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The Importance of Sleep for Young People with Dr. Valerie Crabtree

 

Episode 68 Dr. Valerie Crabtree

Dr. Dan welcomes Dr. Valerie Crabtree of the acclaimed St. Jude’s Research Hospital to discuss the importance of sleep for young people.

Dr. Valerie Crabtree has a bold statement for Dr. Dan and all parents: “Sleep is the third pillar of health, along with nutrition and movement, that keeps us healthy and balanced.”  Dr. Crabtree is the Chief of Psychosocial Services at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and her critical advice for young people on the importance of getting enough sleep is eye-opening: 

“Insufficient sleep contributes to making us overweight, sick and sluggish. We literally clean our brains while we sleep, washing away harmful toxins and making room for memories to be stored. In children and teenagers, poor or insufficient sleep is related to poorer organization, poorer memory, and academic difficulties,” Dr. Crabtree writes in a recent and widely shared article for Your Teen Magazine.

As the lead researcher on sleep and fatigue in children undergoing cancer treatment and brain tumor survivors, sleep is a major focus for Dr. Crabtree, which she highlights in her recent TedX Talk (Memphis) on how very early school start times are detrimental to the health of teenagers as well as those around them.  She suggests teens aren’t lazy, rather they are just sleepy – and explores the questions: why do we follow CDC guidelines and AAP recommendations when it comes to vaccinations and washing our hands, but not their guidance when it comes to school start times?

Dr. Crabtree, who is also a parent of two teens, indicates that sleepy, grumpy, overtired teenagers are a hallmark of American schools – but we must ensure our children get adequate sleep.

In this episode of the Parent Footprint podcast and in Dr. Crabtree’s work (and her recent Your Teen article) she addresses and answers many questions including:

  • How she got interested in sleep and studying sleep.
  • How does sleep relate to childhood cancer research?
  • Why is sleep called on of the pillars of health?
  • Does she think we take sleep for granted in our culture? Why?
  • What the APA recommends regarding sleep in adolescents and teens and school start times.
  • Her own experience raising teenage boys and trying to get them to learn the importance of health sleep?
  • Does she think there are many school systems not following these guidelines of the APA?

And is it starting to change? What are some examples of successful school districts that have enacted later school start times?  What positive benefits are they seeing? Her experience trying to make this change in her own district and how can parents advocate for later school start times?

Dr. Dan and Dr. Crabtree’s interview will wake up all listeners when it comes to sleep!

For more information on Dr. Crabtree and her work visit:  https://www.stjude.org/directory/c/valerie-crabtree.html

 St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. St. Jude is ranked the No. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by U.S. News & World Report. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.

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