Stories about: sleep

Does your child have narcolepsy?

Teenager with his head down is sleeping in class, possibly with narcolepsy.

Teens are a notoriously sleepy bunch. Left to their own devices, many will happily snooze into the early hours of the afternoon. About 28 percent of teens also report falling asleep in school at least once a week, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation. This can make it difficult for parents to know when a teenager’s love affair with sleep might be the sign of narcolepsy or another sleep disorder.

While narcolepsy is a rare condition, affecting only about .05 percent of the U.S. population, it often goes undiagnosed. It is a condition that typically develops between ages 10 and 20.

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Year in review: Our most popular Thriving stories


As the year comes to a close, we look back on some of the most popular stories — from basic tips to second chances to ground-breaking surgeries. Thank you to the many families and patients who kindly contributed to the success of Thriving in 2016. As always, you inspire us. Happy New Year!

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Health headlines: Mold in sippy cups, HPV vaccine data and the school start-time debate

 toddler sippy cup

Yes, mold can grow inside a child’s sippy cup

Healthline and New England Cable News report parents across the country are outraged after discovering mold on their child’s Tommee Tippee sippy cups despite following cleaning instructions.

Dr. Claire McCarthy, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, explains mold growing inside a sippy cup is — while startling — likely quite common and not all molds are toxic. McCarthy adds if a child is having new, unusual symptoms or an unexplained rash, it is worthwhile to call a doctor.

HPV sharply reduced in teenage girls following vaccine, study says

The New York Times reports a vaccine introduced a decade ago to combat the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer has already reduced the virus’s prevalence in teenage girls by almost two-thirds, according to federal researchers.

Should Massachusetts high schools begin classes later in the morning?

The state legislature is considering a bill to study the issue of pushing high school start-times later statewide.

Boston Children’s Dr. Judith Owens is in favor of the later start-times, telling The Boston Globe, it’s not healthy if you are asking teenagers to get up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. — their lowest point of alertness in their 24-hour cycle. The Barrington Courier Review (Chicago) also covered the subject and interviewed  Owens.

Learn more about the HPV vaccine.

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Melatonin for children — 5 things to know

melatonin sleepYour child’s lack of sleep is beginning to affect her school performance. You’ve tried to establish a consistent bedtime, to no avail. You’re half-crazy with sleep deprivation yourself tending to her insomnia.

You’ve heard melatonin — a natural hormone — can help. Perhaps your pediatrician has already recommended it. But is it really beneficial, and can your child take it safely?

Thriving checked in with Dr. Judith Owens, director of the Sleep Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, and her answer is: Probably. But we don’t really know for sure.

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