Going to Bed Late Linked to Poorer Outcomes Years Later

It’s a constant battle for some of us to get our kids to go to bed at a decent hour.  What is “decent” is actually not too hard to figure out due to recent research by UC Berkeley.  An article discussing the research reported that “teens who went to bed later than 11:30 p.m. on school nights and 1:30 a.m. in the summer had lower GPAs than teens who got to bed earlier. They were also more susceptible to emotional problems.”  This was not a short term problem, that sleeping in on weekends solves.  The research showed an association with poor educational and emotional outcomes an entire 6 to 8 years later!  What can we do as parents?  One thing my husband and I did was put our router in our bedroom, with a timer on it so that the internet turned off at 11:00.  With cell phones now offering 24/7 access to the internet, it’s important to cut off phone access at night as well.  We are host parents for international students, and the private school they attend requires us to have the students park their phones outside their rooms overnight.  We use a table in the hall outside our bedroom.  Parents…do you have any ideas to share?  We welcome your comments.

Study Drug Use More Common Than We Think

Are you SURE your child has never used study drugs?  Ever?  If your answer is 100% sure, then you are pretty much like other parents.  Only 1% of those parents whose child has not been prescribed medication for ADHD believe their child has ever used a prescription amphetamine or other stimulant to get an “edge” while studying or taking tests.

The truth is that quite a bit more teens actually have used these so-called “study drugs.”  According to Psychcentral.com, a University of Michigan national poll showed that “10 percent of high school sophomores and 12 percent of high school seniors say they have used an amphetamine or other stimulant medication not prescribed by their doctor.”   But, the article says, “only 27 percent of parents polled said they have talked to their teens about using study drugs. Black parents were more likely to have discussed this issue with their teens (41 percent), compared with white (27 percent) or Hispanic (17 percent) parents.”  Knowing that these are powerful drugs that can be harmful to anyone, parents should be warning teens (and college students) not to share their ADHD drugs with others, or buy them from those who have these prescription drugs. 

Energy Drinks Can Lead to Emergency Room Visits

In a period of four years, emergency room visits tied to energy drinks doubled, with teens and young adults accounting for more than half of the visits, CBS reported this month. According to the article, one drink might contain the caffeine equivalent of 5 cups of coffee, so it’s no wonder that emergency room physicians are seeing  “a clear uptick in the number of patients suffering from irregular heartbeats, anxiety and heart attacks who said they had recently downed an energy drink.”   Two senators are calling for the FDA to study the issue, after reports of energy drinks leading to “insomnia, nervousness, headache, fast heartbeat and seizures….”  The top three energy drink brands (in case you aren’t aware of what your child could be  consuming) are Red Bull, Monster, and Rock Star.