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Getting A Good Night’s Sleep is Vital To Your Student’s Physical and Mental Health

Sleep Hygiene is an often-misunderstood term. It’s not about bedtime rituals such as showers or brushing teeth, but about making sure that restful sleep is attained. For some, sleep is a stressful subject and insomnia is an issue. But some who believe they are sleeping well may show symptoms of being sleep deprived.

Sky Ridge Medical Center presented to a packed audience of DCSD parents and staff about the importance of Sleep Hygiene. Attendees left with information to help their families increase their overall health, attention and productivity.

“I highly recommend that every parent attend the Sleep Hygiene seminar,” said a parent of DCSD students. “Our culture continues to move faster and we are heavily involved in electronics that can distract us from healthy sleep habits. There are so many negative effects that poor sleep hygiene can have on a person and I learned how to help myself and my children achieve a healthier lifestyle."

While some people may perceive a goal of good rest as unattainable in this era of constant activity, it is vital to good health. According to some estimates, 90% of people with insomnia also have another health condition. Some of the health conditions associated with sleep deprivation include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Mental impairment
  • Fetal and childhood growth retardation

The greatest barrier to excellent, healthy rest is electronic devices – cell phones, laptops, television. How many people make it a nightly ritual to relax in bed and allow television to lull them into sleep? Television is a very engaging medium and therefore requires the attention of our senses, whether we are actively watching or not. As a result, TV will either keep people up longer, or can interfere with the quality of sleep if left on.

Of course, the other most used device is the smart phone. Usually next to our bed charging, receiving texts or emails and engaging us to catch up on our day on social media, smart phones are constant beacons of activity. But that blue screen is horrific for our sleep and our mental health.

The body maintains a 24-hour internal clock that runs in the background of the brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It's called the “circadian rhythm,” also known as the sleep/wake cycle. 

The blue screen, even if used for a moment to receive a text or check and email interrupts the circadian rhythm. Photoreceptors in the retina sense light and dark, which allows the brain to align the circadian rhythm to the external day-night cycle. This signaling of light and dark enables one to be alert in the morning and fall asleep at the appropriate time at night based on melatonin production. Small electronic devices emit enough light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness at night, which over time permanently alters the circadian rhythm and leads to chronic sleep deprivation as melatonin production is decreased.

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders mean that your body is producing melatonin and other sleep hormones at the wrong time of day, so when you need to sleep, you don’t have enough melatonin in your system. Simply adding melatonin doesn’t fix the sleep problem and can contribute to depressive mood disorders. The most effective treatment for circadian rhythm sleep disorders is light therapy, because bright light is the signaler the body clock uses to reset itself each day.

To ensure the best sleep, some of these ideas may help the body regulate its rhythm:

  • Shut off and remove all electronics an hour before lights out
  • Use comfortable bedding
  • A cool bedroom is often the most conducive to sleeping
  • Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible
  • Reserve the bed for sleep only
  • Practice relaxation techniques before bed
  • Establish a pre-sleep ritual

The next class offered through Parent University and Sky Ridge Medical Center is Managing Sports Injuries and Preventing Concussion on Wednesday, October 11 at 6pm. Snacks and refreshments are provided and the workshop is free. Sign up here

September 28, 2017 | By CSilberman | Category: Parent University

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.