The Nutrition of Sleep

The Nutrition of Sleep

Often when we ask our patients about sleep hygiene, we provide education on exercise regimens, lighting, and sleep conducive routines.  A new study from Northwestern suggests that we add discussing diet as well.  Joseph Bass and his colleagues discovered a connection between high-fat diets and the disruption of circadian rhythms in mice.  After only two weeks on a more fatty diet, the normally nocturnal mice had trouble sticking to their regular schedules of sleeping and waking.  This establishes that there is a two-way link between diet and circadian rhythms, a link we may want to point out with our patients whether they struggle with depression, diabetes, and/or obesity.


Some interesting and hopefully reassuring research has come out for those of us who work with children diagnosed with ADHD.  The National Institute for Mental Health analyzed cortical scans in equal numbers of children diagnosed with ADHD and neurotypically developing children over a several-year-long period.  The results indicate that children with ADHD have up to a three-year lag in brain development, but have a normal pattern of cortex maturation.  This should reassure families that many children with ADHD outgrow the disorder, and see it as a form of neurological immaturity in many cases.  NIMH acknowledges that not all children with ADHD have equally good outcomes, and is now beginning to study why such differences occur.

Immigration Raids Hurt Youngest US Citizens

As you listen to the presidential candidates canvassing, pay close attention to their stance on immigration.  Researchers in three cities, including New Bedford, MA, recently interviewed 500 children whose suspected undocumented immigrant parents were recently detained in workplace raids.  The study, conducted by the Washington think tank Urban Institute found that the children faced mental health problems including PTSD, depression and separation anxiety.  Those who did have one parent remaining to care for them had compromised care due to the fact that that parent was often less accustomed to making decisions and/or the inability to access their spouse’s money.

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