Tag High school

UCLA offers back-to-school study tips

UCLA offers back-to-school study tips – Los Angeles health | Examiner.com.
An excellent article by Dr Robin Wulffson.

Another summer is drawing to a close and Los Angeles students will soon be returning to school. Researchers at UCLA conducted a study to determine how students can boost their grades in a manner compatible with a healthy lifestyle. They caution that postponing studying for a big exam until the last minute and then embarking on a caffeine-fueled cram session is not the way to go. They published their findings online on August 20 in the journal Child Development

The researchers note that the problem with all night cram sessions before an exam is the trade-off between study and sleep. Obviously, studying is a key contributor to academic achievement; however, what students may fail to appreciate is that adequate sleep is also important for academics. Senior author Andrew J. Fuligni, a UCLA professor of psychiatry, and colleagues note that sacrificing sleep for extra study time, whether it is cramming for a test or plowing through a pile of homework, is actually counterproductive. They caution that regardless of how much a student generally studies each day, if that student sacrifices sleep time in order to study more than usual, he or she is likely to have more academic problems, not less, on the following day.

Dr. Fuligni explains, “No one is suggesting that students shouldn’t study, but adequate amount of sleep is also critical for academic success. These results are consistent with emerging research suggesting that sleep deprivation impedes leaning.” He notes that students generally learn best when they keep a consistent study schedule. Although a steady pace of learning is ideal, the increasing demands that high school students face may make such a consistent schedule difficult. Socializing with peers and work, for example, both increase across the course of high school. So do academic obligations like homework that requires more time and effort. As a result, many high school students end up with irregular study schedules, often facing nights in which they need to spend substantially more time than usual studying or completing school work.

Dr. Fuligni notes, “The biologically-needed hours of sleep remain constant through their high school years, even as the average amount of sleep students get declines.” He explains that previous research has shown that in 9th grade, the average adolescent sleeps for 7.6 hours per night; then declines to 7.3 hours in 10th grade, 7.0 hours in 11th grade, and 6.9 hours in 12th grade. “So kids start high school getting less sleep then they need, and this lack of sleep gets worse over the course of high school.”

The study group was comprised of 535 Latino, Asian-American, and European-American students in each of the 9th, 10th, and 12th grades who were recruited from three Los Angeles area high schools. They were asked to record in a diary for a 14-day period how long they studied, how long they slept, and whether or not they experienced two academic problems: not understanding something taught the following day in class, or if they did poorly on a test, quiz, or homework. In all instances, the investigators found that study time became increasingly associated with more academic problems because longer study hours were increasingly associated with fewer hours of sleep. In turn, that predicted greater academic problems the following day.

First author Cari Gillen-O’Neel, a graduate student working with Fuligni, notes, “At first it was somewhat surprising to find that in the latter years of high school, cramming tended to be followed by days with more academic problems, but then it made sense once we examined extra studying in the context of sleep. Although we expected that cramming might not be as effective as students think, our results showed that extra time spent studying cut into sleep. And it’s this reduced sleep that accounts for the increase in academic problems that occurs after days of increased studying.” Dr. Fuligni added, that, as expected, students who averaged more study time overall were the students who tended to receive higher grades in school. But, “Academic success may depend on finding strategies to avoid having to give up sleep to study, such as maintaining a consistent study schedule across days, using school time as efficiently as possible, and sacrificing time spent on other, less essential activities.”

Take home message:
In my opinion, this study is very relevant to college students. College is significantly more academically challenging than high school. The courses are more difficult and the competition is keener. Many students who did well in high school not uncommonly get a comeuppance when they receive a poor grade on a midterm or final. Some improve their study habits and persevere; however, some flunk out. Students at any educational should heed the advice given in this study. In so doing, they will maximize their chances of academic success—and lead a more health lifestyle. Here’s another trip that I found effective as a student: after hitting the sack after an evening of study, review important material (i.e., flash cards or notes). This last minute input of information is often absorbed very well.


Can’t study? Kids with sleep apnea have hard time focusing

Can’t study? Kids with sleep apnea have hard time focusing – Health – MiamiHerald.com.

Contd from Miami Herald

“Obstructive apnea affects 2 percent of children between 2 and 6 years old. It is more common at that age range because their tonsils and adenoids are large compared to the rest of the body and can block the respiratory tract,” Deray says. “Beginning at age 6 they start to get smaller because they are no longer as necessary for the immunologic system. The problem tends to disappear, though it could return again in their adult life.”

In adults, this condition is common among men over 50, especially if they are overweight. In children, “it is as common in girls as in boys” and can affect children who have a normal weight, Deray says.

Another important difference between adult apnea and children’s is the number of “respiratory events” used to define the seriousness of the problem, known as apnea-hipopnea index (AHI). This diagnostic method measures partial breathing obstructions — known as hipopnea — and the apneas, or respiratory interruptions, over one hour. In adults, the diagnosis is considered mild when there are from five to 15 interruptions, moderate when there are from 15 to 30, and serious when there are more than 30.

But, as Martínez explains, “the definitions of apnea and hipopnea are different in children than in adults, who tend to have more episodes. So, if a pediatric chart is not used to evaluate the episodes but the adult method of counting is used instead, most of the cases will misdiagnose the apnea’s level of seriousness.”

Another factor is that adults can have breathing interruptions of as long as 10 seconds without consequences, while in children that number goes down dramatically to three seconds.

“If the lack of oxygen generated by the apnea lasts a long period of time, it can cause damage to body organs,” says Deray, who points out, however, that “this was a much more serious problem 20 years ago, when infantile obstructive apnea was not identified as often and many children suffered from chronic lack of oxygen.”

Today, he noted, “It is much more common that frequent sleep interruptions caused by apnea generate symptoms similar to ADHD instead of the sleepiness that occurs in adults.”

Specialists recommend that parents be alert to their children’s sleeping patterns, especially if they snore.

“Most children suffering from obstructive apnea snore, though not all children who snore suffer from apnea,” Mavunda says. “It’s important for parents to listen to the rhythm of snoring, which is different in apnea patients, whose snoring is generally stronger and then nothing is heard for a while until it starts again.

“What happens in these cases is that the child’s respiratory tract is collapsing when the snoring is stronger and the brain enters an emergency mode and sends a wake-up signal. So children wake up, stop snoring for a while and later the process starts again.”

It is precisely these frequent sleep interruptions that prevent rest and cause behavioral issues. Mavunda, however, says one can confuse the symptoms of obstructive apnea with other disorders.

“Apnea symptoms are very similar to those of allergies and inflammatory processes in nasal passages,” she says. “In South Florida we have more allergens than in any other area of the country, and if the patient’s nasal passage gets inflamed by some allergy, it can get blocked and cause breathing problems while sleeping. Therefore, parents must monitor their children’s environment and make sure that there are no causes for allergies.”

If allergies are not the problem, there is a good chance that a child’s tonsils and adenoids are contributing to the condition.

“In 99 percent of the cases, apnea symptoms improve after the tonsils and adenoids are removed,” Deray says.

Such was the case with Anthony, who stopped snoring after his adenoids were removed.

“He now sleeps a lot better and gets up rested,” says his mother.

For those who continue to have problems after the toncils and adenoids are removed, there is the option of using an oxygen mask known as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). This guarantees the oxygen flow in the respiratory tract and prevents it from collapsing.

“But this solution is only for a minority of very severe cases,” says Martínez of Hollywood’s Regional Memorial Hospital.

For Best Performance High School Kids Need 7 Hours of Sleep Before a Test – Examiner.com

English: So called "New Matura" from...

Image via Wikipedia

On the night before a big test, make sure your high school student gets at least seven hours worth of sleep.  While that is less than what is currently recommended as adequate rest, a new study finds that 16 to 18 year olds perform better academically just under that amount

It has been estimated that up to 10% of school children suffer from sleep disturbances.  An insufficient amount of sleep leads to poor school performance and lower grades.  There also tends to be behavioral problems in children who don’t get enough sleep.  And teens who drive to school are at greater risk for accidents when they are drowsy.

Eric Eide and Mark Showalter with Brigham Young University analyzed data collected from a sample of just over 1,700 students.  They compared the amount of sleep they got and how they scored on standardized tests.  The optimal amount of sleep for a 10-year-old is 9 to 9.5 hours.  For a 16-year-old in high school, the magic number is 7 hours of sleep.

Continue reading Denise Reynolds’ article on Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/back-to-school-in-national/for-best-performance-high-school-kids-need-seven-hours-of-sleep-before-a-test#ixzz1m5lt6TzC

Delay School Start Time & Save a Teen

Both my teenage daughters, responsible teens and smart students with a ton of extracurricular activities, had serious car crashes with significant damage to the vehicle. But with God’s grace, they both survived these crashes.  Not every teen is that fortunate. In 2008, a huge number of teens (6,428) died as a result of vehicular accidents in USA according to Department of Motor Vehicles, California. What can we do to eliminate this? Can later school start time help?

Looking for an answer,  Dr. Robert Daniel Vorona and his colleagues at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA analyzed crash test data for two neighboring cities in Virginia, VB (earlier start times by 75-80 minutes) and Chesapeake and published their findings in this month’s Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. They found that VB teens had significantly higher crash rates than Chesapeake as shown in the following graph.

How can we achieve a later start time for our teens?

For VB and Chesapeake, teen drivers’ crash rates in 2008 were 65.8/1000 and 46.6/1000 (p < 0.001), respectively, and in 2007 were 71.2/1000 and 55.6/1000. Congestion data for VB and Chesapeake did not explain the different crash rates.  

Want to delay school start time in your community? National Sleep Foundation has a few tips here to help you get started.  

Do you have suggestions on how to convince schools to change the school start time? Do you have a story to tell? Let us work together and save a teen.

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