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If you have a temperamental toddler it could be worth incorporating cuddles into their bedtime routine, a new study suggests.

Researchers have discovered passive tricks to help a child fall asleep – for example cuddling, singing and reading – are positively linked to a child's temperament.

On the other hand taking more active measures like walking, going on a drive or playing with your child appear to have a negative effect, the study suggests.

A team of international scientists asked 841 parents across 14 countries to participate, who all had toddlers aged between 17 and 40 months.

Researchers have discovered passive tricks to help a child fall asleep – for example cuddling, singing and reading – are positively linked to a child's temperament

They were asked to report their toddler's temperament and what techniques they use to encourage their child to sleep.

Analysis revealed countries with greater reliance on passive strategies had children who were more sociable, with positive effects such as a toddler smiling and laughing more.

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Meanwhile active sleep techniques were linked with fussy or difficult toddlers.

The countries where parents mostly used passive bedtime tricks included the US, Finland and the Netherlands, while Romania, Spain and Chile topped the list for active techniques.

Christie Pham, one of the authors from Washington State University, said: 'Our study shows that a parent's sleep-supporting techniques are substantially associated with their child's temperament traits across cultures, potentially impacting their development.

'For example, countries with higher reliance on passive strategies had toddlers with higher sociability scores.

Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system and significantly raises your risk of developing numerous forms of cancer. Even moderate reductions in sleep for just a week can disrupt blood sugar so profoundly you would be classified as pre-diabetic. Short sleeping also increases the risk of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting you on a path towards cardiovascular disease, stroke or heart failure. Perhaps you have noticed you crave junk food when you’re tired? Too little sleep swells concentrations of a hormone that makes you feel hungry, while suppressing a companion hormone that signals food satisfaction

'Our results demonstrate the importance of sleep promotion and suggest that parental sleep practices could be potential targets for interventions to mitigate risk posed by challenging temperament profiles across cultures.'

Writing in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the team said: 'Our results extend prior findings by suggesting that active techniques that involve removing the child from bed to walk, drive or play with them are related specifically to greater distress proneness.'

Earlier this year a separate study found a bottle at bedtime really could help babies sleep better.

Infants fed just before they fell asleep slumbered for an extra hour before waking up during the night, researchers discovered.

The team, from the University of Tübingen in Germany, said it is best to check in on babies without picking them up, and that taking a baby back to your own bed when they wake up at night could cut the amount of time they sleep by almost 20 minutes.


- Preschool (3-5 years): 10-13 hours

- School-age (6-13 years): 9-11 hours

- Teen (14-17 years): 8-10 hours

- Young adult (18-25) 7-9 hours

- Adult (26-64): 7-9 hours

- Older adult (65 or more) 7-8 hours

Source: Sleep Foundation 


1) Limit screen time an hour before bed

Our bodies have an internal ‘clock’ in the brain, which regulates our circadian rhythm. 

Mobiles, laptops and TVs emit blue light, which sends signals to our brain to keep us awake.

2) Address your ‘racing mind’

Take 5-10 minutes before you go to sleep to sit with a notebook and write down a list of anything that you need to do the following day.

3) Avoid caffeine after 12pm

If you want a hot drink in the afternoon or evening, go for a decaffeinated tea or coffee.

4) Keep a cool bedroom temperature

Keep bedroom thermostats to around 18°C. During spring/summer try sleeping with your bedroom window open to reduce the temperature and increase ventilation.

5) Limit alcohol in the evenings

While you might initially fall into deep sleep more easily, you then wake up frequently during the night and have poorer deep sleep overall.

6) Supplement vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a role in sleep. Vitamin D is widely available online and from most pharmacies.

If you are unsure if this is appropriate or how much you need, seek advice from your GP.

7) Ensure sufficient intake of magnesium and zinc

Foods high in magnesium include spinach, kale, avocado, bananas, cashews, and seeds. 

Foods high in zinc include meat, oysters, crab, cheese, cooked lentils, and dark chocolate (70%+).


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Ross Chastains Martinsville Move Too Unrealistic for a Movie

Getty Ross Chastain has revisited his move from the Martinsville race.

The Cup Series elimination race at Martinsville Speedway was back on October 30, but Ross Chastain still hears questions about riding the wall. One of them focuses on whether this move could be part of a movie script. However, he views it as too unrealistic.

Chastain provided insight into the matter during the NASCAR Awards in Nashville. He explained that no one in Hollywood would have made a movie about his season and the “video game move” at Martinsville Speedway. His reasoning is that it just looked poorly animated.

“I don’t think they would have made this movie would have been too unrealistic,” Chastain told the gathered media members. “No, no. I mean, the video at Martinsville looks like a really bad animated CG-whatever, like fake thing that they’ve dubbed in. Like it doesn’t look real when I watch it.

“I feel like whoever made that should have made it look more real. The car looks like it’s glitching by. Yeah, I think it’s beyond a movie. I don’t think that it would even seem real if you were to pitch that in January. I don’t think people would have… I don’t think that Hollywood would have bought it.”

The Move Still Achieved an Important Goal

GettyRoss Chastain greets fans at Daytona International Speedway.

While Chastain believes that the move was too unrealistic, it was real enough to help him achieve a goal. He was able to go from 10th to fifth on the final lap and secure a spot in the championship four. He later moved up to fourth after officials disqualified Brad Keselowski’s No. 6 for failing post-race inspection.

Chastain went on to finish third in the championship race at Phoenix Raceway and second in the Cup Series standings behind Joey Logano. This performance capped off a season in which he secured his first two career wins and set career-best marks in several different categories.

How did Chastain accomplish this feat? There were multiple factors that played a role. He revealed one of the biggest during the Awards Banquet at the Music City Center in Nashville.

“The new car,” Chastain told Marty Snider during the ceremony. “NASCAR and the France family unveiled and rolled out a car that was, in my opinion, the largest reset this sport has ever seen. And my belief — from the very first race at the beach — there was a better-designed car and a better-built car. You could weld it together different.

“And as recently as last year with my time in the 42 car, you could design and build a better car. And now, we buy the cars, and it’s reset it. That’s the reason Trackhouse exists. It’s the reason that Justin Marks and Pitbull and Ty Norris set out on this voyage.”

Chastain Expects Some Improvements in 2023

As the Florida native explained during the NASCAR Awards, the 2022 season was his first “at-bat” with Trackhouse Racing. This means that the 2023 season will give him even more opportunities to pursue wins and a spot in the playoffs.

How competitive will Trackhouse Racing be compared to other teams? That answer remains unclear. The Next Gen car will undergo some changes before the season in the pursuit of safety and better competition.

There is also a limit on the amount of work that teams can do on these new cars. Going outside of these guidelines results in harsh, L2-Level penalties, such as the ones that were issued to RFK Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, and Front Row Motorsports in 2022.

That being said, Chastain still expects to make some improvements before the 2023 season. He has faith in the people at Trackhouse Racing, and he knows that the team can’t afford to simply celebrate past accomplishments.

“We have smart people, so do I think my car’s gonna handle better at the start of 2023 than it did at the end of 22? I hope so,” Chastain said during his media availability. “It’d better. We’ve got to go faster, or they’ll pass us. That’s what’s so great about the sport is that it’s cyclical and it never ends.”


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