Stop Brain Drain Before it Starts
June 13, 2018 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments (0)

by A.S. Braverman

The end of the school year is in sight and summer is right around the corner. Kids and parents alike are excited for the chance to slow down and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the school year, not to mention things like sleepaway camp, pool parties, and ice cream in the shade. But there’s a flip side to summer vacation—brain drain. Kids lose months’ worth of academic skills, including reading, writing, math, and executive functioning skills, and this puts them at a real disadvantage when they go back to school in the fall. To prevent this learning loss, try some of the following activities:


  • Go to a museum – When the day is just too hot to do much outside, visit a museum (especially a natural history museum). Kids will love the displays and interactive exhibits. This is a great way for them to get some science review (or history, or art), and for the family to spend time together. Plus: the air conditioning will feel great.


  • Send postcards — Make a summer-long game out of collecting the best postcards of the sights and landmarks in your town. Take some time every week to fill them out and send them to faraway friends or relatives. It will be excellent writing and geography practice.


  • Have a spelling bee – If you’re worried about your learners’ spelling skills, hold a spelling bee with a summery twist. Set up a bucket of water balloons that the “audience” (parents, neighbors, school friends) can throw at anybody who misspells their word.


  • Plan an excursion – Get your kids to practice using their planning and time management skills by having them plan out a day trip for you to take together. Make it fun and keep it organized by mapping out the day’s events using color coded markers, stickers, and other craft supplies.


  • Read together — Sometimes even the summer months can get hectic. When you have some down time, it’s nice to sit with your kids and read out loud. Choose a book that piques their interest, and alternate listening and reading, making sure the kids get a chance to do both, too. This will help them keep up their spelling skills, and can even be used as a gentle way to develop public speaking skills.




Author Bio: A.S. Braverman is an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group and a recent graduate of Columbia University. Thinking Caps has published many books, including SAT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2012) and ACT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2013). The company has been featured in The New York Times, Parenting, and The Huffington Post.

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Chew On This!
May 23, 2018 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Chew On This!
by Dr. Jacqueline Dikansky
It’s 7:55 AM and your child’s school bus is arriving in 5 minutes. You’ve just placed a nutritious and delicious lunch inside a lunchbox and are wondering what to pack for snack time. How about some cookies? An apple? Dried mango? As a pediatric dentist, I am here to provide advice to make snacking as ‘teeth-friendly’ as possible. After all, we want your little one’s smile to be as healthy as it is beautiful.

There are genetic factors—such as bacterial profile and composition and secretion rate of saliva—that come into play when determining your risk for tooth decay. However, there are also significant factors that you have more control over, such as hygiene and diet. This is why it’s important to know what makes some snacks better for dentition than others. The bacteria in your mouth needs access to specific carbohydrates to cause cavities. Therefore, two important factors that determine how dangerous a snack food is for your teeth are the presence of these specific carbohydrates and the snack food’s retentiveness. In other words, we should consider what a snack is feeding the bacteria in our mouths and the amount of time it’s allowing the bacteria in our mouths to feast on it.

What does all this mean?! Here are some key takeaway points.

1.     Fresh fruit and vegetables are a go! As you may have expected, these get the green light for advisable snacking. The fibrous texture of many fruit and vegetables even provides teeth a cleansing effect, and stimulates the gums.  
2.     Milk and other dairy products offer protective qualities! Cheese and unsweetened yogurt are great snack choices. Milk has shown to help strengthen teeth, partly due to the casein protein found in milk that prevents demineralization. Avoid sweetened flavored milk, however, as the sugar may counteract its benefits.
3.     “If it’s sticky, it’s icky!” Sticky foods, such as gummy candy and dried fruit (i.e. raisins!), adhere to the surfaces of teeth and allow bacteria to sustain the cavity-forming process over an extended period of time.
4.     Sharing the above sentiment, potato chips and cookies are dangerous as well. These foods are not sticky per se, but they get pulverized and packed into the grooves, nooks and crannies of teeth, where they remain for an extended period of time. This too offers bacteria prolonged fueling of the tooth decay process. Fun facts: data shows that children who snack on cookies have 3.89 times more dental decay than children who don’t snack on cookies. Cavities in children who snack on potato chips are 4.28 times more common than in children who don’t consume potato chips!
5.     Sweetened beverages? Soda is a sugar shower for your teeth. Research shows again and again the deleterious effects of frequent soda consumption. Less intuitively, fruit juice can be dangerous due to its acidity. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following recommendations: For children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day.
6.     Finally, the frequency of snacking is extremely important! Every time you snack, the environment in your mouth changes to one that is more conducive to forming cavities. Try and limit snacking to 1-2 times per day.
I certainly want your little one to enjoy all of his/her favorite foods, regardless of where they fall on this list! We just want to make sure this is done in the most protective way possible for the teeth. If your child did have potato chips, gummy candy, or any of the foods that may pose a greater risk to the teeth, go ahead and brush his/her teeth not long thereafter, if possible. If not, at least have your little one drink a lot of water (or milk!) after snacking to increase clearance and wash that snack off the teeth. Snack happy, but also snack healthy!

1.     Snacking Habits and Caries in Young Children. Johansson et al. Caries Res. November 2010.
2.     The relationship between snacking habits and dental caries
in school children. Iftikhar et al.  International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health. Vol. 4 No. 12 (2012)
3.      Evaluating the Cariogenic Potential of Flavored Milk: An Experimental Study using Rat Model. Al-Jobair et al. Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice. January 2015.

About the author:
Dr. Jacqueline Dikansky is a pediatric dentist who practices at iSmile Kids, a dental practice in lower Manhattan. She is a native of Brooklyn, NY and completed both her undergraduate and graduate education at New York University. Dr. Dikansky graduated dental school with honors in pediatric dentistry. She also received the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Predoctoral Student Award, given to a single senior student who shows the most promise in pediatric dentistry. After receiving her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, she completed an additional 2- year specialty training program in pediatric dentistry at Yale University. Besides dentistry, Jacqueline’s passions are fitness, travel and ballroom dancing. She was a competitive ballroom dancer for over 13 years! You can find more information on Dr. Dikansky at
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How to Become a Digital Savvy Parent
May 9, 2018 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on How to Become a Digital Savvy Parent

infographic by Amy K. Williams

data gathered from

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Start the School Year Right
September 11, 2017 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Start the School Year Right

Fall is just around the corner. There are lots of things to look forward to—the crunch of dry leaves, the comfort of your favorite sweater, pumpkin pie and apple cider, and, of course, the start of the new school year! As exciting as it is for kids and parents alike, this yearly transition can also be a big source of stress. It’s easy to let little things fall through the cracks in the hubbub of September. Your kids might be getting more homework as they get older, and lots of students participate in so many extracurricular activities that they’re hard to keep straight!  Here are five ways to make your back-to-school experience as smooth as possible.

Get Organized

Make sure your child’s study space is free of the clutter that can distract from schoolwork. You can also set up a system of organization that he or she can use right from the beginning of the semester. Some students find that a color-coded binder helps them keep all their assignments in order. Others might benefit from keeping a weekly planner in a notebook or online.  A family calendar in a prominent location—such as the living room or kitchen—is another good way to encourage time management. Additionally, the act of crossing off finished tasks can help give kids a feeling of accomplishment and autonomy.


Make a Schedule

Outline a daily “plan of attack” for school projects, social events, activities, and chores. Make sure your child records his/her assignments in the same place every week—such as in the notebook or online planner mentioned above. Next, we suggest “chunking” assignments into smaller, manageable steps, and then ordering those steps according to the project due date and the length of time your child will need to complete each step. You can use this plan to tackle daily homework and study time, as well as longer projects, such as papers or science projects. Ultimately, these steps will help your child learn the time management skills necessary to complete any long-term task.

Identify Your Child’s Learning Style

        One of the most important things you can do to ensure a great school year is to understand how your child learns best. This information will help you tailor study and organization strategies to your child’s strengths and challenges. Some children absorb information by listening; we call these kids auditory learners. Other students—visual learners—do best when information is convey visually, through charts or illustrations. Finally, kinesthetic learners apprehend concepts through touch, by physically working through ideas and problems. Often, students exhibit a variety of these traits, so it’s essential that you get to know your child’s particular needs.

Remember To Take Breaks

        The beginning of the year can feel overwhelming for everyone, parents and kids alike! As the days get shorter they also seem to get fuller. Don’t forget to build breaks into your child’s routine. Even a two-minute stretch, walk around the house, or quick snack can work wonders for a busy brain, especially when transitioning from working on one subject to working on another. We all need to take moments to reset our minds. Kids learn best work they’re running on all cylinders.


Author Bio: A.S. Braverman is an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group and a recent graduate of Columbia University. Thinking Caps has published many books, including SAT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2012) and ACT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2013). The company has been featured in The New York Times, Parenting, and The Huffington Post.

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Deciding When to Be a Parent or a Friend With My College-Age Daughters
August 11, 2017 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Deciding When to Be a Parent or a Friend With My College-Age Daughters

by Kim Flodin

Originally published in

We are in Ikea buying bookcases for our 24-year-old daughter who is going to graduate school. We are thrilled with her accomplishments and while she’s getting significant funding from her university, we have offered to help out with furnishing her apartment as she makes a move to another city.

And we are bickering. Daughter likes bookcase A. She thinks they are pretty and will work best for her many volumes. Husband likes bookcase B. He thinks they are sturdy and multi-functional. Both items are reasonably priced. When we finally agree it will be bookcase A, we pass bookcase B again in Ikea’s many make-believe rooms and Husband says, “What about bookcase B?”

Finally, Daughter answers in exasperation, “OK, sure, bookcase B!” Husband, sheepish, responds, “No, honey, you like bookcase A.”

All three of my 20-something daughters were home this summer and we stepped on each other’s toes from the moment they started to arrive in May. We had friction over dentist appointments not booked, antibiotics not taken, suitcases not emptied, dishes not cleared, and summer calendars not kept up-to-date.

When I was 24, I lived with a much younger version of Husband. I called him Boyfriend and I can assure you no parent on either side was concerned with our appointments, let alone our bookcases. No mom was figuring out the dimensions of our apartment, no dad was schlepping boxes and tearing his hair out over infuriating Ikea instructions. Instead, Boyfriend and I built a precarious tower of pilfered plastic milk crates to house our books because we had no parental financial support from the moment we graduated college. Were we better for it? In some ways, yes — we were resourceful, serious, and thrifty. We also stayed in dead-end jobs too long during those years because we couldn’t afford to take chances, and we sometimes made important decisions in a vacuum because we lacked the authentic connectedness with our elders this generation enjoys.

I don’t want to be overbearing because I give more than I received at this age. I also don’t want to clean late-night snack dishes in the morning to make room in the kitchen sink to fill up the breakfast kettle. I want to respect my grown children’s boundaries and have them respect mine because we have a great time together when we do. This summer we listened to the Hamilton cast album non-stop, binge-watched Orange is the New Black, and shared fascinating perspectives on art, politics, and movies. We danced at weddings, were introduced to Spanish wine by the daughter who spent a spring semester abroad, and figured out as a group what the hell was going on with Pokémon GO.

Read more: All the Grown-Ass Adult Places Pokémons Should Hide in Pokémon GO

I didn’t have much in common with my parents when I was 24. The gap between my generation and our young adult children is narrower, and sometimes, in that camaraderie, I lose my way when to parent, when to friend, and when to roommate. But it’s worth pausing to figure it out each time. When my girls make lunch to entice me to join them, or text me funny inside jokes, or ask for an old-fashioned cuddle, I feel lucky to witness their fascinating journeys in the intimate way they allow.

When Husband and I aren’t being stubborn about bookcases or nosy about doctors’ appointments, our daughters express their deep gratitude for the safety nets we provide. It’s not forever or even much longer — and I know we and they are lucky to afford them — but in these transitional years, I believe these nets, both financial and emotional, have given them courage to reach higher than I would have dared at 24.

So, here’s to giving only what I can give. Here’s to not being a secretary or a housekeeper, and to picking my battles. Here’s to respecting the young’s right to make mistakes and feel their way through things. Here’s to showing my daughters my trust in them is enormous.

Here’s to summer turning into fall.


Kim C. Flodin is a Brooklyn writer who specializes in parenting, health, and family issues. Her personal essays have been published in The New York Times, Newsweek Magazine, and The Christian Science Monitor among others. She also serves as Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at The Brooklyn Hospital Center. Last, but not least, she is the mother of three young adult daughters.

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Talking To Your Child About Smartphone Monitoring
July 27, 2017 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Talking To Your Child About Smartphone Monitoring

infographic by Scott Reddler



Scott Reddler is an active software developer, water sports fan, and a loving and enthusiastic father of three. He uses his knowledge of new technology to understand how social media and apps are changing the parenting landscape. @ScottReddler. Infographic source:

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Natural Healing: Why Kids Need Nature for Good Health
July 7, 2017 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Natural Healing: Why Kids Need Nature for Good Health

by Jackie Edwards

Today’s parents have been accused of raising an ‘indoor generation’, starved of the beauty of nature and the freedom of the great outdoors. Research shows that children are spending half as much time outside as they did 20 years ago. The effect is inevitably harmful. In fact, there’s a growing body of research that shows that when children spend less time outdoors it negatively affects their health. There’s no doubt about it…kids need nature!

How can kids engage with nature?

The greatest health benefits are seen when children are given the freedom and independence to play their own games with natural materials in outdoor settings, whether woodland, open countryside, parks or backyards. They become fitter, happier, smarter, more attentive, more sociable and less anxious. But if you struggle to find green space in your urban home, don’t despair as health benefits can still be gained by simply looking at pictures of nature scenes with your child. The essential thing is allowing your child to engage with nature, be it through play or through images.


Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits.

Improves physical health

If your child has the opportunity to play outside, it will help improve their physical fitness – an important consideration for the one in three American children who are obese. What’s more, being outdoors increases exposure to vitamin D which boosts immunity and helps protect your child from future bone problems, heart disease and diabetes. Research has also shown that children who regularly play outdoors are also more likely to have better distance vision.

Calms the mind

It’s not just parents who get stressed! A survey by the American Psychological Association found a third of children aged 8 to 17 experienced symptoms of stress. Furthermore, anti-depressant use is on the rise amongst school-age children, as are diagnosed cases of ADHD. Nature is a proven aid to relaxation and has been shown to reduce stress levels within minutes, whether through being outdoors or simply looking at a tranquil vista. And ‘nature therapy’ is now a recognized form of treatment for ADHD children.

Promotes happines

Playing in nature is strongly linked to a child’s wellbeing. When kids are given the opportunity to explore a large open space, they develop a sense of freedom, independence and inner strength. They can think freely, design their own games and approach play in a fun, inventive way.

Challenges the brain

We typically think of computer games as stimulating, but they only provide a narrow focus to your child’s attention. Being outdoors activates all the senses – hearing, seeing, smelling and touching; it enriches the mind through a thoroughly engaging experience. And even if you’re only looking at images of nature scenes, these visually-rich stimuli are enough to nourish the brain.

What should YOU do?

If you have an outdoor space, make it inviting for your child. You don’t have to install permanent play equipment, just provide a bucket and spade, a hose, or chalks. Let them explore their space using their own imagination. If you don’t have a backyard, ensure you have images of nature freely available in your home. And don’t forget to devote family time to the great outdoors: visit local parks, wildlife refuges, go hiking or biking. Ensure time for nature is top of your family’s list!

Now a freelance writer, Jackie formerly worked in HR but took a career break when she became a mother. Writing gives her the freedom to be at home with her children, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities

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Signs of a Good Child Care Center
June 29, 2017 · Posted in Education, Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Signs of a Good Child Care Center

by Jackie Edwards

In New York City, there are over 3,900 day care centers, but only a few of them may provide the kind of care, nurturing, and stimulating environment that you expect. For many parents, choosing a good child care center has become more important than ever, as this is where your child will spend most of his or her formative years. Finding the best child care center for your little one may be daunting, but with a bit of time spent visiting a few locations and observing what goes on inside them, you can recognize the signs of a good facility. From there, you’ll be able to determine whether it will be a place of learning and fun for your child.

Here are the signs of a good child care center.

The center has an ideal child care provider to child ratio

According to the New York state requirements for daycare centers, the ideal care provider to child ratio is 1:4, and this is applicable if the children are ages 6 weeks to 9 months. The number of children per care provider may increase depending on the kids’ age group. If your child is three years old and will be cared for alongside other children with the same age, then the ideal ratio is 1:7.

The workers are knowledgeable, competent, and have sufficient training

A child care center’s head of groups should have an AA in early education or early childhood development. Those who are caring for children under the age of three should have at least one year’s experience or training in infant and toddler care. You can ask the center’s director about the staff’s credentials, but you can also look around and see how the workers interact with the children.

The staff is warm and responsive to children

If the caregivers look competent and calm in dealing with different types of situations, then that’s one of the main signs of a good childcare facility. However, the staff should also have close interactions with the children, so they should be playing with the kids on the ground or holding very young babies. Workers should be warm and responsive to children of all ages, and they should provide consistent care.

The center has a good reputation

Ask the child care center to provide names and numbers of current clients and call them for references. If the facility refuses your request, you can always drop by in the afternoons when the kids get picked up by their parents. Strike up a conversation with the other parents and find out if they truly love the center and its program. If you happen to find a parent or two that shares your values with regards to child care and they happen to love the center, then you may find that it’s the right fit for you and your child.

It has a stimulating environment

It’s a good sign if the center has a lot of books, toys, and crafting materials for children. While some facilities let children watch videos, it shouldn’t take up most of their day. Ideally, a center should have structured schedules for meals, reading, and quiet time, but it should also allow children to have enough free time to play.

A good child care center may be a challenge to find, but by recognizing the signs of a good facility, you may find one that is just right for what you and your child need. Above all, you must also trust your instincts when you’re searching for a center. If you think that there is something that’s not quite right with a certain place, you can always move on and find another one that’s better suited to your requirements. Though searching for a good child care center may take some time, it’s worth it if you can find one that can provide the care, learning, and nurture that your little one needs.

Now a freelance writer, Jackie formerly worked in HR but took a career break when she became a mother. Writing gives her the freedom to be at home with her children, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities.


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Don’t Skimp On The Nap
May 18, 2017 · Posted in Infant Development, Parenting, Preschoolers, Sleep, Toddlerhood · Permalink · Comments Off on Don’t Skimp On The Nap

The data just keeps pouring in on the importance of children’s sleep. Perri Klass MD, highlights the impact of daytime sleep for young children in her NYT article, “A Child’s Nap Is More Complicated Than It Looks” 

“Dr. Monique LeBourgeois, a sleep scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her colleagues recently conducted the first study on how napping affects the cortisol awakening response, a burst of hormone secretion known to take place shortly after morning awakening. They showed that children produce this response after short naps in the morning and afternoon, though not in the evening, and it may be adaptive in helping children respond to the stresses of the day.

By experimentally restricting sleep in young children, and then analyzing their behavior in putting puzzles together, Dr. LeBourgeois’ group also is quantifying how napping — or the lack of it — affects the ways that children respond to situations. “Sleepy children are not able to cope with day-to-day challenges in their worlds,” she said. When children skip even a single nap, “We get less positivity, more negativity and decreased cognitive engagement.”

At least two naps a day for the first year, at least one nap a day until age three, and for some children, even up to age five is critical. Children experience a “pressure to sleep” and need to have the opportunity to release that pressure with regular naps. Remember this when choosing between a nap and baby class. The best thing for your baby’s brain development is sleep.


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Skip the Nightcap
April 26, 2017 · Posted in Alcohol and Drugs, Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Skip the Nightcap

by Agnes Green

At the end of a day, worn out by the challenges of parenthood and the looming prospect of difficulty falling asleep, many of us reach for a nightcap. Alcohol indeed helps us fall asleep faster. What’s the harm?

Well, it’s complicated. Alcohol poses as a promoter of sleep—and it does deliver on some promises—but it is a sneaky, undermining, dream-stealing sort of ally of sleep: more like a frenemy. Not something on which you should rely on a regular basis.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine or two with dinner at the end of the day. But we’re talking about a nightcap: by definition, an alcoholic beverage or more that people reach for right before bedtime with the explicit or implicit goal of falling asleep. In fact, some go so far as to insist that a proper, “honorable” nightcap must be brown, meaning whiskey or bourbon or cognac. What else do these drinks have in common in addition to color? Oh, that’s right: They’re high in alcohol.

There’s good reason why we are tempted to self-medicate with alcohol in order to fall asleep. A glass of whiskey or two right before before bed can indeed have a relaxing effect and help with falling asleep. Here, in fact, lies alcohol’s insidious power: At the outset of the night, things go as hoped-for. “The sleep alcohol induces is associated with intense slow-wave brain activity, which is considered to be the deepest, most restorative kind of sleep,” says Timothy Roehrs, director of sleep disorders research at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

And, indeed, studies show that alcohol does help us fall asleep faster. “Three or more drinks will cause the average person to fall asleep sooner than usual,” said Shawn R. Currie, a professor at the University of Calgary who coauthored a study of alcoholics and sleep.

So far so good.

However, about halfway though slumber alcohol as the sleep aid undermines the very thing it induced. “Falling asleep faster is the only real benefit of alcohol for sleep,” Currie says. “The more prevalent, disruptive effects include more frequent awakenings, worse sleep quality; reduction of deep sleep, and earlier-than-usual waking times, leading people to feel they did not get enough sleep.”

In his recent book, The Mystery of Sleep: Why a Good Night’s Rest is Vital to a Better, Healthier Life (Yale, 2017), Yale professor and world authority on sleep medicine Meir Kryger, M.D., explains how it is that alcohol, having put us to bed, can ends up disrupting sleep: “[W]hen the blood alcohol level drops, it activates the sympathetic nervous system, which wakes the person up, speeds up the heart, and might cause sweating and headaches.” Kryger goes so far as to recommend not going to sleep until the alcohol has disappeared from the body. It takes the body an hour to clear an ounce of alcohol, which is the equivalent of two 12-ounce servings of beer, two 5-ounce glasses of wine, or two 1.5-ounce servings of distilled spirits.

Indeed, the most dispiriting finding of the study of alcoholics and sleep coauthored is two-fold: 1. Alcoholics have sleep troubles, even many months into recovery. 2. Ironically, many of them became alcoholics in the first place partly because they had been turning to drinking in order to fight their preexisting insomnia.

Even if we were to set the threat of alcoholism aside, alcohol ultimately fails as a sleep aid. After a few drinks you open up your bed to the prospect of nighttime awakenings (fragmented sleep), decreased time spent in the beneficial REM sleep, sweating, vivid dreams (typical of abrupt transitions between sleep stages). Don’t confuse vivid dreams for the restful dreaming phase that we all need: The London Sleep Centre and University of Toronto researchers found that by undermining REM sleep early in the night, alcohol deprives us of dreams. This means shallow, dreamless sleep and, often, daytime tiredness.

There’s also a connection between obstructive sleep apnea and alcohol consumption. Imbibing can lead to it, even if only for a night. Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles to the point where both apnea and snoring occur: Even people who usually don’t snore do so if they have been drinking the night before.

Sleep is paramount to health, sanity, emotional balance, the maintenance of youthfulness, healthy parenting, and longevity, and we need to do all we can to get rest at night. But reaching for alcohol is fraught with troubles.

What to do instead of whiskey? Try these tips:

  1. Avoid alcohol two hours before bed.

  2. If your children keep you up, strategize with your partner (if you have one), family members and friends, and babysitter (if you can afford one) to figure out ways to take care of your children when you need sleep.

  3. Engage in physical activity during the day. Exercise promotes sleep by decreasing arousal, anxiety, and depression. Strength training in the evening is fine; keep aerobic activity farther away from bedtime.

  4. Avoid caffeine in the afternoons and evenings.

  5. Consider developing a mindfulness meditation practice.

  6. Do not watch TV or use the computer an hour or two before bedtime. At the very least, eliminate the rousing blue light by using nighttime settings or apps.

  7. Sleep on a comfortable, aptly-sized mattress. The medical journal The Lancet recommends medium-firm mattresses for most people.

  8. Fall asleep in a dark, quiet, and cool room. Cooler temperatures promote falling asleep.

  9. Sometimes, the insomnia you are suffering is secondary—meaning, it is caused by illnesses and ailments or medications you are taking. Ask your doctor whether those things might be keeping you awake and develop a plan to address any root causes of secondary insomnia.

  10. Develop a sleep-promoting routine, relying on things that make you feel ready for bed—a relaxing bath, a lavender candle, reading, refraining from checking the news or social media after a certain hour, listening to a sleep meditation hypnosis app, etc.

Agnes Green is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck Sleep. She holds two masters degrees in the social sciences, from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. She sleeps most soundly after a kettlebell workout, on a medium-firm mattress, in Portland, Oregon.

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