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Lack of sleep is ‘epidemic’ amongst Canadian teens, here’s why it has doctors worried

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Every morning the bell rings at 8:10 a.m. at Smiths Falls District Collegiate, and herds of weary high-school students stumble into class like zombies.

“We’re always tired,” Grade 10 student Michelle Norlock says. “It’s hard, because you’re not focusing and you can’t really understand what the teacher is saying.”

“My first class, I just want to fall asleep and not really pay attention, because I’m exhausted from the night before,” echoes Grade 9 student Angelina Holmes.

Parents of any era know it’s often a struggle to coax a groggy teenager out of bed. But two Grade 10 students at SFDC in Smiths Falls, Ont., wondered if their peers are, in fact, chronically sleep deprived.

Elizabeth Horsey and Quin Atkinson asked more than 300 students about their sleeping habits for a recent science fair project. Their questions included a survey known as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale that’s commonly used to detect sleep disorders.

It’s recommended that 13- to 18-year-olds get eight to 10 hours of sleep per night, according to the Canadian Paediatric Society. Studies suggest more than half of Canadian teens get less than that. (Duncan McCue/CBC)

The duo found that students slept 7.67 hours on school nights, on average.

What surprised them was that more than a third of students would be classified by the Epworth test as having “excessive” daytime sleepiness, which, in some cases, warrants medical attention.

“Everybody is so stressed with all the work and they’re not getting enough sleep,” Atkinson says.

“They just have so much on their plate and they’re not getting enough time to restore their bodies.”

Indeed, national statistics show millions of Canadian adolescents don’t get enough shut-eye, which has experts warning of long-term health consequences — unless we start appreciating the importance of a good night’s sleep.

‘Functioning sub-optimally’

The recommended amount of sleep for 13- to 18-year-olds is eight to 10 hours per night, according to the Canadian Paediatric Society.

Studies suggest more than half of Canadian teens get much less, about 6.5 to 7.5 hours per night, says Indra Narang, director of sleep medicine at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

“We are in an epidemic of sleep deprivation,” said Narang, who foresees cumulative effects that can have an impact on everything from health to work performance.

“In 20 years time, we’re going to see a whole generation of adults who are functioning sub-optimally.”

‘We are in an epidemic of sleep deprivation,’ says Indra Narang, director of sleep medicine at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, who foresees cumulative effects that can have an impact on everything from health to work performance. (Duncan McCue/CBC)

Teenagers naturally function differently than adults when it comes to bedtimes: they don’t run on the same inner clocks.

In early adolescence and puberty, teens experience a shift in their 24-hour biological cycles, known as circadian rhythms. This means peak production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin happens later in the evening for teenagers, from roughly 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Those hormonal changes have long turned many teens into “night owls,” but studies over the past few decades show the pervasiveness of sleeplessness is on the rise.

Reasons vary, from late-night use of electronics and hectic after-school schedules, to increased consumption of high-energy caffeine drinks. Some teens also have sleep disorders from being overweight.

“It’s not uncommon for me to see teenagers in my clinic who are telling me that on school nights they go to bed at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m. — and get up at 7 a.m. to go to school,” Narang says.

“They’re struggling to get in to school for the allocated time. They are sleeping in school. They find it hard to do the homework.”

When teens don’t get enough ZZZZs, the health dangers range from obesity and diabetes, to depression and substance abuse. Narang says public health officials need to better understand the long-term consequences of sleep deprivation.

“What we don’t want to do is miss the opportunity to intervene now, rather than have to intervene [later in life] when they have cardiovascular disease or metabolic disease or strokes or, indeed, dementia.”

Later school start times?

One of the questions raised by Horsey and Atkinson’s science project is whether a later school start time would benefit students.

Some teens worry that delaying start times could have an impact on part-time jobs or after-school sports programs, but many interviewed for this story were enthusiastic about any opportunity to sleep in.

“If school was a bit later, I could get maybe five or six hours [of sleep] … which would greatly help in, like, getting better grades,” says Grade 12 student Haze Ketcheson, who sleeps on average four hours per night.

He might be onto something, and it’s about more than getting enough sleep to avoid dozing off in class and missing an important lesson.

Some teens at Smiths Falls District Collegiate say they worry that delaying school start times could have an impact on part-time jobs or after-school sports programs, but many interviewed for this story were enthusiastic about any opportunity to sleep longer in the morning. (Duncan McCue/CBC)

Stuart Fogel, a professor at the University of Ottawa’s Sleep Research Laboratory, has been looking at what the brain does while we sleep. He’s interested in how each day’s experiences are moved from the hippocampus, a limited space where we store recent short-term memories, to the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s “hard drive” where we store important memories for long-term reference.

Fogel’s research indicates that sleep basically cleans up the hippocampus, leaving us ready to take in fresh data — and simultaneously helps convert short-term memories into long-term ones so we can recall them later.

“What’s intriguing is that sleep loss will have an impact on your ability to retain anything that you learn that’s new,” Fogel says.

Narang says studies of American high schools with delayed start times suggest it can lead not only to significantly increased attendance, but also better grades.

However, there can be a host of logistical challenges to changing school start times. In Smiths Falls, for example, where the student population is largely rural, budget restrictions on school bus services resulted in staggered start times at elementary and secondary schools that allow for buses to make two runs. High schools get the earlier start.

“We think they should push it to nine o’clock … all they have to do is switch our bus times with the elementary school kids,” Atkinson says.

In the meantime, Horsey and Atkinson’s school project on sleep nabbed a gold medal at the science fair, and it has been attracting plenty of interest from students and teachers.

It also caught the attention of Horsey’s mother Veronica, who happens to be chair of the school council.

“Unfortunately, most adults don’t even understand how sleep deprived we are,” says Veronica Horsey. “Can we just look at the bigger picture on how to help our teenagers get more rest?”

She’s now working with school administrators to find sleep solutions, including workshops to improve students’ bedtime routines and scheduling fewer early-morning tests.


More from CBC

Watch Duncan McCue’s story on how important sleep is to learning and forming memories:

Back in 2005, Canadians averaged about eight hours of sleep a night. By 2013, that dropped to seven. Now about 40 per cent of Canadians are dealing with some kind of sleep disorder. Something about sleep keeps our bodies and minds from falling apart. The lack of it has been linked to obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and depression. Researchers are now discovering some fascinating things about how important sleep is to the way our brains store memories and learn things. 11:49

A neurologist answers questions from CBC’s audience about how sleep affects a person’s health and wellbeing.  12:42

Canadians aren’t getting as much sleep as we want, this much we know. In fact, almost 60 per cent of us say we aren’t getting the recommended eight hours a night. The National’s health panel talks about the impact of our daily habits on the quality of sleep we get, and answers some of your questions about sleep struggles and what can be done to get a more meaningful rest. 11:55


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Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

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With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

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Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

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(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

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