Student-Athletes Not Sleeping Enough, Intervention Could Help

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This article was submitted by University of Arizona News courtesy of Michael Grandner, UA College of Medicine….feel free to comment on this article below…..

stresssleepingCollege athletes are not getting enough sleep, but a simple intervention built around education and support could go a long way in improving sleep quality and, in turn, athletic performance, University of Arizona researchers said during the NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Michael Grandner, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Sleep Health Research Center at the UA College of Medicine, and Amy Athey, director of clinical and sport psychology services for Arizona Athletics, were awarded an NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant last year to study sleep habits in college athletes. They were one of four teams awarded the NCAA grant, which supports studies designed to enhance student-athletes’ psychosocial well-being and mental health.

Together, Grandner and Athey developed Project REST – which stands for Recovery Enhancement and Sleep Training – to encourage student-athletes to develop healthier sleeping habits. They presented their findings at the NCAA’s annual convention on Thursday.

In a survey of 189 UA student-athletes, Grandner and Athey found that 68 percent reported poor sleep quality, with 87 percent getting less than or equal to eight hours of sleep a night and 43 percent getting less than seven hours. About 23 percent of the athletes surveyed reported experiencing excessive levels of fatigue.

While seven hours is considered the minimum amount of sleep a typical adult should get, college students – especially highly active ones, like athletes – need at least eight to nine hours for optimal functioning, Grandner said in an interview.

“Student-athletes have a lot of reasons why their sleep would be disturbed,” Grandner said. “They have a lot of time demands, they have a lot of physical demands, they have a lot of mental demands, and they’re trying to balance athletics, academics and sometimes employment, and this can set up the perfect storm for bad sleep.”

Poor sleep can have far-reaching effects, no matter who you are. For athletes, it can impact not only the way they feel physically and mentally but how they perform in their sport, Grandner said.

“Some of the most prominent effects of disturbed sleep can be reduced physical performance, reduced mental and cognitive performance, reduced recovery time from injury and worse mental health,” Grandner said. Slower reaction times, impaired decision-making abilities and even depression can result from poor sleep, he added.

While many programs exist to address student-athletes’ nutrition and fitness, Grandner and Athey didn’t know of any that specifically target student-athletes’ sleep, so they developed Project REST – a model they hope may be adopted by college athletics programs nationwide.

The researchers enrolled 40 student-athletes in the intervention program, which started with a two-hour education and Q&A session that covered what good sleep is and why it is important and tips for improving sleep. Study participants then wore Fitbits to track their sleep habits over a 10-week period, and recorded information about the duration and quality of their sleep in online sleep diaries.

Throughout the study, students had 24/7 access to peers trained to support them and answer their questions. Participants also received daily text messages from study coordinators, including reminders about the study, tips for healthy sleep and random sleep facts. About half of the participants also received sunglasses designed to block UV and blue light, and a programmable light bulb.

At the end of the study period, participants reported a number of positive effects, including better sleep quality, less insomnia, more energy and less time spent lying awake in bed. Nearly 83 percent of the student-athletes said their sleep was better, and nearly 89 percent felt their athletic performance was positively affected. They also reported less stress and greater ability to focus.

The most useful part of the intervention, according to participants, was the initial information session. They also liked being able to monitor sleep habits with the Fitbit.

Athey, who works directly with the student-athlete population as a psychologist for Arizona Athletics, often encounters students with sleep issues, and says the data from the study backs up what she already suspected anecdotally.

When students come to Athey with sleep issues, she encourages them to make minor lifestyle adjustments to improve sleep – like maintaining a consistent sleep schedule or reducing exposure to mobile-device screens close to bedtime, for example – while more severe problems are referred to a sleep specialist.

Athey is optimistic that her partnership with Grandner, a sleep expert, can help introduce useful tools to the larger student-athlete population.

“With a really simple educational intervention and opportunities for learning over a number of weeks, student-athletes were able to make changes that had a real impact,” she said of Project REST.

While Grandner and Athey targeted the student-athlete population specifically, Project REST could be modified and adopted by different campus groups nationwide, since college students across-the-board often struggle with sleep, Grandner said.

“It’s just education and support,” he said. “There’s no reason this should be limited to student-athletes.”

Concussion Tests Are Essential For Student Athletes

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below…..

didyouknow?Concussions are one of the most common and most difficult sports injuries to manage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1.6 million and 3.8 million brain injuries occur in sports each year, with around 63,000 affecting high school athletes. With recent advances in neuroscience, sports medicine clinicians are discovering new and better methods to protect brain health.

Sports concussion experts agree that the diagnosis of acute concussion usually involves the assessment of a range of domains, including clinical symptoms, physical signs, behavior, balance, sleep and cognition. The Medicine in Motion team uses special computerized testing to evaluate whether an athlete is suffering from a concussion. This tool, in combination with a physician evaluation, is the best way to determine the presence of a concussion and when it is resolved, thereby allowing an athlete to return to play.

“The absolute best way to manage concussions is to have baseline testing prior to the start of a sports season,” said Dr. Martha Pyron, Austin sports medicine doctor and owner of Medicine in Motion. “If a head injury does occur, we then repeat the test for comparison. By doing this, there is a unique and direct comparison from healthy brain to concussion for the clinician to evaluate.”

When to use concussion testing?

1. Athletes involved in contact sports (such as football) should have a baseline test before the season begins.

2. Athletes incurring an injury should be evaluated, regardless of whether or not they received a baseline test.

3. Anyone who has had repeated concussions in the past should be tested to determine the possibility of any long term complications.

4. Non-sports participants that receive head injuries should also be tested to evaluate cognitive abilities.

5. Parents of athletes should have their children baseline tested every other year until they reach adulthood to ensure their brains are protected.

Medicine in Motion (MIM) specializes in providing top quality sports medicine in Austin, Texas, for athletic individuals of all ages and levels. The staff at MIM believes active bodies are healthy bodies, therefore it is the office’s goal to keep patients energetic and fit. To that end, MIM provides treatment of injuries and illnesses, including the use of physical rehabilitation; promotes healthy living with personal training and nutrition coaching; and offers comprehensive sports medicine evaluations to optimize health, activity level and sports performance. For more information or for questions regarding sports medicine in Austin, contact Medicine in Motion at 512-257-2500 or visit the website at

The Role Model In You – Terry Walters, Best Selling Author

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Role Model

The Role Model In You
Today’s Guest – Terry Walters

1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?

Terry Walters, best selling cookbook author. Age 46. My work is made up of many facets, all of which are geared to inspire and empower people to eat clean and live well. I am a clean food advocate, educator, health coach, public speaker and writer.

2. Who was the person that inspired you as a child to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?

My mom was and continues to be my greatest inspiration. She has always made her health and fitness a priority. She exercises regularly, eats clean, makes conscious healthy choices and never takes her good health for granted.

3. What did they do to inspire you?

My mom was a health food nut from the 60’s. She made every meal from scratch and the only processed food she kept in the house was the ginger ale that was reserved for company. We sat down to dinner as a family every night and our mealtime was as much about being together as it was about sharing a healthy, balanced meal. And as the dietary needs and preferences of our family changed, mom continued to educate herself so as to be able to provide the most nourishing and healing foods possible. Our food was always delicious, but I think it was more likely all the love that she cooked into it that made us thrive.

4. How did their lesson change your life?

From an early age I understood that the foods I ate influenced the way I felt, looked, thought, and even connected with myself and others. This has inspired me not only to maintain my own health and the health of my family, but to empower others with the knowledge and tools to do the same. To be able to have a career based around delicious and healthy food is an incredible blessing, but often I think it is the connection with so many incredible people afforded me by this work that is more nourishing than the food itself.

5. Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?

Every day I cook a healthy dose of love into the food I serve my children. And while we don’t sit down to share dinner every night like we did when I was a child, we do share trips to the farm and grocery store, cooking and maintaining a garden of our own produce. They understand and embrace the ideals of eating clean – all 5 tastes and a rainbow of color. Sometimes they make choices that aren’t in their nutrition’s best interest (like all of us), but they understand the power of good food and nutrition, where clean food comes from, and they appreciate their good food and good health.

6. What would be your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyles?

All clean food comes from the green kind of plant, not a processing plant. If you can’t imagine how it grows, don’t eat it. Eat a rainbow of color and all five tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent – and if you don’t know where to begin, start with something green! Eat clean and live well.

7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?

The Role Model In You – Ashley Crossman, Entrepreneur, Stylist, Writer, Trainer, Designer, Producer, Model

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Role Model

The Role Model In You
Today’s Guest – Ashley Crossman

1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?

Ashley Crossman a multi talented artistic Entrepreneur, Stylist, Writer, Trainer, Designer, Producer, Experienced Model, National title holder, Event and Marketing guru. Lost over 100lbs and beat stage 3b cancer.

2. Who was the person that inspired you as a child to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?

It wasn’t any one person, I didn’t know much about healthy eating or that being heavy was bad. I grew up in a southern home with all the traditional cooking included. My mother loved me as I was and would never have said anything about my weight or anything I ate. It wasn’t until I was in the 9th grade and going to a New school Walker Memorial Academy. They where vegetarian and had a philosophy behind it. You need to tread you body well because it’s a gift and what you put in it madders.

3. What did they do to inspire you?

They Inspired me mostly by example. No one ever said a unkind word or lead me to feel out of place, but I was. I felt it myself. They where all in shape healthy active and FAST! I realized how slow I was and it was because of the extra weight I was carrying around. I was more like one of the old teachers then one of the young students and I didn’t like that. So, I started looking to see what are where doing right, I was doing wrong?

4. How did their lesson change your life?

Watching how Walker Memorial Academy treated the students with a all vegetarian diet and had all ages have outdoor activities. Even though the amount needed to graduate is only 2 years they encouraged everyone to always get out and be active. They even had a special period in the afternoon just for working outside in the court yard. I loved this it was a optional class; I could work outside or if I had a lot of school work I would go to free period and work on it. It helpped me make good decisions for myself and now I fell I am more well equipped as an adult because of it.

5. Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?

I try to convey their message by example and with my personal cause G.A.R.D.E.N.S. ; Growing Awareness Regarding Diet& Exercise by Nurturing Seeds. I have developed this cause to help spread the message that it is important, easy and fun to get out, grow plants, and be active. I speak publicly in schools and at community events such as the annual Earth Day festival at the Jacksonville Landing. It was during my rain as Miss Earth Atlantic Beach I started Gardens with the goal to bring garden boxes to schools and in class rooms. I believe that teaching children at a young age the importance of nutrition and imprinting a love for nature is the key to beating childhood obesity along with a lot of the medical problems associated with it. In addition to public speaking I have hosted a Earth Hour walk, beach cleanups, and I have begun a Recycle/ Green effort award. The award is to recognize people and businesses that are doing positive things for the environment.

6. What would be your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyles?

Get Out There! Get outside see what is in your neighborhood and community. Ask your parents to take you to the state park not concrete theme park. Wonder about things like, how did that grow, or where does that come from? Then go out there and find out. It’s a lot of fun you can visit farms to see how ice-cream is made and drink fresh milk. That is my message to youth just feel the drive to explore the outdoors. In my opinion the only thing that is keeping the majority of children from this type of experience is from a lack of wonderment. The generations before are the ones that hold the responsibility to set the spark in the next generation. Let’s all do our part.

7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?

Loyola Nursing Student Fights Childhood Obesity

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From Your Health Journal…..”Found a great article today on about some local nursing students fighting childhood obesity in Louisiana. Through the years, I have heard so much about childhood obesity (and obesity in general) being a large issue in this state, as so many children have been suffering not only from obesity, but from heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Nursing students from Loyola University received a $4,000 grant, which will be used to educate some local high school students on healthy lifestyle. Please visit the Tangilena web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It is a great story of children (or young adults) helping other children.”

From the article…..

One nurse is setting out to change the way health care providers in New Orleans talk to patients—inspiring instead of mandating healthier lifestyles to curb childhood obesity. Loyola University New Orleans Doctor of Nursing Practice student Monica Alleman won a $4,000 grant Jan. 1 from the American Nurse Practitioner Foundation to teach health care providers at John Ehret High School health center in Marrero, La., counseling skills to help reduce the causes and effects of childhood obesity at a local level. The idea was born from Alleman’s capstone project as a part of the Loyola DNP program.

Louisiana is the ideal testing ground for solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic, according to Alleman. Louisiana has the fourth-highest statistics for childhood obesity rates in the nation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports.

“Monica’s passion for children and fighting obesity is contagious,” said Gwen George, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, assistant professor and DNP program coordinator.

The project focuses on the idea that when health care providers speak to patients in ways that illicit the patients’ own solutions versus commanding solutions, it results in healthier patients. The technique is called motivational interviewing skills—borrowed from counseling practices—and Alleman is teaching health care professionals at John Ehret High School how to use it.

“We can more effectively engage patients in healthy living and I believe it’s by us the providers changing how we communicate with our patients,” Alleman said. “Research shows the more patients talk about their own change, the more likely they are going to start to try to change.”

Using motivational interviewing techniques, a conversation with the nurse may include phrases like, “What kinds of things worked for you in the past?” and “How can you make that change in your life?” That kind of conversation in the clinic avoids guilt, shame and judgment surrounding what is childhood obesity, according to Alleman.

“Loyola University New Orleans DNP students are educated to embrace such research-supported interventions in behavioral health to improve the outcomes in health care delivery systems, thereby accelerating quality, reducing costs and increasing appropriate access,” said Ann H. Cary, Ph.D., MPH, RN, professor and director of the School of Nursing.

To read the full article…..Click here

PE Class Changes In Alabama Stress Student Health

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From Your Health Journal…..”I can always count on the publication SF Gate to have some quality articles on health or wellness. I encourage all of you to visit their page (link below) to read some quality article. Today’s article review discusses Alabama, and it change to a new fitness assessment test. The prevalence rate of obesity in Alabama is higher than the rest of the nation, for both adults and children, so the state decided to move to a newer test, replacing the President’s Challenges test. Though the individual students’ results will be treated as confidential information, both parents and students will receive the assessment results. The PE teachers will report the results annually, which should eventually allow for comparisons to see whether the fitter children perhaps have higher test scores. PE teachers received training in how to test the kids, but videos that demonstrate the exercises used in the assessment are on the state Department of Education’s website. Articles like this stress the importance PE plays in the schools not only for health or fitness, but for improving cognitive skills and self esteem of children. With the obesity rates so high in the United States, it is important to support your local PE department, as well as trying to get the children daily, quality PE each day. Please visit the SF Gate page to read more.”

From the article…..

Alabama’s public school students are taking part in a new physical fitness assessment this year, replacing a series of tests that had not been updated since their parents were in school.

Citing a need to refocus on the fitness of the state’s children, the new Alabama Physical Fitness Assessment rolled out this fall in public schools. The tests are required for all students in grades 2 through 12 and replace the old President’s Challenge Fitness Test, which was adopted in 1984.

The new assessment has been in the works since 2010, when federal stimulus money started flowing to the states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded grant money to the Alabama Department of Public Health, which used the money to partner with the Alabama State Department of Education to try to improve the quality of physical education in the state, said Laurie Eldridge-Auffant, public health education manager for the ADPH.

“Our prevalence rate of obesity is higher than the rest of the nation, for both adults and children,” Eldridge-Auffant said. “We have some other indicators that let us know we have many chronic diseases that are above the national average.”

Though the individual students’ results will be treated as confidential information, both parents and students will receive the assessment results. The PE teachers will report the results annually, which should eventually allow for comparisons to see whether the fitter children perhaps have higher test scores.

“We’re excited about the potential data down the road,” Eldridge-Auffant said. “We know from the research that the kids who are more physically fit and more physically active have better academic scores.”

But those comparisons will be some time away. For now, the teachers are finishing up the pre-testing on the kids. Post-testing will begin in March.

The new assessment measures four areas: Aerobic cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, abdominal strength and endurance and flexibility.

PE teachers received training in how to test the kids, but videos that demonstrate the exercises used in the assessment are on the state Department of Education’s website. The exercises include a partial curl-up (like an abdominal crunch); a timed one-mile run/walk test (the child can walk the whole way if necessary); and a 90-degree push-up (as many as the child can do in two minutes.)

To read the full article…..Click here