The Importance of Quality Sleep for Your Family’s Health

It is still largely a mystery why we humans need to engage in something as inactive as sleep. Among other things, sleep is believed to be necessary for the brain to be able to store memories and new information. But it is also during sleep that the body produces hormones and repairs damage that has occurred during the day. The problem is that it makes it late into the sleep cycle.

Our sleep consists of five different phases: from phase 1 when we sleep very lightly to phase 4 when we sleep very deeply and finally phase 5 when we sleep so-called REM sleep when we dream. This is why everyone in the family should keep to their sleeping routines, and tend to the quality of sleep. Make sure everyone’s bedroom is well darkened during the night hours, aired and cool, the bedding is comfortable and medically proven like an orthopedic pillow and mattress, and the screen time ends well before bedtime.

Different family members need different amount of sleep based on age

We need all the sleep cycles to feel rested during the day. But it is only from phase 3 that the actual repair process of the body begins and it then continues during phase 4. During these phases, hormones alongside with other essential substances are released, and their “mission” is too occurred to our cells during the day. You therefore need to spend a certain number of hours sleeping to reach this sleep stage that promotes repair. If you do not do this, sleep deprivation can in the long run play its role in developing, among other things, obesity, cardiovascular disease and mental problems.

How long do we have to sleep to get through all five sleep cycles? This has been looked at by a group of independent researchers on behalf of NSF, the National Sleep Foundation. And the answer is: it varies with age. But for the body to have time to recover and for us to function optimally the next day, the perfect sleep span should look like this, according to the new guidelines from NSF:

  • Newborns (0 to 3 months) 14-17 hours per day, including naps
  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12-15 hours per day, including naps
  • Toddlers (1 to 3 years): 11-14 hours per day, including naps
  • Preschool children (3 to 5 years): 10-13 hours per day, including naps
  • Gradeschoolers (6 to 13 years): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14 to 18 years): 8-10 hours
  • Young adults (18 to 25 years): 7-9 hours
  • Adults (26 to 64 years): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): 7 to 8 hours

Children’s sleep at different ages

Children need different amounts of sleep at different ages. How well children and teenagers sleep can be affected by age, developmental stages, anxiety and relationships. For children and adolescents who grow up, sleep is of great importance because growth hormone is largely secreted during sleep.

This is how much sleep children of different ages need:

  • 0-12 months: 15-18 hours per day, but at this age there is a very big difference between different children.
  • 1-3 years: 12-14 hours per day.
  • 3–6 years: 11–12 hours per day.
  • 6–12 years: 10–11 hours per day.
  • 12 years and older: 8-9 hours per day, but some children need more sleep during puberty.

Children under three months sleep most safely in their own bed, in supine position. This dramatically reduces SIDS (sudden infant death).  Many parents find it practical and convenient to sleep with their newborn baby, especially if it helps the baby fall asleep. Many children also sleep best when they feel the presence of a parent or both close to them. Feel free to place your baby’s bed in your room and next to yours if possible. Then you can easily lift the baby over to you when it is feeding time at night. Lay the baby back to their bed when he or she goes to sleep again.

Many newborns sleep together with their parents in so-called baby nests, a mattress with soft edges. There is as yet no research on whether baby nests are safe enough for the baby. There is a certain risk that an adult may roll over the soft edges. A better alternative may be the reclining insert from the pram, which has higher and harder edges. The child should not be too hot. A pair of pajamas and a thin blanket are usually appropriate.

As we have established earlier, the exact need for sleep varies from person to person in your family, but there are few who manage with fewer hours, or who need more hours of sleep. We already know that health is threatened if you consistently sleep less than 7-8 hours. However, the need for sleep can change briefly when the body has an increased need to recover – e.g. when you are sick, stressed or exercising hard. The need for sleep is also affected by age.

If you have the opportunity to sleep undisturbed 5 days in a row, you can test your individual need for the shuteye yourself. This is how you calculate it:

  1. Be careful not to do anything that has a potential of disturbing your sleep (such as evening coffee, alcohol, or outside noise).
  2. Go to bed at your usual time.
  3. Sleep until you wake up by yourself – that is, without ringing the bell!
  4. Note how long you have slept.
  5. Repeat for about 5 days – or until you start waking up at the same time.

Result: For the first 2-3 days – if you suffer from sleep deprivation – you will probably sleep longer than you need to. But then your body will wake up when it has finished sleeping. Your need for sleep is therefore the number of hours you sleep during the last days of the test.

Be aware that the test requires that you are not in a period of stress, anxiety or anything else that makes it difficult for you to fall asleep or wake up several times during the night.

The bottom line is, a disorder in sleep is as a legitimate condition as a physical ailment, and you need to troubleshoot if you or everyone else from your near and dear is experiencing it. The first step in this direction is to make some minor lifestyle changes that will go a long way!

The Major Role of Sports In Improving Physical and Mental Health

More physical activity spells less stress

Everyone in your family has the same number of hours a day. But not everyone is equally stressed. Why is that so? You might argue that your kids do not have two mortgages to pay off, three mouths to feed, a job to keep and a dog to walk, but the fact is, they also have their fair share of stress cut to their own measure, with the school, growing and learning to be human. One thing that makes them more adapted to cope with the daily stress is the amount of time they spend doing physical activity. Even if they clock in a decent amount of time at their computers and on their phones, they still get some motion biking to and from school, attending sports clubs or physical education lessons. 

There are many scientific studies that show that physical activity has a very effective antidepressant effect, to the point that it can be considered a real antidepressant drug. This action is most evident in “neurotic” depressions from which none of us are completely free. For psychotic depressions, things change, as they are very serious diseases for which the work of the specialist is required, according to the research called “The Effects of Stress on Physical Activity and Exercise” carried out by the scientists of Department of Psychiatry at Yale Stress Center, Yale University School of Medicine. 

Physical activity strengthens self-esteem, relaxes and cancels the effects of stress: it is the best antidote for psychosomatic diseases. All this is true, however, when training is not directed towards the opponent or victory, but towards oneself, towards one’s body, therefore practiced for one’s own well-being. In this way, possible psychopathological effects are avoided, such as the pre-agonistic syndrome and the post-agonistic syndrome, in addition to the various forms of stardom. So, psychologists say, mass sports yes, as long as the goal of this sport is fitness, not overcoming the opponent, since competitive spirit pushed to the extreme can do a lot of harm to the psyche. Nonetheless the competitive spirit, when the athlete aims to overcome himself, is also good for the mind, because it becomes an extra motivation to live at the fullest, setting competitive limits means getting out of this existential laziness and living life intensely and in good health.

Postpartum depression alleviated at the gym

Physical activity helps mothers produce endorphins, which are also good for the baby. There is no contraindication in practicing your favorite sport, but it is still necessary to have the following precautions:

  • drink at least two liters of water a day;
  • always breastfeed the baby before training;
  • wear a suitable sports bra.

Therefore, playing sports produces endorphins, which have beneficial effects for the mother and the baby. It is also important to maintain a correct diet and optimal lifestyles. The expert has formulated other indications necessary to obtain benefits from the sport that is practiced after childbirth.

Sportive new mothers can therefore continue their activities, but they must listen to their body: therefore, swimming lovers accustomed to doing 100 laps will be able, for example, to reduce the number, but they will not have to give up their sport. If the mother plays sport at a competitive level, she will certainly have to undergo an accurate clinical evaluation.

Health effects of sports for the youngest family members

Children and teenagers benefit from exercise or sports in a major way, the list of benefits is very long indeed. To name a few, increased well-being, strengthened self-confidence, better concentration, increased learning ability, muscle mass increase, better condition and less exposure to stress and traumas. All in all, sports and working out is good for the brain and heart as well as for fun and entertaining.

Today, more and more children are starting to play sports, even though less time is spent outdoors with the advance of the digital era. It gives increased involvement in sports clubs and perhaps, new followers. But we see at the same time the issue in a larger perspective. It’s about what habits we create for today’s children – that is, tomorrow’s adults. Early positive experiences of exercise and sports are of great importance for the individual’s tendency to be physically active later in life. Therefore, children’s and adolescents’ exercise habits affect not only their current state of health but also their future health.

Aging healthily with sports

The speed of aging progress essentially depends on three factors: the genetic component, lifestyle and psychological factors. As we age, we see a reduction in the functionality of many systems, including the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. A decline in physical capacity and, in particular, in bone density and muscle tissue, is therefore inevitable.

Regular physical activity with light strength training can partially resolve or significantly delay the loss of muscle mass and strength, even if it began in old age. On the contrary, a sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity can contribute, together with other risk factors, to the development of various degenerative diseases such as, for example, osteoporosis.

The complete mobilization of all the joints and the strengthening of the muscles through regular physical activity activates numerous biological mechanisms that interact with organs and systems. Specifically, the benefits of constant physical exercise on the health of the elderly incorporate psychological well-being (lower risk of depression and anxiety) and higher cognitive performance (more memory and attention span).

No matter the age of your family members, everyone will benefit from a little bit of exercise. Even as little as 30 minutes every day of functional or dedicated movement will set you in a better mood and make you face the day with way more energy. A sound mind in a sound body!


The Benefits of Education and Personal Development for Family Life

The link between marital statistics and education

The researchers from Pew Research Center established the tendency of people with college education to have a more successful family life: the number of married post-graduates was by 12% higher than their less educated peers. So what is the correlation between a college degree and a personal fulfillment in a family life? 

Let’s brush aside the lifestyle factors that increase the chances of meeting that someone special on a campus, and focus on the type of personality it takes to go for college education. Motivated individuals with critical thinking and a strong desire to improve the quality of life for themselves and their future children usually start in life by majoring in the field of science. All those qualities are equally required to be successful in personal life, especially analytical thinking that enables one to work on problems and solve them, rather than give up and quit early on in a relationship. Besides, those who take a long way to professional success do not expect things to fall from the sky, and the absence of need for instance gratification hardwires them to become marathoners in personal life. 

It also works the other way around, with years of college studies training one to find solutions, look at things from different perspectives, acquire empathy and patience needed to succeed in family life. 

The next thing to point out is the age when one decides to build a family. If one is busy attending lectures and then building a professional career, the energy is put on succeeding in life and building the economical security. The age of starting a family is then naturally increased, and by then, a person is more experienced, mature, financially independent and ready to start a family for practical as well as for emotional reasons. Needless to say that couples that get together at this stage stay together longer and are better fit to face the hiccups in their future life. 

The same is true for becoming a parent. Preparing mentally for sleepless nights, less free time and a new phase in life is something that all parents-to-be probably try to do throughout pregnancy, but this is quite difficult to grasp. You can visualize it but not know the actual feeling of just sleeping a few hours a night and then playing with children, feeding and giving tenderness and love while having a social life. You will soon discover that you, too, grow and learn from your baby while parenting, and your odds at being a successful learner are much better if you are an experienced student. 

Personal growth and how it affects personal life choices

A healthy family starts with healthy relationships, and those can only be built between emotionally mature individuals who take responsibility for their personal growth. It can be argued that one learns from one’s own mistakes, but this article does not negate everybody’s sacred right to err and learn – or not learn – from their previous faux pas. The point is rather, as long as there is enough motivation on both sides to emerge on the other side of every conflict with lessons learnt, adjustments will be made and peace will triumph with more or less consistency. 

Let us not forget that the desire to pursue a career often comes from the family background, and so does the wish to have a family of one’s own. Those who have sensible parents who have given them a successful template for how to find the right partner have an upper hand in knowing how to start and maintain a happy family. Parents who can set a good example of what qualities he or she should have and who talk about how to watch out for warning signs. The role of parents in choosing a partner is much more important than you think. Since we are little, we are programmed and learn from our own parents. We do as they do and not as they say. If our parents make mistakes, there is a great risk that we will do the same. And if we have parents who do not take this responsibility – then the risk to make the wrong choice or handle relationships in a bad way is higher.

It’s great when one had had a chance to learn from one’s family; but it does not mean that those deprived of this background are destined to keep coming up short in personal life. And this is where mindfulness steps in, because it will nurture the good seeds of inherited knowledge and makes up for the lack thereof through self-education. 

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness means seeing and experiencing reality as it is in the present. A training in being here and now. The method incorporates three mental attitudes that are effective tools for you who practice mindfulness: 

Beginners mind – seeing with new eyes, means not being locked in by preconceived notions.

Letting go – means that we do not let our relationships be locked by things that have been and that we cannot influence.

Do not judge and accept – we do not always understand people’s motives or ways of acting towards us. Acceptance does not mean that we like or accept an action, but that we see it as a fact and relate to it, in the same way that we may not like the weather, but must relate to the fact that it is raining.

In relation to others, the mindfulness attitude “beginners mind”, to see with new eyes, is especially important. It is about meeting people without preconceived notions, the filter of values ​​that often carries with us and which means that we do not see people for what they are in the present but based on what we “know” about them.

In many circumstances, it is difficult to appreciate and see partner in the present. With “beginners mind” you can learn to see your partner with new, curious eyes. When you can, you also get the ability to find your way back to old feelings, which means that people who practice personal development hold the key to reigniting the spark in the long-term relationship, making it stronger and immune to the detrimental toll of habit.


Why Healthy Eating Is Important for The Whole Family

Healthy diet for the whole family: the importance of eating together

Aiming for a healthy and balanced diet must be a priority for the whole family, especially during the time of seasonal infections. But how difficult it is to get everyone to agree at the table! One family member has to be more careful and keep his cholesterol values ​​under control, another often skips lunch or eats a sandwich in a hurry to reconcile work and time for the family, children are inevitably attracted to junk food, they hate soups or anything that has the semblance of presenting itself as a healthy dish. A table laid out in such a way as to bring together all the members of the family seems like a mirage. Still, we managed to scrape by some useful tips for a healthy diet for the whole family.

It is very important that the whole family, as far as possible, consume at least one meal together during the day. Normally this meal is dinner. It would be ideal, from a very young age, to accustom children to eat the same foods as their parents. Even during weaning, the infant’s diet should reflect that of the parents in variety. Of course, if a pattern is followed by traditional baby food, you can cook the foods differently, but ideally they should be the same. In this way, the little one immediately gets used to different flavors and to the fact that at the table you eat the same food all together.

Since a good example is fundamental, parents (and any older siblings) must also consume the same foods: if the child notices that each person at the table eats something different from the other diners, he or she will feel legitimated. Another essential thing to ensure a good education at the table is the variety in the food proposal. Parents should make the effort to bring to the table different protein sources, seasonal vegetables and cereals even different from just wheat and its derivatives such as bread and pasta. With a complete Mediterranean diet, the needs of the whole family are covered with a single menu.

The role of nutrition in family planning

Obesity and overweight are risk factors for infertility while a balanced diet can improve the chances of conception: diet has its importance for the couple who is looking for a child. Without hoping for “miraculous elixirs”, couples who wish to expand their family can count on good allies: the foods we put on the table. A balanced diet can indeed do a lot to increase the chances of conception, but it must be considered in the set of lifestyles and healthy eating habits for the well-being of men and women.

In the last 10 to 20 years, interest in the correlation between eating habits and infertility has increased. Observational studies both in the field of spontaneous fertility and in medically assisted procreation are able to provide some interesting data for couples who are looking for a child.

Diet has an indirect effect on fertility; body weight has an influence that must be taken into account, in particular with respect to female fertility. Moreover, a 5-10% reduction in body weight in view of a pregnancy search significantly improves the outcome and chances of conception. The definition of normal weight is based on the measurement of the body mass index (BMI): subjects with BMI greater than 18.5 and less than 24.9 are considered “normal weight”. This index is calculated by dividing the weight expressed in kg by the height expressed in meters squared. In conditions of overweight or obesity, when the ‘BMI is greater than 25, there is often an impairment of ovulatory function, ie the production of a mature oocyte every month.

Excessive thinness is equally disadvantageous. On the other hand, extremely underweight patients due to an eating disorder or due to intense physical activity may encounter cycle disturbances up to amenorrhea, condition that hinder the productive function. Also, intense physical activity, it must be remembered, modifies the hormonal structure in an unfavorable way to conception.

It is difficult to establish the properties of individual foods in a functional way, in addition, eating habits vary widely geographically. However, the data relating to the importance of vitamin supplementation, with particular reference to folic acid, are solid: intake in the preconception phase reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus. The World Health Organization recommends 400 micrograms of folic acid per day; it has also been observed a role of this micronutrient in helping to improve the probabilities of conception both through spontaneous research and through medically assisted procreation. 

Scientific data also focuses on food patterns: the Mediterranean diet, albeit with different results, is considered a good scheme because favoring wholemeal flours, fruit, vegetables, proteins and “good” fatty acids, improve female and male fertility.

To conclude, what would be a perfect nutrition plan for a couple during family planning period? There is no real diet to get pregnant, but there are good eating habits to maintain over time that can make a contribution. A typical day for the couple who wants to increase their chances of conception should be marked by the following meals:


  • whole white yogurt with oat flakes and raisins
  • toasted wholemeal bread with 100% almond cream
  • tea or coffee


  • wholemeal spaghetti topped with fresh cheese and sage
  • beets with oil and lemon
  • fresh fruit salad


  • a few squares of 70% dark chocolate


  • fennel and orange salad with sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin and lentil soup with rye bread croutons