Doctor Oz and Dr. Michael Breus, author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health, gave Amy and Jimmy advice on how to get a good night’s sleep, and the consequences of not getting quality sleep. Dr. Oz says that you need 7 hours of sleep a night, but it is not just sleep that you need – quality sleep is key. Amy and Jimmy are parents of two kids and one boston terrier dog. Their son Max is a restless sleeper, and 6 months ago when Amy went back to work, Max started to insist that he sleep in his parent’s bed. Add to that the fact that their boston terrier snores very loudly, and it is no wonder that poor Amy and Jimmy are sleep deprived.
Dr. Michael Breus said that the true dangers of not getting enough sleep are negative impacts for your blood pressure, cardiovascular health and it makes you feel and look older. Not convinced yet? Dr. Oz said that if you get 5 or less hours of quality sleep each night, then there is a 50% increased risk of diabetes and obesity. Women who get under 5 hours of quality sleep increase their chance of heart problems by 45%, and the numbers are even worse for men. Plus, 1 in 5 motor vehicle accidents could potentially be prevented by getting better sleep. What about the impact of poor sleep on your children? Dr. Breus said that 25% of children with ADHD could have underlying sleeping disorders. Think about it, if children are sleep deprived, they don’t tell their parents that they want to take a nap, instead they act rambunctious.
Dr. Oz and Dr. Breus tested Amy and Jimmy at night to see how much quality sleep they are getting. Both of them got just over 7 hours of sleep each night. Jimmy wakes up 2 times a night and Amy wakes up 5 times a night. Dr. Oz said that at most, you should wake up once a night. You should aim for 20% of your sleep cycle to be deep sleep. Jimmy’s sleep cycle is 11% deep sleep and Amy’s is 9% deep sleep. REM sleep is when you usually are dreaming, which is usually about 25% of the time that you sleep. Jimmy gets REM sleep 21% of the time he sleeps and Amy gets REM sleep 31% of the time. At first glance, this would look great… but Dr. Breus said that the fact that Amy’s REM sleep percentage is so high is due to the fact that her body is throwing her into deep sleep very quickly because her body is so sleep deprived.
Dr. Oz & Dr. Breus’ 4 Things To Break the Cycle of Bad Quality Sleep:
1. Get Rid of the Guilt
If you spend more hours at your job, and therefore are home less hours, you cannot make up for this by allowing your children to sleep in your bed with you because it is negatively impacting both your sleep and your child’s sleep. Instead, carve out other times to spend real quality time with your child.
2. Set the Stage
You have to let your child know what is going to happen. Teach him and educate him on how poor sleep can effect him. And try a transitional object like a teddy bear. Give your child the teddy bear and tell him that the teddy bear will help him to sleep, but that the teddy bear cannot leave his room.
3. Take the Path of Most Resistance
Kids will take advantage if they are given even a little wiggle room, so set strict lines.
4. Bet on Bribery
Dr. Breus had a similar issue with his son, who is a car fanatic. He told his son that every night he slept in his own bed, he would get a toy car (which is a $1 investment). At the end of the week, if he was able to get 3-4 hot wheel cars, then he could also pick a restaurant for the family to go out to – which was also a great way to spend more quality, family time together.
Dr. Breus did mention that sometimes there is a serious reason why a child gets up in the middle of the night, like perhaps there are issues at school or outside of the house which is causing nightmares… obviously, you should check for these potential issues as well.