If you've cut out the unhealthy snacks but you're still a bit overweight, you may want to take a good long look at your alarm clock — new research shows that it may be making you overweight.
Obviously, your alarm clock isn't sneaking food in your mouth while you're not looking. But it is likely disrupting your natural sleeping rhythm, a key to good health. According to Dr. Steve Kubas of the Mayo Clinic, "if you're waking up typically before your body would want you to be getting up that would be somewhat the definition of some degree of sleep deprivation." Poor sleeping habits have been linked to being overweight, smoking, drinking, and excessive caffeine use.
You're not the only one who needs your sleep — studies show your teen needs a quality sleep rhythm, too, and almost certainly more rest than he or she is getting. "Sleep is actually critical for learning and memory. Sleep is critical for growth," said Dr. Marcel Deray of Miami Children's Hospital. It is suggested that teens get between 9 and 10 hours of sleep a night due to the hormonal changes their bodies are going through.
Need some help getting that natural rhythm to conform to your — and your family's — lifestyle? Dr. Shahriar Shahzeidi of the University of Miami recommends taking melatonin, a supplement available in many drug stores and supermarkets, about 15 minutes before bedtime. He believes in it enough to offer it to his own daughter to help her get a better night's sleep: "At 8:30 she takes the melatonin and goes to sleep at 9. Then she can wake up at 6 in the morning and she's had enough sleep."
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