Hazards Involved With Not Getting Enough Sleep.

You’re feeling grumpy, you have trouble concentrating, and you’re not eating well.  It could be because you’re not getting enough SLEEP.

But not getting enough sleep does more than affect your mood. It can wreak havoc on your health.

USA Today has a story on sleep deprivation which includes a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC warns that habitual lack of sleep can lead to an increased risk of many serious health problems, including obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, heart attacks and strokes.

That’s not to mention negatively impacting your quality of life, reducing productivity—even contributing to premature death!

As you may have heard me mention a few weeks ago, a recent study involving mice found that chronic sleep loss can lead to the irreversible loss of brain cells.

CDC data show that 1 out of 4 adults report sleeping six hours or less each night, and that’s simply not enough for most people.

Safwan Badr, a past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, says sleep is so critical to good health that it should be thought of “as one of the components of a three-legged stool of wellness: nutrition, exercise and sleep,”

Dr. Badr says there are some steps you can take to get a better night’s sleep:

Go to bed at about the same time every night, get up at the same time in the morning, don’t drink caffeine in the afternoon, limit alcohol consumption, and exercise regularly.

For more ideas, go to


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Good News: Toddler Discovers Eye Brows


When babies discover anything for the first time, it’s an adorable thing to watch – especially when the discovery is their eyebrows. Twenty-month-old Leon had a big revelation in a viral video taken by his dad, Lucas MacEochaidh, while being held by his mom.  Leon is looking in the mirror while raising his eyebrows up and down, and to him, it’s pretty much the funniest thing in the world (but really, it’s pretty darn cute). Lucas uploaded the video Friday and it already has nearly two million views.  Click here for some major cuteness!


Help—My 6-Year-Old is a Habitual Liar—What Can I Do?

Dear Dr. Bill,


Ever since my second daughter could walk and talk, she has been sneaky and a little deceitful.  She’s now almost 6-years-old and is very smart and sweet, but her tendency to lie continues to baffle me. I’ve tried reading children’s books to her about telling the truth, and reviewing Bible verses that back up what I’ve been teaching her — but the problem persists. What should I do?




Dear Nicole,


Young children tend to respond more effectively to actions, rather than words. Although explaining the importance of truth and sharing Bible verses with your daughter are important, you’ll find that firm, decisive actions are the best teacher.


My guess is she has found that lying works for her—at least some of the time. She’s learned that telling a fib helps her to avoid or at least delay punishment. So you need to make the consequences for lying more severe than for other types of misbehavior.


For example, if she deliberately breaks one of her sister’s toys, she will receive a consequence, but if she LIES about it, her punishment will be considerably more painful.


Clearly explain this to her, so she knows in advance that she’s much better off telling the truth and admitting to an infraction, even if she does experience a negative consequence for her misbehavior.


In addition to consistent, powerful consequences for lying, you should also begin praising her when she tells the truth.


Many parents find it helpful to use a sticker chart or token system to reinforce positive behavior and discourage negative behavior.


You can learn how to set up such a system in Dr. James Dobson’s book “The New Dare to Discipline.”


Thanks for writing Nicole!


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Good News: Boy Receives Letter From Heaven


Gino Valentine and his mom, 42-year-old Gayle Valentine, visited the grave of Gino’s father, Daryl, who died in January 2010 at the age of 24. Gino placed a card that read “Dad, you’re the best” at the headstone, where he also found an envelope hidden underneath a heart-shaped stone and a potted plant. “What’s that beneath the stone?” asks Gayle. The letter was addressed to “Gino Valentine.”  Click here to watch the video of him reading this note.


Could Your Kid Be Packing Pounds This Summer?

Could your kid be packing on the pounds this summer?


As you probably know, school districts across the country have been banning sugary drinks and fatty lunch foods in order to help curb childhood obesity.


But a new study suggests that SUMMER is the time when kids are more likely to gain weight.


NBC News is reporting on researcher done by the Harvard School of Public Health. It showed that many kids gain weight during the summer, particularly black and Hispanic kids and children and teens who are already overweight.


Rebecca Franckle, a Harvard doctoral student who led the study, says “It’s especially those kids who are already at risk who are the most at risk during the summer.”


About a third of children and teens in the U.S. are either overweight or obese, and piling on extra weight at a young age can lead to serious health problems later in life.


The researchers aren’t certain what is behind the summer weight gain, but they suspect that it’s less structure, extra snacks, boredom and more time spent in front of a screen.


More research is needed to determine the best ways to curb weight gain over the summer, but Rebecca Franckle at Harvard suggests that parents worried about extra pounds should look to the school year for suggestions.


She says engaging kids in sports or camp programs is a good idea. She and her colleagues also believe that expanding access to summer food programs for low-income children may help.


For more suggestions on keeping your kids healthy this summer—and all year long–go to


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Faith-based Cable TV Programming

Good news—more faith and family-friendly programming is coming to a cable network near you.


According to Plugged, networks such as Up, Aspire, INSP, TV One, Bounce TV and the Hallmark Channel are all looking for wholesome programming, shows and movies that the whole family can watch together.


Cindy Bond, co-founder of Mission Pictures International, says “We’ve hit a watershed moment in the faith film arena. This audience isn’t a fluke any more.


Cindy says the next step for us is for Christian film and TV producers to raise the bar in terms of quality.


Barbara Fisher, senior vice president of original programming for the Up Network, says there’s a growing demand for uplifting television movies, too.


According to Barbara, “It may sound cornball to some people, but we are recognizing that there’s a big country out there that hungers for programming that makes them feel hopeful. I’m seeing a new kind of respect for this programming. It doesn’t have to be schlocky or subpar.”

Eli Lehrer, senior vice president of nonfiction programming for Lifetime, believes that the Christian audience is ripe for more programming.  He says there are tens of millions potential viewers who hold Christian beliefs, but they’re not well-represented on TV these days.


And here’s another benefit of all the faith-based programming.  Tina Campbell, star of WE TV’s reality show Mary Mary says “I think people are starting to see Christianity as normal thanks to all these shows. If we’re going to expose the world to every other aspect of life, why not expose it to Christian life when you’re not at church?”


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Kids and Caffeine

Parents used to warn kids that caffeine would stunt their growth. These days, they’re more likely to take them out for a Frappuccino. writer Linda Carroll reports on new research into the effect of coffee and caffeinated drinks on kids.  It turns out that even low doses of caffeine —the amount you’d find in a can of soda or a cup of coffee — had an effect on kids’ blood pressure and heart rates.

Interestingly, researchers found that after kids went through puberty, caffeine had more potent heart and blood pressure effects on boys than girls.

It’s the cardiovascular effects that have experts most concerned, with some advising that kids shouldn’t have caffeinated drinks until their late teens.

Dr. Kevin Shannon, a professor at the UCLA, says “There are lots of things we can’t do because we’re not old enough or mature enough.  Caffeine should probably be added to that list.”

The study showed that low doses of caffeine slowed the kids’ heart rate and increased their blood pressure.  A slower heart rate might be the opposite of what you’d expect, it’s not a new finding

At low doses, the heart slows down to compensate for rising blood pressure, At higher doses, the heart speeds up.

What has doctors particularly worried is the popularity of energy drinks, which often contain high levels of caffeine.  At high doses, caffeine can bump blood pressure into the danger zone and spark life-threatening heart arrhythmias.  It can also trigger neurologic symptoms, including seizures.

So the best advice for parents is keep caffeine away from your kids.  Here’s an idea–instead of a cappuccinos or a can of Rock Star… what about I don’t know—water or milk!

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

What’s the Best Sleeping Arrangement for Baby?

Dear Dr. Bill,


We have a 6-week old baby at home and I’m wondering what you think about having him sleep in our bed.  Some of my friends say the best place for a baby to sleep is next to his mom.  What do you think?




Dear Tammy,


That’s a great question.  Advocates of the so-called “family bed” believe that having their baby sleep with them gives the child a sense of security and comfort they won’t get in a crib.  They also point out that in other cultures, parents often sleep in the same bed with their children.


Critics of the family bed raise concerns about parents rolling over and crushing or suffocating their baby.  They also point out that the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, may be higher in these situations because adult bedding materials may not be a safe environment for a sleeping newborn.


In fact a study published in the Journal Pediatrics found that the risk of suffocation is 20 times greater when infants are placed in adult beds rather than cribs.


Sleeping with a newborn may also cause the parents sleep to be disrupted because newborns have a different sleep cycle than older children and adults.


As they pass through different sleep phases, babies tend to move around and make all kinds of noises, and sound as if they are waking up.  This may interfere with mom and dad’s sleep, which can affect their mood, their concentration, and their frustration level during the day.


Most child development experts and pediatricians agree that children need to learn to fall asleep in their own crib or bed.  A bassinet placed next to the parents’ bed during the first few months of a baby’s life can be a good compromise.  And snuggling with your child in bed in the morning after everyone is awake can be a wonderful bonding experience.


Thanks for writing Tammy!


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Why many “Cool” Kids Wind Up as Troubled Adults

Were you jealous of the “cool kids” back in high school?  Would you believe that YOU may wind up happier than they are?

New research has looked at the so-called “cool” behaviors displayed by middle-schoolers.  It found that although they made kids more popular in the short run, that effect wore off quickly and eventually backfired.

In fact, by early adulthood, the cool kids were more likely to have criminal records, abuse drugs and alcohol, and have troubled relationships.

Lisa Tolin at NBC News, reports on the new study.  She says the world may actually be one big “Revenge of the Nerds.”

Researchers at the University of Virginia looked at what they called “pseudomature” behaviors — trying to act older than you are.  Those behaviors included more romance and “making out,” minor crimes like shoplifting or destroying property, and picking the best-looking classmates as friends.

In middle school, it paid off — kids who engaged in those behaviors were rated as more popular by their peers. But by age 15 or so, they weren’t anymore. And by 23, they had real problems.

They were more likely to do things like abuse drugs and alcohol, engage in drunk driving, get into fights, and show up late for work. They were also more likely to have criminal histories, and were judged by their peers as worse friends.

So why does this happen?   One reason may be an escalation of “cool” over time. The kid who impresses his friends by shoplifting may find those friends demanding more serious crime over time.

Also, “cool” behavior can interfere with more mature development.  For example, kids who have early romantic relationships may spend less time with friends. And if having “hot” friends makes you popular, you may miss out on developing real interpersonal skills.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Good News: Dog Missing For 2 Years Smells Her Way Home


A golden retriever who wandered away from her family at a campsite two years ago may have found her way back to her owners by smelling for her old blanket and their clothes. Owners Nathan and Erin Braun were camping in Tahoe two years ago when their beloved 5-year-old pet Murphy ran away. The couple posted fliers and searched for the dog to no avail, but never gave up hope of finding her.  Earlier this month, a camper at a nearby campground saw a dog that looked a little like Murphy. Jason Smith said he was at French Meadows Reservoir when he saw the dog. The Brauns drove to the campground and put down Murphy’s blanket along with a baseball cap and other personal effects from the family.  The very first night it was laid out he heard some movement.  There was Murphy sleeping on the blanket. It was curled up with its head on the hat.  Jason was able to leash Murphy after a few days and had a friend notify the Brauns, who came and were reunited with Murphy at the campground.  Watch this video here.