleep, resulting in blockage of air flow to the lungs. 

New medical innovation exactly what our health system needs

What would you say if you heard about a new test for a common yet serious and largely underdiagnosed medical disorder which can accurately identify children in need of treatment at a fraction of the cost of the existing test, and can be done on a urine sample instead of requiring an overnight stay at a laboratory as currently required? 

Why make it difficult to help save lives?

While it is still unclear what health care reform will look like in this country, or whether the attempts to bring it about will even succeed, I can only hope that it will include provisions to help facilitate enrollment in stem cell and bone marrow registries, which save the lives of children and adults with cancer and other lethal diseases.

Does sleeping in on weekends keep your weight down?

The connection between insufficient sleep and overweight and obesity in all ages is well recognized.  So if kids aren't getting enough sleep during the week, does letting them sleep in on weekends keep them from becoming overweight? It may.

It's bad to wake a sleeping baby: fact or fiction?

New parents are often told: sleeping babies, like dogs, should be left in peace. Not all advice, it turns out, is worth following...

On God, ghosts, normal and abnormal

Last April I posted about a child and mother I saw in clinic who, while I was taking a history, told me very matter-of-factly about a ghost who inhabited their house. This piece was recently put on the main webpage of Psychology Today, and generated comments from several readers.

Can giving infants pumped breast milk disrupt their sleep?

Many nursing mother pump breast milk for their babies once they return to work. A recent study published in the journal "Nutritional Neuroscience" found a definite pattern to when the levels of certain substances (nucleotides) in breast milk were higher and lower, and that those known to induce sleep were higher in breast milk produced during night.

No napping on Rosh Hashana

According to the Talmud, one should not sleep during the day on Rosh Hashanah...

Poor sleep increases the risk of infection

I recently came across a study published this year in the Archives of Internal Medicine looking at the association between sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. 

Going viral

These last couple of days I have witnessed firsthand one of the cooler and more intriguing aspects of the internet: watching how something relatively obscure suddenly heats up and gets a lot of notice, for no apparent reason...

Getting the kids to bed and staying there, withOUT a fight

A reader wrote:I have an 8 and a 5 year old. I have not really kept them on a schedule and now that they are both in school I am trying to get them on a bed time schedule and it is not working. They find every reason in the book to get up...

Exercise more and get a better night's sleep

A very interesting study appeared in the Journal of Adolescent Health this week, looking at the effect of exercise on the quality of sleep in teenagers. The researchers found that those who exercised more had better sleep quality, needed less time to fall asleep at night, and had fewer awakenings during the night. 

Watching TV Leads to Obesity

A recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the more hours spent watching television, the more likely children were to be both fatter and less physically active.

Keeping yourself naturally healthy

Live culture yoghurt, chock full of probiotic bacteria, can help protect against getting sick. 

I dream of Curly, Larry and Moe

Letting our almost 6 year old daughter watch some DVDs in the evening while my wife and I relaxed and enjoyed some quiet time together seemed like the perfect solution to our not being able to do this because of constant interruptions and distractions, until we started noticing just how strong an effect they were having on her...

My new baby is wonderful, so why am I so miserable?

Post-partum depression, or "baby blues" affects up to one fifth of new mothers. A debilitating disorder, it turns out that in many cases insufficient sleep is the culprit.

Is His Snoring Making Him Boring In Bed?

Is his snoring revealing the cause of your lackluster sex life? 

Without listening to the problems, it's hard to solve them

In response to my last posting, a reader pointed out that it is very important to consider the underlying emotional issues which may be at the heart of the sleep disturbance, in this case, that of a 6 year old girl who visited her parents' bedroom several times a week, and needed to be tucked back to bed by her father.

How to teach a 6 year old to stop coming to her parents' bed

 A reader wrote asking for suggestions about what to do to with her 6 year old step daughter, who wakes up several times a week, comes in to her parents' bedroom, and cries until her father takes her back to bed and tucks her in.

Teaching a toddler to sleep on her own can be hard at first

"If it was as easy as you make it out to be, why do you think I'm back again? I've tried all that, and it just isn't working. My one year old still keeps on waking up and it's driving me and my husband crazy".

Why snoring can be hazardous to your health

Lots of people snore. About 25% of all adults, and 12% of children snore on a regular basis, and people's responses to it range from annoyance (husbands being banished to the "snore room" so that the wife can get a decent night's sleep), pride ("my two year old snores just like his grandfather") to making it the butt of jokes. 

Snooze To Lose: Shed Weight By Sleeping More

A fascinating study was presented today at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, which showed that people lose weight three times as fast during sleep as they do while just lying in bed awake. It turns out that the more you snooze, the more you lose, but in a good way...

When doctors don't have enough time to devote to their patients

At this week's meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Seattle, a study was presented which found that pediatricians in Philadelphia significantly under diagnosed sleep disorders in their patients. Does this reflect a lack of awareness on their part of the importance of a good night's sleep to children, their health, and development, or, more ominously that our health system is not functioning as it should, and that mounting pressures to cut costs may only make this worse?

Why We Dream, And What Happens When We Do

Dreaming is such a common, yet mysterious phenomenon. Why do we dream, and what purpose does it serve, anywyay?  It turns out that there are more than a few answers to this question.

Why do people sleep talk?

A reader asked, after reading my last post on 11 reasons a good night's sleep is so important:What is happening in the brain when kids talk while sound asleep? (I am usually asleep when this happens, but it's loud enough to arouse me to check on my child).

11 reasons why a good night's sleep is so important.

11 reasons why it's so important for kids to get a good night sleep (and yes, many of these are relevant to adults as well).