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.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.