Kids today are getting less sleep, but one simple thing might help.
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Westin Thread Forward

Do you remember the last time you dragged yourself into work after a night of tossing and turning?

Maybe you hit snooze on your alarm a few times, then you begrudgingly rolled out of bed and chugged your first cup of coffee that day, knowing full well that cup would not be your last. Maybe you even contemplated calling in sick. And once you got to work, maybe you snapped at a coworker, struggled to remember where you left something, or even started to nod off at an inconvenient moment on those long, horrible days.

Now imagine that you’re 7 years old, and you’re having one of those kinds of days.


You didn’t sleep enough the night before — maybe you share a room with a noisy sibling, you have sleep apnea, or you have a parent who comes home from work late — but you still have to survive the school day. And one night of poor sleep is bad enough, but what if this becomes the norm?

Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash.

If you've ever spent time around a young child that needs a nap, you know it doesn't take much to make them cranky. And if kids are constantly in need of more sleep, it can start to add up, taking a toll on their moods, development, school work and friendships.

That's because kids actually need more sleep than adults to function well.  

It’s just as important as diet and exercise to their health. A lack of sleep can mess with a kid’s hormones — specifically, the hormone responsible for their growth, which is secreted primarily while they’re asleep. It also affects their concentration, memory, and problem-solving — which takes a toll on their academic performance. Plus, sleep deprivation comes with a whole host of behavioral and emotional issues — including emotional control, hyperactivity, and impulsivity — in kids as young as 7.

And the effects can be longterm too.  Sleep deprivation early in life has also been linked to health problems in adulthood, including diabetes and heart disease. To make matters worse, research also suggests there is a correlation with socioeconomic status and sleep deprivation, making kids who are already disadvantaged especially vulnerable to its effects.

Experts estimate that somewhere between 20% to 30% of kids have encountered sleep problems. But the good news is that a better bedtime routine can go a long way to help.

That routine doesn’t have to be complicated, either: taking a warm bath, slipping into a favorite pair of dinosaur pajamas, brushing teeth, and then drifting off after a story can make all the difference, research shows, as long as that routine is consistent.

Photo via Westin.

Over time, according to a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a regular bedtime routine will help kids fall asleep more quickly, sleep longer, and wake up less often in the middle of the night. It also led to fewer behavioral problems during the day.

The only problem is that not every kid has the luxury of a soothing, comfortable routine.

In households that struggle to afford basic necessities, the simple comforts that make bedtime soothing — a nutritious snack, cozy PJs, a storybook — are not always readily available. And without them, many of the benefits of a bedtime routine can be lost or diminished. It’s easy to forget that something as simple as pajamas can be a privilege, and an important one at that.

Recently, many inventive solutions have emerged to help kids in need with their sleep hygiene, including programs like Project Rise: ThreadForward, launched by Westin Hotels & Resorts.

As part of this program, Westin is collecting, processing and reweaving discarded high-quality bed linens from its hotels and transforming them into pajamas that they are donating to kids all around the world who otherwise can't afford them.

Repurposing sheets into pajamas

When kids get a good night sleep, they are more likely to succeed. Turns out pajamas might be a key piece of this equation and this company is trying to help.

Posted by Upworthy on Friday, April 20, 2018

Pajamas may be a simple comfort, but they can be a critical part of sleep hygiene, especially for the kids who need it most.

Good habits create a solid foundation for life, and even the small things — like a warm glass of milk or comfy PJs — have a part to play. They might seem simple, but they’re an important part of forming the routines that kids carry with them well into the future.

Image via iStock.

Every child deserves sufficient rest. And with all the demands we place on kids today, it’s more critical than ever to get them on the path to a good night’s sleep.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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via @Kingkeraun / Twitter

Keraun Harris, who goes by the name King Keraun, is a popular comedian on social media who's appeared as an actor on HBO's "Insecure" and ABC's "Black-ish."

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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