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Lack of Sleep Tied to Higher Risk of Diabetes in Kids

A new study shows that children’s risk of diabetes may be lowered if they simply get a little more sleep, Reuters reports. While once rare in children, Type 2 diabetes is no longer an adult-only disease, so health officials are scrambling to find ways to prevent it. Research suggests that lack of sleep hinders the body’s ability to use or make enough insulin, and study authors think that one effective approach would be to simply get more sleep. Two ideas for helping with this are turning off electronics and sleeping in a dark room, they said.

I couldn’t agree more with these researchers’ suggestions, whether it’s a child you’re trying to help get more sleep, or yourself. Turning off electronics, as well as all WiFi routers and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) is the first step in preparing for a better night’s sleep.

But even before that, attention to light and darkness at the appropriate times of day is especially important. Getting sunlight in the morning is one way to help reset your circadian clock daily. Ten to 15 minutes of morning sunlight sends a strong message that it's time to rise and shine. In this way, your body is less likely to be confused by weaker light signals later in the day.

Then, when it’s time for bed, my rule of thumb is, if there is enough light in your bedroom at night to see your hand in front of your face, then there is too much light. Your body requires light during the day to produce healthy amounts of melatonin, but at night light inhibits production. In addition to installing blackout drapes in your child's bedroom, avoid exposure to blue light at night and have your child wear blue-light blocking glasses after the sun sets.
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