Are you a parent of a child with autism and have 15 minutes to spare? Please help the Karolinska Institutet with a survey

Karolinska Institutet - Autism Research
Karolinska Institutet – Autism Research
Earlier this week we were contacted by one of our readers who asked us to help find people to take a survey. Suzanne Axelsson, herself a mother with a  child on the spectrum told us “My husband is starting up some research into the sleep routines of children with autism. Sleep is an essential part of learning… and also social interaction… if we are tired it is harder to react appropriately to a given situation… and as I see with my own son, who has autism, he is depleted of his energy reserves sometimes rapidly by things that would hardly bother others… this means that good sleep hygiene is even more essential for my son”.
Her husband John Axelsson of the Karolinska Institutet , a leading medical university in Sweden, shared:
“Karolinska Institutet is currently conducting a study to explore the complex relation between autistic traits and sleep quality. 
While we know that sleep is often affected in this group, the underlying mechanisms remains largely unknown. 
If you have a child that has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or have autistic traits, you can contribute to this research by filling out a questionnaire about your child and his/her sleep, taking approximately 15 minutes. You will not be asked to provide any identifying information such as name or date of birth, meaning that your answers will remain strictly anonymous and confidential. The data will be used for developing better interventions to improve sleep quality and day time functioning in children with autism. 
 
Simply click on this link to participate (https://survey.ki.se/Survey/4695/en) but please make sure that you have 15 minutes to spend as you only can access the questionnaire once. 
Thank you very much for your time, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions! 
 
Associate Prof. John Axelsson, 
Dept. Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet 

Self-help tips to fight fatigue

Self-help tips to fight fatiguee
Self-help tips to fight fatigue
Many cases of unexplained tiredness are due to stress, not enough sleep, poor diet and other lifestyle factors. Use these self-help tips to restore your energy levels.

Eat often to beat tiredness

A good way to keep up your energy through the day is to eat regular meals and healthy snacks every three to four hours, rather than a large meal less often.

Read more about healthy eating.

Perk up with exercise

You might feel too tired to exercise, but regular exercise will make you feel less tired in the long run, and you’ll have more energy. Even a single 15-minute walk can give you an energy boost, and the benefits increase with more frequent physical activity.

Start with a small amount of exercise. Build up your physical activity gradually over weeks and months until you reach the recommended goal of two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.

Read more about starting exercise.

Find out the physical activity guidelines for adults.

Lose weight to gain energy

If your body is carrying excess weight, it can be exhausting. It also puts extra strain on your heart, which can make you tired. Lose weight and you’ll feel much more energetic. Apart from eating healthily, the best way to lose weight is to be more active and do more exercise.

Read more about how to lose weight.

Sleep well

It sounds obvious, but two-thirds of us suffer from sleep problems, and many people don’t get the sleep they need to stay alert through the day. The Royal College of Psychiatrists advises going to bed and getting up in the morning at the same time every day; avoid naps through the day, and have a hot bath before bed (as hot as you can bear without scalding you) for at least 20 minutes.

Read more about how to get a good night’s sleep.

Try these NHS-approved sleep apps to help you sleep well.

Reduce stress to boost energy

Stress uses up a lot of energy. Try to introduce relaxing activities into your day. This could be working out at the gym, or a gentler option, such as listening to music, reading or spending time with friends. Whatever relaxes you will improve your energy.

Read more about how to relieve stress.

Talking therapy beats fatigue

There’s some evidence that talking therapies such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) might help to fight fatigue. See your GP for a referral for talking treatment on the NHS or for advice on seeing a private therapist.

Read more about counselling.

Cut out caffeine

The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends that anyone feeling tired should cut out caffeine. It says the best way to do this is to gradually stop having all caffeine drinks (this includes coffee, tea and cola drinks) over a three-week period. Try to stay off caffeine completely for a month to see if you feel less tired without it.

You may find that not consuming caffeine gives you headaches. If this happens, cut down more slowly on the amount of caffeine that you drink.

Drink less alcohol

Although a few glasses of wine in the evening helps you fall asleep, you sleep less deeply after drinking alcohol. The next day you’ll be tired, even if you sleep a full eight hours.

Cut down on alcohol before bedtime. You’ll get a better night’s rest and have more energy. The NHS recommends that men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units a week, which is equivalent to six pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of low strength wine.

Read more about how to cut down on alcohol.

Drink more water for better energy

Sometimes you feel tired simply because you’re mildly dehydrated. A glass of water will do the trick, especially after exercise.

Read about healthy drinks.

5 Tips on Camping Safety for Parents

Boys Playing in the Leaves
Boys Playing in the Leaves

Camping is one of the top summer activities, particularly if you live near a national forest. The fresh air, escape from city noise, and beauty of nature make camping one of the best family-friendly trips one can take in the summer. However, camping often comes with its own set of risks, especially for children. There are a few ways you can make your family camping trip as fun and safe as possible. Here are a few tips:

Be Diligent with Mosquito Repellent

For the most part, mosquitos are only annoying pests that make you itchy. They don’t often pose a major health risk to you or your kids. However, they can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, malaria, and yellow fever. Although diseases from mosquitos are somewhat rare in North America, it certainly is better to be safe than sorry.

People often also scratch open mosquito bites, which leaves behind an open wound. Kids tend to be very nonchalant about picking and scratching at bug bites, which makes them susceptible to infection. The best way to prevent disease and infection is to prevent mosquito bites altogether.


Life Jackets are a Must

Life jackets are a necessity if you are going to be camping near a body of water. Keep in mind that rivers may seem placid on the surface while concealing a strong current beneath. Rivers easily pull even the best swimmer under and drag them across the river bottom.

Lakes pose a threat to children, especially those who are boating, because they have less endurance. If children are thrown from the boat, they could be stunned by the impact, and it will not take much time for them to lose strength and dip below the surface of the water. Accidents can happen even under the watchful eye of the most observant parent. It is best to take safety precautions.

Maintain a Similar Sleep Schedule

Sleeping in the great outdoors can be a very exciting prospect for kids. It is their vacation and they are more than likely prepared to stay awake for the duration of the trip. Unfortunately for them, it is important that their sleep schedule does not deviate too much from their usual routine. Try to keep bedtime within a half an hour of their normal bedtime. To encourage sleep, you may want to bring some foods that aid sleep. It also helps to stick to your home routine as much as possible.




Apply and Reapply Sunscreen

There’s nothing like a sunburn to make a vacation uncomfortable. Sunburns cause pain and peeling along with an increased risk for skin cancer when the child reaches adulthood. To avoid these issues, apply sunscreen a half an hour before your kids are exposed to sunlight. A good rule of thumb is to reapply sunscreen every two hours, but you should reapply it more frequently if the kids are splashing around in a creek.

Pack Plenty of Water

Dehydration is a very common problem in active kids. The excitement of the vacation, along with the hot sun, are a recipe for a dry mouth or other issues related to dehydration. To avoid this problem, offer your children water, not soda or juice, every half hour. You also can take advantage of the rehydration time to reapply sunscreen.

Keeping your kids safe while camping is, in reality, a fairly easy task. If you keep yourself on the same rehydration, sunscreen application, and sleep schedule, keeping track of what your kids need becomes much easier. However, it also is important that you don’t spend your entire trip worrying about your children. If you forget to reapply sunscreen after a dip in the lake, your children will survive. This is your vacation too; take some time to relax and enjoy.


Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.

 

Tips for a Healthy Life After Facing a Difficult Diagnosis

Tips for a Healthy Life After Facing a Difficult Diagnosis
Tips for a Healthy Life After Facing a Difficult Diagnosis

When diagnosed with an aggressive and potentially life-threatening disease, like cancer, it’s natural to become overwhelmed with all of the “what if’s and what now’s” and while you’re eager to fight your disease, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Although your diagnosis may be one of the most challenging things you have or will face, your health is now even more important than ever. Here are some tips for adjusting to a difficult diagnosis, taking care of yourself, and making the best of your life:

Educate Yourself

Unless you’re a medical professional, such as an oncologist, you may know very little about your recently diagnosed disease. Take mesothelioma, for example. Mesothelioma is a cancer that typically affects the lungs and is related to asbestos exposure. Since mesothelioma is often diagnosed decades after the exposure occurred, many patients have no idea they have the cancer in their body until they are faced with a late stage diagnosis.


While the initial diagnosis can be daunting, especially if faced with an aggressive and advanced stage, it’s still advantageous for patients to learn as much as they can about mesothelioma and what types of treatment options are available. When your health changes dramatically, you, as a patient, have a right and responsibility to gain as much information as you can about your disease (regardless of the stage). Not only can you help yourself, but you’re raising awareness and helping others around you.

Surround Yourself with Support

Surrounding yourself with family and friends that care about you and having a support system can help you get through some of your roughest times. Whether your neighbor gives you a ride to your chemotherapy treatments, your best friend brings over a week’s worth of food, or a co-worker offers to go on a walk with you, allow these people to help you and be part of your journey. You may want to push people away and you may get tired of talking about your diagnosis, but the people around you want to help and their offers may be the only way they know how to show support. If you don’t have a support system of your own, consider joining a support group of people who are facing the same health challenges as you.

Exercise, Eat Well, & Get Sleep

Whether you exercise regularly or not, exercise is a great way to stay healthy when you body is fighting a disease. Not only does exercise boost your serotonin levels, which can help you overcome depression and fatigue, but even taking a short walk outdoors can give you a much needed dose of Vitamin D. Before you start exercising, always check with your doctor and he or she will help you choose a suitable exercise regime such as walking or swimming.

In addition to making exercise part of your daily routine, a healthy diet and a good night’s sleep of at least 7 to 8 hours per night will benefit you through your recovery.

Stay Positive

When facing a tough diagnosis, it’s natural to be afraid and experience the five stages of loss and grief. You may feel helpless and you may feel depressed, but studies show that if you choose to have a positive attitude about your life and your diagnosis, your recovery may be faster and your health may improve. By having a positive outlook, your physical, emotional, and mental health may experience a significant boost. Positive thinking may come easier for some than others, but by surrounding yourself with support and practicing healthy routines, you may find it easier to be optimistic about your future.