Infants and children who are still of tender age [may be] attacked by . . . wakefulness at night. —Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a.d. 130
Sleeplessness in children and worrying about sleeplessness have been around for a long time.
Healthy sleep appears to come so easily and naturally to newborn babies. Effortlessly, they fall asleep and stay asleep. Their sleep patterns, however, shift and evolve as the brain matures during the first few weeks and months. Such changes may result in “day/night confusion”—long sleep periods during the day and long wakeful periods at night. This is bothersome, but it is only a problem of timing. The young infant still does not have any difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. After several weeks of age, though, parents can shape natural sleep rhythms and patterns into sleep habits.
It comes as a surprise to many parents that healthy sleep habits do not develop automatically. In fact, parents can and do help or hinder the development of healthy sleep habits. Of course, children will spontaneously fall asleep when totally exhausted—“crashing” is a biological necessity! But this is unhealthy, because extreme fatigue (often identified by “wired” behavior immediately preceding the crash) interferes with normal social interactions and even learning. You should not assume that it is “natural” for all children to get peevish, irritable, or cranky at the end of the day. Well-rested children do not behave this way.
Before electricity, radio, television, computers, or commuting long distances to work, children went to sleep earlier than children do today. Our current popularlate bedtimes may be no more “natural” than the outdated “natural” belief that fatter babies are healthier babies. Commonly held or popular beliefs about what is natural, normal, or healthy are not always true. In addition, when you think of child rearing, it may appear “natural” for you to consider parenting practices performed in traditional cultures. That is, breast-feed frequently day and night and sleep with your baby, wear your baby in a sling or soft carrier, always be close to your baby, and always respond to your baby. This is not always practical for some families, and even for those families who choose this “natural” style, their baby’s extreme fussiness/crying/not sleeping or “unnatural” factors can interfere.
Dr. Christian Guilleminault, who along with Dr. William C. Dement was the founding editor of the world’s leading journal of sleep research, taught me to consider five fundamental principles of understanding sleep:
1. The sleeping brain is not a resting brain.
2. The sleeping brain functions in a different manner than the waking brain.
3. The activity and work of the sleeping brain are purposeful.
4. The process of falling asleep is learned.
5. Providing the growing brain with sufficient sleep is necessary for developing the ability to concentrate and an easier temperament.
Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm. Every night and at every nap, sleep recharges the brain’s battery. Sleeping well increases brainpower just as lifting weights builds stronger muscles, because sleeping well increases your attention span and allows you to be physically relaxed and mentally alert at the same time. Then you are at your personal best.
As you will discover as you read this book, when children
“NATURAL” VERSUS “UNNATURAL”
All babies have spells of fussing and crying.
These spells distress all parents.
All parents want to soothe their baby.
The more the baby fusses or cries, the less she sleeps.
The less the baby sleeps, the less the parents sleep.
The less the parents sleep, the harder it is for them to soothe their baby.
Relatives and friends want to help soothe the baby and are expected to assist parents.
Breast-feeding and sleeping with your baby are powerful ways to soothe your baby.
Urban stimulation (noises, voices, delivery trucks, shopping trips, errands) may interfere with baby’s sleeping.
Day care (not being able to put your child to sleep when just starting to become tired or too much stimulation) may interfere with baby’s sleeping.
Social isolation forcing only the mother to be wholly responsible to take care of soothing and sleeping may cause intense stress for the mother.
Busy modern lifestyles means that parents have many things to do and little time to do them; sometimes they have to take their baby with them even at sleep times.
Mothers have to work outside the house, miss playing with their baby, and keep their baby up too late at night.
Fathers or mothers have a long commute and return home from work late, want to play with their baby, and keep their baby up too late at night.
Grandparents interfere with sleep routines.
learn to sleep well, they also learn to maintain optimal wakefulness. The notion of optimal wakefulness, also called optimal alertness, is important, because we tend to think simplistically of being either awake or asleep. Just as our twenty-four-hour cycle consists of more than just the two states called daytime and nighttime, there are gradations—which we call dawn and dusk—in sleep and wakefulness.
In sleep, the levels vary from deep sleep to partial arousals; in wakefulness, the levels vary from being wide awake to being groggy.
The importance of optimal wakefulness cannot be overemphasized. If your child does not get all the sleep he needs, he may seem either drowsy or hyperalert. If either state lasts for a long time, the results are the same: a child with a difficult mood and hard-to-control behavior, certainly not one who is ready and able to enjoy himself or get the most out of the myriad of learning experiences placed before him.
With our busy lifestyles, how can we keep track of nap schedules and regular bedtime hours? Is it really true that I can harm my baby by giving him love at night when he cries out for me? How can I be sure that sleep is really that important? Am I a bad parent if my child cries? If he cries at night, isn’t he feeling insecure? These are questions many parents ask me. Parents will often mention that articles or books they have read seem to support different ideas, and so they conclude by saying that since this whole issue is “so controversial,” they would rather let matters stay as they are. If you think your child is not sleeping well and if you disagree with the suggestions in this book, then ask yourself how long you should wait for improvement to occur. Three months? Three years? If you are following the opinion of a professional who says you must spend more time with your child at night to make him feel more “secure,” ask that professional, “When will I know we are on the right track?” Don’t wait forever. Consider what Dr. Charles E. Sundell, the physician in charge of the Children’s Department in the Prince of Wales General Hospital in England, wrote in 1922: “Success in the treatment of sleeplessness in infants is a good standard by which to estimate the patience and skill of the practitioner.” He also wrote: “A sleepless baby is a reproach to his guardian, and convicts them of some failure in their guardianship.” So don’t think that worrying about sleeplessness is just a contemporary issue.
The truth is, modern research regarding sleep/wake states only confirms what careful practitioners such as Dr. Sundell observed over eighty years ago. He wrote:
The temptation to postpone the time for a baby’s sleep, so that he may be admired by some relative or friend who is late in arriving, or so that his nurse may finish some work on which she may be engaged, must be strongly resisted. A sleepy child who is kept awake exhausts his nervous energy very quickly in peevish restlessness, and when preparations are at last made for his sleep he may be too weary to settle down. . . .
Regularity of habits is one of the sheet-anchors by which the baroque of an infant’s health is secured. The reestablishment of a regular routine, after even a short break, frequently calls for patient perseverance on the part of the nurse, but though the child may protest vigorously for several nights, absolute firmness seldom fails to procure the desired result.
Each baby is unique. They’re like little snowflakes. Babies are born with individual traits that affect the amount of physical activity, the duration of sleep, and the length of periods of crying they will sustain. But babies also differ in more subtle ways. Some are easier to “read”; they seem to have predictable schedules for feeding and sleeping. These babies also tend to cry less and sleep more. Regular babies are more self-soothing; they fall asleep easier, and when they awaken at night they are more able to return to sleep unassisted. But don’t blame yourself if you have an irregular baby who cries a lot and is less self-soothing. It’s only luck, although social customs may affect how you feel about it.
In those societies where the mother holds the baby close all the time, and her breasts are always available for nursing and soothing, there are still great differences among babies in terms of fussiness and crying. The mother compensates by increasing the amount of rhythmic, rocking motions or nursing. She may not even expect the baby to sleep alone, away from her body. As she grows up, a child might share the bed with her parents for a long time. This is not necessarily good or bad; it’s just different from the expectations of most middle-class Western families.
So not only do babies sleep differently, but every society’s expectations condition parents’ feelings in different ways. Remember, there are no universally “right” or “wrong” ways, or “natural” versus “unnatural” styles, of raising children. Less-developed societies are not necessarily more “natural” and thus “healthier” in their child-rearing practices. After all, strychnine and cow’s milk are equally “natural,” but they have altogether different effects when ingested.
How much we are bothered by infant crying or poor sleep habits might partially reflect our own expectations about how to be “good” parents. Do we want to carry the baby all the time, twenty-four hours a day, or do we want to put the baby down sometimes to sleep?
Here’s a true story. A Saudi Arabian princess came to my office for a consultation, accompanied by her English-trained Saudi pediatrician, her English-trained Saudi nanny, and two other women, to discuss sleeping habits for the royal family’s children. The pediatrician described child care arrangements that had been popular among British aristocrats in the nineteenth century. Like trained baby nurses in nineteenth-century England, the Saudi Arabian nanny was always able to hold the princess’s baby while the child was sleeping for the simple reason that the Saudi nurse had her own servants! These subordinate nannies were not as well trained and were assigned the menial domestic chores associated with child rearing.
The majority of parents do not have child care staffs. They have to rely on their own skills. So if we are greatly bothered by our baby’s crying or our guilt about not being “good” parents, this may interfere with our developing a sense of competence. We may feel that we cannot influence sleep patterns in our child. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can set the stage for future sleep disorders.
Sleep problems not only disrupt a child’s nights, they disrupt his days, too, by making him less mentally alert, more inattentive, unable to concentrate, and easily distracted. They also make him more physically impulsive, hyperactive, or lazy. But when children sleep well, they are optimally awake and alert, able to learn and grow up with charm and humor. When parents are too irregular, inconsistent, or oversolicitous, or when there are unresolved problems between the parents, the resulting sleep problems converge, producing excessive nighttime wakefulness and crying.
Please do not simply assume that children must pass through different “stages” at different ages, and that these stages inevitably create sleep problems. The truth is that after three or four months of age, all children can begin to learn to sleep well. The learning process will occur as naturally as learning how to walk.
The bad news is that some parents create sleep problems. The good news is that parents can prevent sleep problems as well as correct any that develop.
Parents who favor a more gradual approach (controlled crying or graduated extinction) over an abrupt approach (ignoring or extinction) often complain of frequent “relapses.” The general reason why a gradual approach tends to be less successful in the long run is that it takes longer and there are always natural disruptions of sleep, such as illnesses or vacations. The subsequent reestablishment of healthy sleep routines using a gradual approach becomes very stressful to the parents. Several days or weeks of a gradual approach often wear down parents, so they give up and revert to their old inconsistencies. Parents who have successfully used extinction know that they might have one, and only one, night of crying after they return home from several days on vacation or from a visit to a relative’s house.
The truth is that some parents swing back and forth between firmness and permissiveness so often, they cannot make any cure stick. They often confuse their wishful thinking with the child’s actual behavior. This is why a sleep log, which I will describe later, can be an important tool to help you document what you are really doing and how your child is really responding. After all, short-term “successes” might only reflect brief periods when your child crashes at night from chronic exhaustion. Or the actual improvement in sleep habits may be so marginal that the normal disruptions of vacations, trips, illnesses, or other irregularities constantly buffet the still-tired child and cause repeated “relapses” in which he wakes often during the night or fights going to sleep.
In contrast, parents who successfully carry out an abrupt retraining program—the cold-turkey approach—to improve sleep habits see immediate and dramatic improvement without any lasting ill effects. These children have fewer relapses and recover faster and more completely from natural disruptions of sleep routines. Seeing a cure really “stick” for a while gives you the courage to keep tighter control over sleep patterns and to repeat the process again if needed.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for parents to start early to help their child learn to sleep well.
If you start early with sleep training, you will be well along the path to preventing sleep problems.
When you start early, there are no long bouts of crying and no problems with sleeping. The process of falling asleep unassisted is a skill, and as with any other skill, it is easier to teach good habits first than it is to correct bad habits later. Also, as with any other skill, success comes only after a period of practice.
The many personal accounts in this book, contributed by a variety of caring, thoughtful parents, should add extra incentive to teach healthy sleep habits early or to make a change to correct your child’s sleep problems right now, so that you can all get on with the best part of having children—enjoying them! Some parents may need professional help to establish reasonable, orderly home routines, to iron out conflicts between parents, or to help an older child with a well-established sleep problem. To maintain healthy sleep for your young child, you need the courage to be firm without feeling guilt or fear that she will resent you or love you less. In fact, the best prescription I can offer is to create a loving home with a well-rested child and well-rested parents.
There never was a
Child so lovely but his
Mother was glad to see him asleep.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
What a difference healthy sleep can make in our children!
From the Trade Paperback edition.Copyright © 1999 by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep
by Marc Weissbluth, MD
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble
Monday, June 30, 2008
Infants and children who are still of tender age [may be] attacked by . . . wakefulness at night. —Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a.d. 130
Friday, June 27, 2008
This will make you drink your milk and seek out the sunshine every day. A deficiency of vitamin D--a relatively common occurrence--could significantly increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer, according to researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York.
And when people with vitamin D deficiencies get cancer, they have a far greater chance of developing numerous complications known to occur in cancer patients. Led by Dr. Donald L. Trump, the team indicated that the risk has shown up in epidemiological data, basic science research and clinical trials.
The good news is that the opposite appears to be true: Aggressive vitamin D supplementation can serve as a preventive and therapeutic cancer agent, although large-scale trials must be conducted to prove the hypothesis. And that's exactly what the Roswell Park Cancer Institute is now doing by testing high-dose calcitriol (vitamin D) replacement in individuals with a high risk of lung cancer.
While the data strongly suggest that calcitriol and other vitamin D supplements have a role in the suppression of established cancer, questions remain about optimal dose, schedule and formulation of the calcitriol compound. The study findings were presented to the American Association for Cancer Research in Los Angeles, Calif.
This isn't the first study to make such a claim. In December 2005 a University of California, San Diego team found that high doses of vitamin D reduced the risk of developing some common cancers by as much as 50 percent, reports the BBC News. After reviewing 63 studies, the researchers determined that vitamin D can help prevent breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancer. The downside: Too much vitamin D can hurt the kidneys and liver.
The No. 1 natural source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight, but it is also obtained from oily fish, fortified milk, fortified cereal, margarine, meat and vitamin supplements.
--From the Editors at Netscape
Mason Vitamin D 1000 IU Softgels, #1477 - 60 Softgels
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Thursday, June 26, 2008
SLEEPTRACKER Pro Watch
This amazing watch helps you wake up refreshed and alert! The SLEEPTRACKER watch monitors your body, waking you during a light sleep stage so you feel refreshed and alert. No more morning grogginess! Just set the alarm for a window of time and wear the watch to bed. Its internal motion detector tracks the restless movements that signal light sleep, so the alarm can wake you when it's easiest for your body to wake up. Plus, you can upload your data to your PC. Easy-to-use software helps you track factors that influence sleep, like meal times, exercise and alcohol intake. Backlit watch shows the time and date, and the alarm can be set to ring, vibrate or both. Slim design won't interfere with your sleep. USB cable and software included.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The Only Ultrasound Waveguide Toothbrush.
This is the only power toothbrush available that uses patented ultrasound waveguide technology to channel ultrasound into the microbubbles created by the vibrating bristle tips, resulting in optimal effectiveness. Nearly four million cycles of ultrasound emanate from the center of the brush head every two minutes and cause the toothpaste and water bubbles to expand and contract as you brush. The toothbrush is clinically proven to remove up to 95% of plaque from your teeth within the first minute of brushing, and with regular use it reduces gingivitis and whitens teeth without relying on chemicals that can damage tooth enamel. The toothbrush starts at the touch of a button and automatically stops after two minutes-the brushing time recommended by dental professionals. The unit operates for 28 two-minute cycles after a 24-hour charge. Includes charging base, AC adapter, and travel case. 6 1/2" L x 11" H x 6" W. (1 1/2 lbs.)
Nearly four million cycles of ultrasonic energy emanate from the center of the brush head every two minutes.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine: A Food Lover's Road Map to Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Getting Really Healthy
Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn.
Bioavailability-Test Your ChefMD IQ
1. Is cooking vegetables better nutritionally than eating them raw?
2. Does thawing frozen vegetables before cooking them help to maintain their nutritional value?
3. Do you generally eat your fruits with the skin off?
4. Do you generally eat your vegetables with the skin on?
5. Is it true that eating a few almonds before eating a sausage will help block the negative effects of its saturated fat?
6. Do you know how to sauté, steam, simmer, marinate, dry rub, roast, and grill?
7. Do you use herbs and spices liberally?
8. Do you usually use a low-fat or nonfat salad dressing on your salad?
9. Is milk chocolate more nutritious than dark chocolate?
10. Can cocoa lower blood pressure?
Scoring: Give yourself 1 point for each correct answer.
1. Yes: Cooking usually unlocks vitamins from the
ber in vegetables, and less cooking is usually better. When you boil your veggies many of the nutrients end up in the water. You keep the nutrients when you steam.
2. No: Studies show that frozen vegetables maintain a much higher level of nutrition when cooked frozen.
3. No: Bet you knew this. Much of the nutritional value of fruit is in the skin.
4. Yes: Bet you knew this, too. Like fruit, much of the nutritional value in vegetables is in theskin.
5. Yes: Eating a few nuts before eating meat will help block the negative effects of the meat's saturated fat.
6. Yes: These are healthful ways of preparing foods.
7. Yes: Herbs and spices contain an incredible array of antioxidants and, of course, great avor.
8. No: There's a surprise. Use full-fat dressings or add a bit of healthy fat (avocado, walnuts, almonds, olives) to your salad.
9. No: Dark chocolate good, milk chocolate bad (more on that later).
10. Yes: Just 30 calories worth of dark chocolate daily can help.
Total score (0-10):
8-10 points: Your Inner ChefMD is smart and cookin'.
4-7 points: Your Inner ChefMD is almost ready for prime time. Read this chapter to hone your skills.
0-3 points: Your Inner ChefMD needs to go to culinary medical school. Read this chapter immediately!
Food is like sex. When done well, it engages all
ve senses; it taps into our most primal needs and urges and it's among the greatest pleasures you can experience. And like sex, eating good food is a celebration, and an af
rmation of life.
Would you watch TV while having sex? If it was great sex, probably not. So why would you grab a burger while running through an airport or eat a hot dog while sitting in front of the tube?
It's so much more satisfying to enjoy and savor the experience of eating good, fresh, nourishing food than to eat mindlessly. And like sex, eating a meal is usually better if you're doing it with someone you love.
You know you should eat more fruits and vegetables-you've been hearing it since you were a small child and didn't want to eat your peas. Now that you're a grown up, your brussels sprouts probably still get left behind on the plate, and the last piece of fruit you had was the maraschino cherry out of a mai tai. You know that if you ate more fruits and vegetables, you'd be healthier. But what you may not know is that how you look and feel is also affected by your food's bioavailability. Say what?
What Is Bioavailability?
Bioavailability is a word borrowed from pharmacology, the study of drugs and their effects on the body. In pharmacology, bioavailability means the amount of a particular drug the body actually absorbs into the bloodstream, not just the amount you take. It's how much medicine is available for your body to use.
With respect to food, bioavailability means body ready: the nutrients absorbed and available for your body to use. Naturally, you want to maximize the body readiness of healthy nutrients for your system. Let me give you some examples.
Say it's a beautiful summer day and you stop by your local farmers' market to pick up a watermelon. You get it home and you kind of wish the watermelon were cold, but you don't want to wait for it to cool down in the refrigerator. Take heart. Watermelon that's been stored at room temperature has up to 40 percent more lycopene and up to 139 percent more beta-carotene than watermelon out of the cooler or your fridge. Store and eat your watermelon at room temperature to maximize those powerful antioxidants. And here's a little bonus. The lycopene and beta-carotene in harvested watermelon actually increases over time-for up to two weeks. So let that freshly picked melon mellow to maximize its nutrients.
Sure, you already know that boiling vegetables reduces their nutritional value. But if you're going to boil your vegetables, and I'd prefer you steam them, do it in as little water and for as short a time as possible. Reducing the amount of water and the cooking time reduces nutrient loss and maximizes bioavailability.
I'm sure you've noticed how the color of the water turns slightly yellow when you're boiling a yellow vegetable and tints green when you boil a green vegetable, right? That's the avonoids leaching out of your meal. Flavonoids are brilliant antioxidant compounds in vegetables that give them their fabulous colors and activate your DNA repair system, helping to protect you from cancer. Save that water and use it to make soup or cook pasta.
Here's an example of how to maximize the body-readiness of vitamin C in your fruit. Buy whole fruit and cut it up yourself. Although it's easiest to grab the packages of presliced fruits your grocer has conveniently prepared, studies show that preslicing fruit can reduce its vitamin C content over time. Cantaloupe, kiwi, and pineapple seem particularly prone to vitamin C loss when precut. Precut fruit costs you more and you get less nutrition. I'd call that a double whammy. So, know your fruit: for cantaloupe, kiwi, and pineapple, go whole and slice your own.
The concept of body-readiness is vital to the ChefMD plan, because it is the missing link to being simultaneously overweight and undernourished, as so many people now are.
Why? Because our food is increasingly less nutritious than it used to be-and not just processed fast foods. Researchers recently looked at data from the USDA from 1950 and 1999 on the nutrient content of forty-three different crops of fruits and vegetables. They found that six out of thirteen nutrients had declined in these crops over the
fty-year period: protein was down by 6 percent, calcium by 16 percent, phosphorus by 9 percent, iron by 15 percent, riboavin by 38 percent, and vitamin C by about 20 percent. Furthermore, they found a strong correlation between high yield in wheat crops and a loss of nutrients in the wheat, such as zinc and phosphate. This was also true of high-yield commercial broccoli and its level of calcium.
And it's not just vegetables. A British study showed that chicken in 2004 contained a third less protein than chicken in 1940. The twenty-
rst-century chicken also had more than twice as much fat and a third more calories.
Wow. We've become much better at producing larger and larger quantities of food, but bite for bite its nutritional value is smaller and smaller.
We don't know the precise reason for this decline in nutrition over the past decades. Greater crop yields are seen by some as the culprit. Whatever the reason, I want to help you to absorb more nutrients from the food you eat-because the fact of the matter is that there are fewer nutrients in it.
How much you eat; what other foods you eat at the same time; and how you cook, store, and choose food all affect how much you absorb from what you eat and how well your body can use it.
Some people point out that your genes dictate how you absorb nutrients, and how unfair that is. Some people eat a healthy diet and die at
fty; others eat that same diet and thrive past one hundred. That's the diet-gene paradox: our genes determine how we absorb what's in food that's good for us, and not so good for us. But the amazing thing is that food can tell your genes what to do, and with better bioavailability, you can get even more from what you eat-no matter what your genes.
Sadly, there are also barricades to bioavailability. Say, for example, you're trying to get more leafy greens in your diet, a wonderful thing to do. You've hit on a crunchy green, completely virtuous salad, with beautiful red peppers, green peppers, a grape cherry tomato or two, with a low-cal squeeze of lemon or store-bought fat-free dressing. You're sitting pretty, having maybe 125 calories in a bowl as big as your head and headed to weight-loss heaven. You may feel virtuous when you sit at your desk at lunchtime with that lunch, and maybe also feel a little jealous when you see your co- worker's Philly cheese steak.
What you might not know is that the fat-free dressing is actually keeping you from absorbing the carotenoids in that green salad that can help stave off cancer. Locked up inside that salad is nearly every antioxidant you've ever heard of. You're getting less than you could-unless you eat that salad with avocado, or with walnuts or roasted walnut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil, or nearly any other good-for-you fat.
Why? Because the oil makes the lutein in the green peppers, the capsanthin in the red peppers, the lycopene in the tomato, even the limonene in the lemon more body ready for you. Each of them is optimally absorbed with a bit of fat. Even reduced-fat dressing won't let you get as many of these valuable nutrients as you could. You've been running from fat-who knew you might actually need it?
Later in the book, I'll teach you to make a simple and delicious dressing for my Parmigiano Caesar Salad with Shrimp (page 121): the olive and walnut oils give you healthy fat,
ghting fatty buildup in the arteries, offer great avor, and save you from the sugars that may be in that bottled fat-free dressing. And there is an added bene
t to this particular salad dressing: its garlic contains allicin, a substance that can
ght hardening of the arteries. The garlic clove has to be exposed to air to make the allicin active, and you'll do that when you crush it for the dressing. Why not take the simple steps to unlock all the goodness that salad has to offer?
I guarantee that an hour after your salad, you'll feel
ne, while Mr. Philly Cheese Steak may be passed out on his desk. All of those saturated fats from his sandwich are now lying like melted cheese in his arteries, constricting them not allowing them to dilate, which in turn doesn't let his muscles get enough oxygen, making him fatigued. So now he's out cold like a
sh on ice at the Pike Place Market.
The foods we eat affect our bodies for good or for bad. With the ChefMD approach, you give up none of the richness, satisfaction, and avor to get more from what you eat. You absorb more of the cancer-
ghting, stroke-slaying, heart-disease-stopping antioxidants that only work when they come from food, not pills. That's what this book is all about: the celebration of healthful recipes that extract all the goodness from every delicious morsel and every juicy bite. But before we go further, let me offer a very short overview of what you need to know about nutrition.
The Basics of Nutrition
Most of us were too busy passing notes or throwing spitballs to pay attention when they taught us nutrition in grade school, so you may not remember that there are only six types of nutrients: protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water.
However, there are also literally thousands of compounds in food that are not technically nutrients. We talk about them as nutrients, but they are really other kinds of bene
They're as important as the original six, because they regulate many of the basic metabolic and physiologic processes that govern how your body works, how your brain works, how your muscles work, and more. And in food, these compounds are metabolized at many different levels in the body, and present a powerful package of nutrition-more than any one nutrient by itself.
Your nutrients have to be in a form that can be recognized by the body to be absorbed. For example, if you swallow a piece of metal containing iron because you're only eight and your brother dared you to do it, the body will not recognize it as such and will not absorb the iron. But if you eat a piece of liver, the body will recognize the iron it contains and absorb it.
We need certain nutrients to avoid developing serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and that need is constant. But the ability of our bodies' systems to get essential nutrients to where they are needed uctuates. Like nutrition itself, bioavailability is complicated. But we can make it work for us with what we know now. And every day, scientists and physicians are discovering new and exciting ways to get the most out of what we eat.
Now that you understand the basic concepts of nutrition and bioavailability, I'll explain the three factors you can use to maximize your food's bioavailability:
1. Freshness and quality
2. Food combinations
3. How food is processed and cooked
Once you understand these factors, you will be able to unlock the secrets to getting more from what you eat.
FACTOR 1: FRESHNESS AND QUALITY
Thefirst step in absorbing more of the good stuff from your food is to buy the best-quality food you can afford. When it comes to freshness and quality the first rule of thumb is to buy foods that look most similar to their original form. You don't see square bread- crumb-covered halibut swimming around in the ocean, right? I guess then we'd call them stick fish. And what about chicken fingers? Since when do chickens have fingers? In the ChefMD plan, fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, legumes, certain fish, tea, wine, dark chocolate, and nuts have the real star power, with lean meats playing a supporting role.
Fruits and Vegetables
I'm crazy about fruits and vegetables-as a chef, a doctor, and as someone who loves to eat good food. When you look at the vibrant and beautiful palette found in most fruits and vegetables don't you think Mother Nature is trying to tell us something? There's a reason it's not called mad broccoli disease. I know that when you start to learn the secret bene
ts of produce and how easy they are to choose and prepare, you'll come to love them more.
When shopping for fruits and vegetables, use at least three senses: sight, touch, and smell.
ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine: A Food Lover's Road Map to Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Getting Really Healthy
by John La Puma
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble
Monday, June 23, 2008
Nearly 40 Years of Success!
Forty years! We find it hard to believe ourselves. For nearly four decades now, prospective parents from Biloxi to Bombay, Chicago to Cape Town, Seattle to Shanghai have been using our method to choose the sex of their children. Millions of people throughout the world have used the Shettles method with consistent good results, making us the past, the present, and, we trust, the future number-one guide to sex selection on the planet.
During those four decades, we have faced plenty of competition and quite a few “imitators” of our method. But as the competition has come and gone, the Shettles method has persisted, fueled primarily by satisfied word of mouth. Were it not for couples who have used our method with success and reported this to their friends and neighbors, we, too, would long since have fallen by the wayside. Failure doesn’t keep anything going for years, let alone 40 years. Only success can do that. And so, to you, our faithful readers, some of whom have used our method to attain not merely one child of the desired sex but two or more, often creating gender-balanced families in the process, we express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.
And to those of you completely new to our book and our method, we say Welcome. We are delighted to add you to our ever–growing “family” and trust that you, too, will add to your families the children you will cherish, whatever their genders.
Since we last revised this book, some other sex–selection methods have come along, both low tech and high tech. We will be talking more about these later on.But, as usual, we have noted that when something “new” is announced in this field, it is often really just a restatement or a variation on components of the Shettles method.
By the same token, findings that sometimes claim to refute the Shettles method generally fail when they are more closely scrutinized or more thoroughly followed up over longer periods of time. We will provide examples of this later on. We will also tell you about some high-tech methods of sex selection, both old and newly emerging ones, that, unlike the Shettles method, are generally opposed by bioethicists and by the majority of doctors and medical professionals, for reasons we will discuss. We are confident that most couples will continue to find our approach to sex selection the easiest, the most natural, and the most reliable, as well as the most ethical.
This is the sixth revision of our book since it was first published in April 1970. It contains all of the latest sex–selection data. Our method has been consistently effective and consistently refined over the years to make it easier and more comfortable for all to use. Our success rate continues to be 75 percent or better for those seeking girls and 80 percent for those who seek boys. And the rate of success is even higher among those who have reported to us on our questionnaires (see later in this book) that they were "highly confident" that they had precisely pinpointed the time of ovulation—a key factor in the Shettles method.
In the pages ahead, you’ll hear from a number of those who have tried the method—and we’ll be answering questions many of you have sent us since our last edition appeared several years ago.
Again, congratulations for joining the sex-selection team that has been getting results in more than twenty countries for forty years. At a national meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Shettles was credited with having published “the landmark paper,” in the early 1960s, which made sex preselection a subject that could and should be taken seriously. By having made the decision to investigate and, we hope, use sex selection yourself, you have become part of a landmark effort that we believe will continue to flourish.
Dr. Shettles' Track Record
Though the Shettles method remains “theory” and is disputed by some, you should be aware that Dr. Shettles has a formidable record for being both ahead of his time and right. He and Dr. John Rock of Harvard were the first to fertilize human eggs in vitro, launching what is today a revolution in fertility research. But it took literally decades for other researchers to follow up on their pioneering work. In the 1960s, Dr. Shettles discovered a method of obtaining fetal cells that could be used to assess fetal health and rescue distressed pregnancies, detect defects, and so on. Other researchers said they could not duplicate his research or simply ignored it—despite its enormous implications. Finally, researchers in mainland China reported they had duplicated the work, and this was then followed up on by researchers in Indiana, who finally realized the full import of the development and credited Dr. Shettles with its discovery. Today this technique (called chorionic villi sampling) has partially supplanted the more dangerous amniocentesis as a method of monitoring fetal health—and, unlike amniocentesis, it can be used from the very earliest stages of pregnancy with minimal invasion.
Then, in 1979, Dr. Shettles reported on another technique he had developed by which a fertilized egg could be surgically transferred directly into a woman’s fallopian tube to achieve pregnancies that could otherwise not occur, owing to various infertility problems. At first, this technique, which has come to be known as gamete intrafallopian transfer, or GIFT—and it truly is a gift to many of the infertile—also was ignored and no credit was given. But GIFT rapidly became one of the crown jewels in the armamentarium of infertility research and treatment and is today regarded as one of the most important developments in that field in the twentieth century.
Finally, in 1991, in an editorial in the Journal of in Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer, Dr. Shettles was given long-overdue credit and hailed as the father of GIFT. The editorial concluded:
In the case of GIFT a scan of the medical literature of the past 15 years clearly shows that L. B. Shettles should be credited with the introduction of the concept of transferring gametes into the fallopian tubes as a means of achieving a pregnancy. Frederick P. Zuspan, editor of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in his letter to Shettles notifying him of the acceptance for publication of his landmark paper, stated the need for its publication “as soon as possible as it opens new avenues for therapy.”
Dr. Shettles, who was once described by Omni magazine as “one of the twentieth century’s titans in the field of female infertility,” is delighted that he’s still challenging orthodoxy right into the twenty–first century.
Can We Really Choose the Sex of Our Children?
One of the reasons Dr. Shettles created the sex–selection method you are about to become familiar with is because so many of his patients at Columbia–Presbyterian Hospital in New York City asked him if there was any way he could help them tip the balance in favor of conceiving a child of a specified gender. Often these patients already had a child of one sex or more than one of the same sex and now, understandably, wanted a child of the opposite sex. Many asked the question with some hesitation, ultimately explaining to Dr. Shettles that other doctors had rebuffed them when they so inquired. Many were emboldened to ask Dr. Shettles this then-delicate question because he had been much in the news for his pioneering work in the field of female infertility. They imagined he might be sympathetic to their longings—and they were right!
Of course, they couldn't know at the time that Dr. Shettles had been asking himself the same question, a question that he would eventually answer not only to the satisfaction of his patients and hundreds of thousands of others around the world but also to his own satisfaction as he went about creating a family of his own, consisting of three boys and three girls!
Soon Dr. Shettles was not only able to tell couples who had not been able to conceive at all that, with techniques he helped perfect, they could indeed become parents but that it was also possible to choose the sex of one’s children with a high degree of success. The Shettles method, as it has evolved, is not 100 percent successful. It is wise to keep that in mind at all times. But the method does very significantly increase your chances—elevating them from 50 percent if you do nothing—to better than 75 percent. And, in fact, as you will see later on in this book, some researchers have reported success rates with the Shettles method reaching 90 percent!
What's the Evidence?
Next question: What evidence is there in support of Dr. Shettles’ sex-selection theory? The evidence is of two kinds. One kind is “anecdotal” and consists of the reports of thousands of people who say they have successfully used the method. Anecdotal evidence is not scientific evidence, but it is often very useful and suggestive nonetheless. This is especially true when a significant number of the anecdotes issue from couples who have had three, four, or more children of one sex and then, upon first trying the Shettles method, finally have a child of the opposite sex.
The anecdotal evidence in support of the Shettles method is overwhelming. But it is not, to repeat, scientific evidence. A woman wrote a book several years ago proposing a sex-selection method that conflicted in many ways with that of Dr. Shettles. In some ways it appeared to offer opposite recommendations. (We will discuss that book in more detail later on, when we examine other sex–selection methods.) The point we wish to make here is that in the introduction to her book, this woman suggested—falsely—that we rely entirely on anecdotal evidence to support the Shettles method.
“The only way to determine whether a sex–selection method works,” she wrote, “is, first, to enlist the cooperation of a large number of couples who state a sex preference, and, second, to note the sex outcomes of the pregnancies among couples who have meticulously followed the recommendations. . . . This is the only type of evidence that is convincing.” We agree (and only wish there had been more of this kind of evidence in that writer's book). We will demonstrate, later in this book, that the Shettles method is better supported by precisely this kind of scientific evidence than is any other method in use today. In summary, it is the one sex–selection method best supported by the available scientific data, data that have been produced by independent researchers in numerous countries throughout the world.
It must also be pointed out that the Shettles method has persisted longer than any other sex–selection method in use today. Rather than lose followers and support, it has continued to gain them. That fact says something positive about the method. No sex–selection method can persist in the absence of “satisfied customers.” Not only laypeople but an increasing number of medical and scientific researchers have come to discern merit in Dr. Shettles’ sex-selection theories.
Dr. Shettles began developing his techniques in the early 1960s and has continued to refine them ever since. This is the sixth and by far the most comprehensive book we have written on the subject. We are confident that this book will make it easier than ever before for couples to utilize the Shettles method and, at the same time, to learn about other methods, some of which have at least partial validity and some of which, in our view, do not.
How It Began
How did Dr. Shettles get involved in sex-selection research? First, he did not enter the field with the idea of making abstract scientific points; rather, he was directly motivated by the desire to help alleviate some of the disappointment many of his patients expressed over being unable to conceive a child of the sex they desired. Time and again couples came to him with the same story: they had already had two, three, or more children of the same sex and very much wanted one of the opposite sex. In some cases it was clear that these couples would “keep trying” until they achieved their goal, even though they might already have had more children than they really wanted or could afford.
It became evident to Dr. Shettles, even many years ago, that a sex-selection method, if it could be made to work, would not only alleviate suffering among couples and within families but could also have a favorable impact on society as a whole. If couples could achieve sexually balanced families with a minimum of “tries,” then there was a good chance, Dr. Shettles reasoned, that population growth, increasingly a threat to society, could be slowed down to some extent. Most parents and prospective parents told Dr. Shettles that what they had always wanted were two children—one of each sex. If they could have one boy and one girl, they said, they would consider their families complete.
Failure to achieve that ideal one boy/one girl balance, or at least to have children of both sexes, often resulted in psychological distress sometimes as acute, Dr. Shettles observed, as that experienced by some of his infertility patients—couples who had so far been unable to have children of either sex. As an authority in the field of infertility and human reproduction, Dr. Shettles was approached by many couples as their “court of last resort.” Many came to him with woeful tales of indifferent and insensitive doctors who, in the case of the infertile, sometimes callously argued that “there are already too many babies, anyway,” and, in the case of those with sexually imbalanced families, “you should just be happy you have children at all.” Such arguments might have some validity in an abstract or general sense. But Dr. Shettles has never regarded his patients as either abstractions or generalities. They are individuals with individual problems and needs. Their problems require, and deserve, individual solutions.
Thus it seemed entirely appropriate to Dr. Shettles to try to apply some of the same ingenuity that he had used in solving various infertility problems to sex selection. He would try whatever seemed to work, guided by pragmatism. He did not worry about whether what he was doing fit into “accepted” or “appropriate” practice, as judged by his peers. If it was safe and effective, if it worked for his patients, then he was all for it. There is no denying that Dr. Shettles has raised a few scientific hackles in the course of his sex-selection work. There are some doctors, apparently, who think this whole field is beneath them. They refuse to acknowledge that the method works and will not investigate it themselves. Fortunately, there are more researchers who do have open minds, and, in any event, Dr. Shettles’ reward has been the satisfaction of his patients and the many others who have made use of his work.
How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby: The Method Best Supported by Scientific Evidence
by Landrum B. Shettles
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The eyes have it--at least when it comes to finding early clues for your risk of developing heart disease. Specifically, damage to the eyes' tiny blood vessels could be the first sign of heart disease, long before any other symptoms show up elsewhere, according to a new study from Australia's University of Sydney and University of Melbourne, along with the National University of Singapore.
Reuters reports that people who had a type of eye damage known as retinopathy were more likely to die of heart disease over the next 12 years than those without it. To reach this conclusion, the team studied the retinal photographs of 3,000 people, most of whom had type 2 diabetes. The photos were taken by the patients' doctors to determine if the diabetes had started to damage their eyes. Then the researchers checked the patients' medical records to determine who had died.
"Over 12 years, 353 participants (11.9 percent) had incident coronary heart disease-related deaths," said lead study author Gerald Liew of the University of Sydney. Those who had retinopathy were almost twice as likely to die of heart disease as people who didn't have it.
Startlingly, retinopathy increased the risk of heart disease as much as diabetes did, but people can use this as an early warning signal of artery damage and then work to lower their cholesterol and blood pressure. The study findings were reported in the journal Heart.
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Sunday, June 22, 2008
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Saturday, June 21, 2008
If you want a complexion that glows, take your vitamins. Sometimes that means popping a vitamin pill, sometimes it means eating the right food, and sometimes it means buying the right creams. But the first step is to understand which vitamins work for which skin conditions.
A healthy diet can be a fountain of youth for our skin. Eat well and your skin will be moist, clear, and glowing. Eat poorly and it will be dry, pale, scaly, or oily. In addition to taking a multivitamin pill every day, use this as your grocery list for glowing, youthful skin.
Orange Juice and Strawberries
All it takes is the vitamin C in one daily glass of O.J. or a bowl of strawberries to build collagen to give your skin strength and elasticity.
Wheat Germ and Milk
Sprinkle wheat germ on your oatmeal or bake it in muffins to prevent your skin from becoming dry and flaky, as well as oily. Other foods that work well are whole grains and milk--all of which are packed with vitamin B.
Broccoli, Green Beans, Sweet Potatoes, and Carrots
Think green and orange! Veggies and fruits that are this color contain just what you need to prevent premature wrinkling or bumpy skin that looks and feels like sandpaper.
Spinach, Tomatoes, Cantaloupe, and Grapefruit
Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles without expensive lotions and creams by eating foods such as these that are packed with antioxidant nutrients, including vitamins C and E and beta carotene.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drink six to eight glasses of water every day to keep your skin moist and your oil glands functioning properly.
Vegetable Oils, Safflower Oil, Nuts, Avocados, and Seeds
Need to heal damaged skin? You need the linoleic acid found in these foods. So when you're cooking dinner, try to use one or more of these ingredients. Don't use too much! They're also high in fat and that raises your risk of skin cancer.
Whole Grain Breads, Cereals, Beans, and Peas
Avoid processed foods and eat nature's bounty to make your skin glow, look healthy, and keep that youthful appearance.
Sometimes food isn't enough to heal your skin, and you need special creams or lotions. Creams made with vitamin K can help erase the dark circles under your eyes, according to American Academy of Dermatology. Vitamin K can also be used in cream form to treat bruising on the face following dermatological procedures, such as laser treatment for spider veins. In addition, niacin (vitamin B3) is showing promise for use in over-the-counter anti-aging products.
"Vitamins can provide many benefits to the skin, yet with so many different vitamins and different derivatives, consumers may be confused about what ingredients to look for and what products to select," said dermatologist Dr. Leslie Baumann. "The best way to find answers about selecting the best products for specific skin type or correcting a problem area is to see your dermatologist who can provide the proper guidance."
The above information was culled from several sources, including HealthScoutNews, the American Dermatology Association, and WebMD. Source: Netscape
Friday, June 20, 2008
People who eat lots of whole-grain foods, especially fiber-rich cereals, may be less likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a clustering of risk factors that often precedes type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, Reuters reports of new research from Tufts University in Boston, Mass.
In other words: Eat cereal for breakfast. Stay healthy longer.
How much do you need to eat? Three or more servings of whole grains daily, according to study author Dr. Nicola M. McKeown of the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts. Three servings is a lot when you consider that the average American consumes less than one serving of whole-grain foods a day. In addition to fortified cold cereals, whole-grain foods include oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, and more. But read the labels carefully! Whole grain products should list a whole grain ingredient, such as "whole wheat," "whole rye," "whole oats" or "graham flour," as the first ingredient on the label.
It's worth the effort to get three or more servings daily. "People who ate this much whole grain had better insulin sensitivity and were less likely to have the metabolic syndrome," McKeown told Reuters.
Those who have metabolic syndrome have at least three of these traits:
- Waist measurement of more than 40 inches around in men or 35 inches in women.
- Triglyceride levels in the blood of 150 or greater.
- HDL ("good") cholesterol that is less than 40 in men or less than 50 in women.
- Blood pressure of 130/85 or more.
- Fasting blood sugar of 100 or more.
An estimated 24 percent of adults in the United States have metabolic syndrome. They are at an increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes, which occurs when insulin is no longer able to regulate blood sugar levels. McKeown's study of 2,800 adults showed that higher consumption of whole-grain foods, particularly cereals, was associated with a lower risk of insulin resistance. The study also found that people who ate more fiber from cereals were less likely to develop the metabolic syndrome, notes Reuters.
The research findings were published in the journal Diabetes Care.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Chapter 1: At the End of Your Rope
The most frequent calls I receive at the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children's Hospital Boston are from parents whose children are sleeping poorly. When the parent on the phone begins by saying "I am at the end of my rope" or "We are at our wits' end," I can almost always predict what will be said next.
Typically, the couple or single parent has a young child (often their first) who is between five months and four years old. The child does not fall asleep readily at night or wakes repeatedly during the night, or both. The parents are tired, frustrated, and often angry. Their own relationship has become tense, and they are wondering whether there is something inherently wrong with their child and whether they are unfit parents.
In most cases the parents have had lots of advice from friends, relatives, and even their pediatrician on how to handle the situation. "Let him cry; you're just spoiling him," they are told, or "That's just a phase; wait until she outgrows it." They don't want to wait, but they are beginning to wonder if they will have to, since despite all their efforts and strategies the sleep problem persists. Often, the more the parents do to try and solve the problem, the worse it gets. Sooner or later they ask themselves, "How long do I let my child cry -- all night?" And if the child gets up four, five, or six times a night, "Will this phase pass before we collapse from exhaustion?"
Everything seems pretty hopeless at first. If your child isn't sleeping well or has other problems that worry and frustrate you -- such as sleep terrors, bedwetting, nightmares, or loud snoring -- it won't take long foryou to feel as if you're at the end of your rope, too.
Let me assure you that there is hope. With almost all of these children, we are able at least to reduce the sleep disturbance significantly, and usually we can eliminate the problem entirely. The information in this book will help you identify the type and cause of your child's particular disturbance, and it will give you a variety of practical ways of solving the problem.
When a family visits the Sleep Center, I meet with the parents and child together and learn all I can about the child's problem. How often does it arise, and how long has it lasted? What are the episodes like? How do the parents handle the child at bedtime and during the nighttime wakings? Is there a family history of sleep problems, and are there social factors that might be contributing to the problem? Given this detailed history, a physical examination, and, in certain cases, laboratory study, it is usually possible to identify the disorder and its causes. At that point I can begin to work with the family to help them solve their child's sleep problem.
At the Sleep Center, our methods of treatment for the "sleepless child" rarely include medication. Instead, I work with the family to set up new schedules, routines, and ways of handling their child. Often the child's biological rhythms may need normalizing, or at least his sleep-wake schedule may need to be changed. He may have to learn to associate new conditions with falling asleep or get used to fewer and smaller nighttime feedings. The family may have to learn how to set appropriate limits on the child's behavior, and the child may need an incentive to cooperate. And any anxiety in the child (or parent) must be taken into account. I always negotiate the specifics of the plan with the family. It is important that they agree with the approach and feel confident that they will be able to follow through consistently. As much as possible, I offer choices. The best solution frequently differs considerably from family to family, and from one culture or social group to another. If the child is old enough, we include him in the negotiations. Thus we use a consistent and firm but fair technique tailored to the particular sleep problem and to the needs and desires of the child and family.
Sleep problems are rarely the result of poor parenting. Nor (with a few exceptions) are they part of a "normal phase" that must be waited (and waited, and waited) out. Finally, there is usually nothing physically or mentally wrong with the child himself. Most parents are immensely reassured to know that sleep problems are common in all types of families and social environments, and that most children with such problems respond well to treatment.
In certain cases, such as in sleep apnea or, less often, in bedwetting, medical factors may be involved, and our intervention may include medication or surgery. Emotional factors may play a role in other instances, such as in the sleepiness of depression, recurrent nightmares in an anxious child, sleep terrors in the adolescent, and extreme nighttime fears. Here it is important to identify the source of these feelings and deal with them satisfactorily so the sleep problems can resolve. Sometimes professional counseling is recommended.
How well your child sleeps from the early months affects not only his behavior during the day but also your feelings about him. I have often heard parents say, "He is such a good baby. We even have to wake him for feedings." Although the parents are really just commenting on the baby's ability to sleep, they may start thinking that their baby is "good" in the moral sense.
It is easy to see how this distinction can influence the way you relate to your child. If your child does not sleep well, he may well be making your life miserable. It isn't hard to think of such a child as a "bad" baby. You will probably feel enormously frustrated, helpless, worried, and angry if you have to listen to crying every night, get up repeatedly, and lose a great deal of your own much-needed sleep. If your child's sleep disturbance is severe enough, your frustration and fatigue will carry over into your daytime activities, and you are bound to feel increasingly tense with your child, spouse, family, and friends. If this is the case in your home, you will be pleased to learn that your child is almost certainly capable of sleeping much better than he is now, letting you get a good night's sleep yourself. To make that happen, you need to learn how to identify your child's problem; then you can begin to solve it.
The case studies in this book are based on my experience at the Sleep Center. The discussions of these cases, along with descriptions of the underlying sleep disorders and explanations of the methods of solving them, will help you identify, understand, and deal with your own child's sleep problem.
CAN A CHILD JUST BE A "POOR SLEEPER"?
Parents often believe that if their child is a restless sleeper or can't seem to settle down at night, it's because he is by nature a poor sleeper or doesn't need as much sleep as other children of the same age. These beliefs are almost never true. Virtually all children without major medical or neurological disorders have the ability to sleep well. They can go to bed at an appropriate time, fall asleep within minutes, and stay asleep until a reasonable hour in the morning. And while it is normal for a child (or an adult) to wake briefly a few times during the night, these arousals should last only a few seconds or minutes and the child should go back to sleep easily on his own.
In fact, the mistaken belief that your child is unable to sleep normally can have a strong influence on how his sleep pattern develops from the day you bring him home from the hospital. I have seen many parents who were told by the nurse in the maternity ward, "Your baby hardly sleeps at all. You're in for trouble!" Because parents like these are led to believe their child is a poor sleeper and there isn't anything they can do about it, they allow him to develop poor sleep habits; they don't think it is possible for him to develop good ones. As a result, the whole family suffers terribly. Yet almost all of these children are potentially fine sleepers, and with just a little intervention they can learn to sleep well.
It is true that children differ in their ability to sleep. Some children are excellent sleepers from birth. In the early weeks they may have to be wakened for feedings. As they grow older, not only do they continue to sleep well, but it becomes difficult to wake them even if one tries. They sleep soundly at night in a variety of situations: bright or dark, quiet or noisy, calm or chaotic. They can tolerate an occasional disruption of their sleep schedules, and they sleep well even during periods of emotional stress.
Other children seem inherently more susceptible to having their sleep patterns disrupted. Any change in bedtime routines -- an illness, a hospitalization, or the presence of houseguests -- can cause their sleep patterns to worsen. Even when these children have always been considered "non-sleepers," we usually find that they, too, can sleep quite satisfactorily once we have made appropriate changes in their routines, schedules, surroundings, or interactions within the family. Such children may still have occasional nights of poor sleep, but if the new routines are followed consistently, normal patterns will return quickly.
There are, of course, children who sleep very poorly for reasons we have as yet been unable to identify; however, these problems are extremely uncommon and account for only a tiny percentage of the children we see with difficulty sleeping. For these few, our usual behavioral treatments may help very little or not at all, and medication may even be required. If your child is up a great deal in the night, it may be tempting to assume that he is one of these genuinely poor sleepers. But that is almost certainly not the case. Such instances of truly poor sleep ability are quite rare among otherwise normal young children. In all probability your child's sleep problem can be solved. He almost certainly has a normal inherent ability to fall asleep and remain asleep. This is true even if he has a sleep disturbance such as sleepwalking or bedwetting. These problems, occurring during sleep or partial waking, are sometimes bigger management challenges than is sleeplessness, but with the appropriate intervention, they too can usually be decreased significantly if not resolved completely.
HOW TO TELL WHETHER YOUR CHILD HAS A SLEEP PROBLEM
If your child's sleep patterns cause a problem for you or for him, then he has a sleep problem, whether this problem is just an undesirable expression of normal function or a reflection of an actual underlying emotional or physical "disorder" in the sense of a true psychological disturbance or a physiological abnormality of body function. Sometimes it is easy to see that such a problem exists. Other times sleep problems may be less obvious and easier to miss.
It is usually clear that a problem exists, for example, if your child commonly complains that he can't fall asleep, or if you find you must be up with him repeatedly during the night. In fact, the most common problems are easy to recognize. They are: frequent difficulty falling asleep at bedtime; waking during the night with an inability to go right back to sleep without parental support or intervention; waking too early or too late in the morning; falling asleep too early or too late in the evening; difficulty getting up for school or day care; and being excessively sleepy during the day. Sleep terrors, sleepwalking, and bedwetting are also readily apparent and quite easy to identify.
Your child could also have a sleep problem that you do not recognize. You may not be able to tell if your child routinely gets too little sleep at night to function normally during the day or if by sleeping late on weekend mornings he decreases his ability to learn during the week. You (and his teacher) may think that when he falls asleep every day in school and on the bus it is because he is bored or unmotivated; in fact, he may not be getting enough sleep, his sleep may be of poor quality, or he may even have a disorder, such as narcolepsy, that leaves him unable to stay awake during the day no matter how much sleep he gets and regardless of his motivation. You may see him as lazy or irritable, not recognizing that his behaviors are a reflection of poor sleep or of a sleep disorder. You may know he snores loudly every night, but not realize that the snoring is a sign that he might not be breathing satisfactorily, a problem that can interfere with his sleep and leave him overtired and irritable during the day.
It is important to remember that poor sleep affects daytime mood, behavior, and learning. At the same time, you should also know that sleep problems don't explain all daytime problems. If you don't know enough about normal sleep patterns, you may fail to recognize sleep problems as the cause of your child's behavioral or learning difficulties, or you may be tempted to blame these difficulties on poor sleep even when your child's sleep is perfectly normal.
One of the least obvious problems of sleep is simply not getting enough of it. There is no absolute way to judge from numbers alone whether the amount of sleep your child gets per day is appropriate. After the very early months, total sleep time per twenty-four-hour period drops to about eleven or twelve hours, diminishing only very gradually after that. The total amount of sleep differs surprisingly little among children, although the way they choose to distribute it may differ. One nine-month-old may sleep nine hours at night and take two solid ninety-minute naps. Another may sleep close to twelve hours at night and nap only briefly during the day.
Children should fall asleep quickly, sleep well at night, wake spontaneously (or at least easily) in the morning, and nap only as appropriate for their age. If they do all these things and function well during the daytime, then they are probably getting enough sleep. If it's always hard to wake them, or if they sleep an extra hour or two on weekends, then they are almost certainly not getting enough sleep. This is especially likely if they also sleep inappropriately (or at least get very sleepy) during the day, or if their behavior and ability to concentrate deteriorate markedly, typically in the mid- to late afternoon. But each child is different.
We can watch a child's behavior during the day closely to see if he seems excessively sleepy or cranky, but the symptoms of insufficient sleep in a young child can be very subtle. If your two-year-old sleeps only eight hours at night but seems happy and functions well during the day, it is tempting to assume he doesn't need more sleep. But eight hours is rarely enough sleep for a two-year-old. If you can find out why he sleeps so little and make appropriate changes, he will probably sleep an hour or two longer every night. You may begin to notice an improvement in his general behavior, and only then will you be aware of the more subtle symptoms of inadequate sleep that were actually present before you adjusted his sleep schedule. Your child will probably be happier in the daytime, a bit less irritable, more able to concentrate at play, and less inclined to have tantrums, accidents, and arguments.
Adolescents almost never get enough sleep. Teenagers are not likely to wake spontaneously on school days, and they almost always sleep late on weekends (at least one hour later than on weekdays, often three to five hours later). When adolescents have the opportunity to sleep as much as they like every night, they average about nine to ten hours per night, and that is probably closer to the optimal level for their age.
Nighttime wakings are another potential problem that can be difficult to recognize as "abnormal." A young child (between six months and three years old, say) may be getting adequate amounts of sleep at night even though he wakes several times during the night and has to be helped back to sleep. Parents say to me, "Tell me if this is normal. If it is, I will continue getting up; but if it is not, then we would like to do something about it!" I assure them that most healthy full-term infants are sleeping through the night (which really means that they go back to sleep on their own after normal nighttime wakings) by three or four months of age. Certainly by six months all healthy babies can do so.
If your baby does not start sleeping through the night on his own by five or six months at the latest, or if he begins waking again after weeks or months of sleeping well, then something is interfering with the continuity of his sleep. He should be able to sleep better, and in all likelihood the disruption can be corrected.
STARTING WITH A BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF SLEEP
Before we begin to discuss specific problems and their solutions, you will need some background information about sleep itself, which is covered in Chapter 2. Although you don't need to be familiar with all the scientific research on sleep, it will be helpful for you to have some understanding of what sleep really is, how normal sleep patterns develop during childhood, and what can go wrong. Then you will be better able to recognize abnormal patterns as they begin to develop, to correct problems that have become established, and to prevent other problems from occurring.
Although the information on sleep in Chapter 2 is not overly technical, you may be eager to read the later chapters to learn about specific sleep disorders and their treatments. If that is the case, I suggest that you scan the next chapter first and then come back to read it more closely once you have identified your own child's sleep problem. Most people find the information interesting, and it is especially important for parents who want to help a child sleep better at night.Copyright ©1985, 2006 by Richard Ferber, M.D.
Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems
by by Richard Ferber
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Shatavari is one of the prime rejuvenating herbal medicines in Ayurveda. It is considered particularly helpful in conditions affecting the female reproductive system. One of its names means “having one hundred husbands” which highlights its reputation as a fertility enhancing plant.
A member of the same family as the common asparagus, shatavari has many nutritive properties. It is commonly used in India to improve the production of breast milk in nursing mothers. Its soothing effect is used in inflammatory conditions and to soothe irritated tissues. Its cooling influence may also benefit the hot flashes of women going through menopause. Shatavari is beneficial in cooling off an irritated digestive system as expressed by heartburn, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome.
Latin name: Asparagus racemosus
60 Capsules per Bottle.
Available online at Chopra Center
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
If working up a sweat on a treadmill at 5 a.m. or spending an hour a day in the gym on your way home from work isn't exactly your idea of a fun time, you may be excited to learn that you can still lose weight without exercising.
Researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana have concluded that dieting alone is equally effective at reducing weight and fat as is a combination of diet and exercise.
There's just one catch: To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. "It's all about the calories," said study leader Dr. Eric Ravussin. "So long as the energy deficit is the same, body weight, fat weight and abdominal fat will all decrease in the same way."
What's more, the research team concluded that exercise does not change body composition and abdominal fat distribution, which debunks the idea that specific exercises can reduce fat in targeted areas, such as around the tummy.
The study: Thirty-five overweight, but otherwise healthy adults, were randomly assigned to follow one of three diet and exercise combinations over a six-month period. The participants all had a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 but less than 30.
The three plans:
1. Those in the control group followed a healthy diet designed to maintain their body weight.
2. The second group consumed a diet that reduced calories by 25 percent, which equaled between 550 and 900 fewer calories a day. They did not exercise.
3. The final group reduced their calories by 12.5 percent and increased their physical activity to achieve an additional 12.5 percent increase in calorie expenditure.
For the first three months of the study, the participants were provided with all their meals. During the final three months they could self-select food, but calorie consumption was monitored. Those in the exercise group had a structured regimen they followed five days a week. Everyone participated in weekly educational meetings that also boosted their motivation and morale.
The results: Participants in both the calorie-restricted group and the exercise group lost approximately 10 percent of their body weight, 24 percent of their fat mass, and 27 percent of their abdominal visceral fat. The distribution of the fat in the body, however, was not altered by either approach. "The inability of the interventions to alter the distribution of fat suggests that individuals are genetically programmed for fat storage in a particular pattern and that this programming cannot easily be overcome," said Ravussin. "It also helps settle much of the debate over the independent and combined effects of dieting and increased physical activity on improving metabolic risk factors such as body composition and fat distribution."
But do note this: The researchers were quick to point out that exercise does improve aerobic fitness, which has other important cardiovascular and metabolic implications. "For overall health, an appropriate program of diet and exercise is still the best," said Ravussin.
The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
--From the Editors at Netscape
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Monday, June 16, 2008
It's not just what you eat that's making you fat, it's also how you eat.
Eating too much and exercising too little will make you fat, but other things influence weight gain, too. How fast you eat, what else you're doing while you eat and even the size of your plate and glass can have a powerful influence on how much food you swallow.
How can you break the mindless eating trap? Slow down and pay attention, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Eating your food more slowly not only helps you savor it, but also helps you to eat less. At the University of Rhode Island, researchers invited 30 women to have dinner in their laboratory where they were served a tasty pasta dish. The ladies were told to eat quickly, and they finished, on average, in nine minutes. In a second test, the same women were served the same dish but told to slow down and chew each mouthful 15 to 20 times. They were told to stop eating when they felt full. It took them about a half-hour to finish the meal. The results? When the women ate slowly, they consumed 67 fewer calories than when they wolfed down their food.
What does that mean? If you were to eliminate 67 calories at dinner every night--and made no other changes to your lifestyle--you would lose seven pounds in a year.
Meanwhile, Brian Wansink, author of the book "Mindless Eating" and director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, N.Y., insists it is external factors that make us eat too much. He told the Wall Street Journal that the average person makes about 200 food decisions every day, but puts real thought into only about 10 percent of them.
Seven factors that encourage mindless eating:
- Distractions while we eat, such as watching TV.
- Location of the food on the table.
- Size of the plate or container.
- You'll eat more if you like what you're drinking.
- Not paying attention to the extras, such as bread.
- Too much variety.
- Dining with friends.
- Try to be the last person to start eating.
- Decide how much to eat before sitting down.
- Use smaller dishes so portions look larger.
- Don't eat in front of the TV or in the car.
- Eat chips or sweets only on the days you exercise.
- Cover half your plate with vegetables or salad.
- Leave serving bowls in the kitchen and not on the table.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET™ Featured in Two-Hour E! Entertainment Network Special
E! Entertainment Network Special Includes Interviews with Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET™ Creator Sanford Siegal, D.O., M.D., and His Patients
Miami, FL (PRWEB) January 2, 2008 -- Dr. Siegal's Direct Nutritionals LLC, the global distributor of Dr. Siegal's® COOKIE DIET™ products and operator of the CookieDietOnline.com web site, today announced that Dr. Sanford Siegal's 33 year old weight loss system and hunger-controlling meal replacement cookies, shakes and soup will be featured in a two-hour THS Investigates special on E! Entertainment Network this Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at noon and 8pm EST. The cable network recently spent a day in Dr. Siegal's Miami clinic speaking to patients who've lost weight on the cookie-based diet system developed in 1975 by the renowned physician, author, and obesity expert. Among the patients who were interviewed by E! were a married couple who together lost more than 100 pounds.
"I was flattered when the True Hollywood Stories producers at E! asked to spend a day at Siegal Medical Group observing how we've used Dr. Siegal's® COOKIE DIET™ in our own medical practice for more than thirty years. I know that E! focuses on entertainment rather than news so I was impressed by the producers' eagerness to understand the science behind what has been a very successful weight loss system, " said Dr. Siegal. "We talked for hours, not just about Dr. Siegal's® COOKIE DIET™ but also about the history of dieting going back more than a hundred years."
Dr. Siegal is frequently in the news. Over the years he has been profiled by ABC's Good Morning America, New York Daily News, CNN, and Fox News Channel. Due to the recent resurgence of interest in hypothyroidism that was sparked by Oprah Winfrey, several media profiles of Dr. Siegal's book on the subject, Is Your Thyroid Making You Fat? (Warner Books, 2000), are scheduled in early 2008.
"We haven't seen the E! show yet but we're looking forward to it. Given that we've helped more than a half million people lose weight safely during the past thirty-three years, we're a little puzzled that they used the word 'fad' in the title," said Matthew Siegal, president and CEO of Dr. Siegal's Direct Nutritionals, which distributes Dr. Siegal's products worldwide. "Whenever you deal with the media, you have to be prepared for anything. Producers sometimes sacrifice accuracy for entertainment and ratings. We trust that the producers at True Hollywood Stories are conscientious people and that they will accurately present the Dr. Siegal's® COOKIE DIET™ success story."
Dr. Siegal conceived the idea of a cookie-based diet in the early 1970's while researching his book on the role of the hypothalamus in satiety and weight loss. Recognizing that hunger is the main reason why most diets fail, Dr. Siegal created a proprietary blend of amino acid food proteins that provides unusually strong hunger suppression per calorie. He baked his protein blend into a cookie and found that it enabled his patients to faithfully adhere to the reduced calorie diet that he prescribes and monitors. He later developed diet shakes and diet soup with the same hunger-suppressing quality. More than 500,000 people have since used the products, and hundreds of other doctors have provided them to patients in their own medical practices. Dr. Siegal manufactures all of his foods in his private bakery in Miami.
Dr. Siegal's® COOKIE DIET™ hunger-controlling foods and nutritional supplements are available by phone 24/7 at 866-464-5595 toll-free; online at CookieDietOnline.com; and from select doctors, drug stores and retailers. They're also available at Dr. Siegal's® COOKIE DIET™ kiosks in Paradise Valley Mall in Phoenix, AZ; Boca Raton Town Center Mall in Boca Raton, FL; and Moorestown Mall near the Philadelphia suburb of Cherry Hill, NJ. A second Phoenix location will open on January 11th at Chandler Fashion Center. More kiosks will open each month throughout 2008.