Advice from the docs: Try the sleep diet - it works

King Features SyndicateJuly 10, 2014 

In the 1953 Disney short "How to Sleep," the floppy-eared Goofy warned that people were finding it difficult to get enough shut-eye because of "today's mad pace!" Now, more than 60 years later, those seem like pretty peaceful times - no computers, smartphones or 1,000-station HDTVs. And our sleep crisis has worsened.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep is epidemic, and it has a particularly severe impact on kids. Nationwide, about 70 percent of school-age kids get eight or less hours of sleep a night (they need several hours more!) and most preschoolers are getting less than the 11-13 hours a night they need. The result: Kids pack on pounds! Researchers think this sleep-deprived fat-bump happens because insufficient sleep causes hormone shifts that crank up insulin production, a surefire pound-packer. Sleeplessness also can stimulate sugar cravings for refined, carb-loaded foods. Your kids end up with poor school performance, not to mention Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, sleep apnea and low self-esteem.

The solution? Mom and Dad! When parents create an orderly sleep pattern, starting with themselves, their kids get enough sleep, too, and everyone in the family is far less likely to be overweight or obese. So try the sleep diet: Create a bedtime routine that includes: a calming bath; a no-TV, no-computer, no-game zone; reading a book in bed; and lights out at the same time every night.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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