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If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, you may see it in your face the next morning. But chances are the rest of your body—including your brain—is paying for it too. No matter who you are, sleep is essential for good health. It can help you make memories and good decisions, and it can help prevent illness. If you’re not sure you believe in the benefits of a good night’s sleep, these facts just might change your mind.
MYTH: I do fine on just a few hours of sleep.
FACT: Adults typically need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Sleeping less can affect your mood, memory, energy level and productivity.
A chronic lack of sleep is also linked to serious health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, depression and heart disease. And once you have these problems, getting too little sleep can make it harder to manage them.
MYTH: If I’m not sleeping enough during the week, it’s OK to catch up on the weekend.
FACT: While sleeping in on a weekend may seem like a sound strategy, keeping a regular bedtime and waking schedule—and sticking with it as much as possible—is a better plan.
Changes in your sleep schedule, even if you’re supposedly catching up, can interfere with your sleep cycle, which may mean more lost sleep and fatigue in the long run.
MYTH: Exercising before bed will help me sleep.
FACT: Physical activity can be a sleep aid—but only if you time it right.
Exercising close to bedtime can invigorate you and make getting to sleep more difficult. If you normally work out at night, try switching to a morning routine. If you have to wait until later in the day, try not to exercise for at least three hours before you hit the sheets.
Get more shut-eye If you’re having trouble drifting off, simple changes may help. Try these:
Relax before bed with a good book or a warm bath.
Avoid naps, particularly after 3 p.m. If you do nap, keep it short—limit it to no more than 20 minutes.
Don’t eat a large meal or drink too many fluids close to bedtime.
Source: National Institutes of Health
Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital Community Education is gearing up to begin their summer Safe Sitter program. The comprehensive two-day class is open to children between the ages of 11 and 13 who are planning to care for younger children either at home or as babysitters. The class teaches safety basics like CPR, choking hazards, and how to prevent injuries, as well as what to expect developmentally from children at different ages. In addition, the class teaches another important skill—how to approach babysitting as a business.
The class teaches topics such as how to dress appropriately, questions to ask when screening a potential job, how to turn down a job and how and when it is appropriate to cancel a job. Baron says teaching business basics are important to helping children begin building skills for future employment opportunities as well as for helping them approach the job with more responsibility.
Part of that responsibility is helping children maintain appropriate authority over the children they are tending. For the safety of the babysitter as well as the children being cared for, it is important that sitters are taught how to handle situations when children have behavioral problems.
The Safe Sitter classes are held throughout the summer. Register Now >>