Sleep and the power of marketing

Caught an ad on TV for this Midnite sleep aid the other day.   Based on the claims in the ad, I checked it out and was not surprised to find that it was basically melatonin plus a few other natural extracts which I doubt have any proven value in helping people sleep.  So, basically, this is a sleep aid for suckers.  Melatonin has been available for years and years from all sorts of no-name vitamin and supplement manufacturers.  In fact, all three of the Greene boys rely on it to fall asleep at night (and before you think I’m a , bad parent, it’s under doctor supervision).  Anyway, it was just interesting to see that some drug companies realized all you’ve got to do is add a few interesting-sound extracts, invest in some marketing, and double the price, and you’re rolling.  I’ll stick with the generic stuff at Whole Foods and Wal-green.


George Allen: liberal?

It hasn’t happened yet, but damn if the Tea Party isn’t just going to drive the Republican party off a cliff these days.  The Post had a story yesterday about how many VA Republicans now consider former Senator/Governor (and any reasonable person’s conservative) as too moderate/liberal.  Seriously?!  The inmates are truly running the asylum.  It basically seems as though all the Tea Partiers have attributed Republican success in the 2010 midterms to the Tea Party, rather than the economic conditions which actually were overwhelmingly responsible for Republican gains.

George Allen scored a 100% rating from the American Conservative Union in 2005!  And this man is too moderate for the Tea Party?!  They may yet have some more short-term success, but seriously, some chickens have got to come home to roost on this and it will not be good for Republican electoral fortunes when they do.

Parenting sweet spot

Interesting (and somewhat encouraging) NPR story on how parenting can affect childrens’ likelihood of binge drinking.  It’s good to know that what we do as parents might actually matter.  Basically, really lenient parents and really harsh parents are most likely to have children who engage in problem drinking.  Here’s the details:

The teens who were being raised by so-called indulgent parents who tend to give their children lots of praise and warmth — but offer little in the way of consequences or monitoring of bad behavior — were among the biggest abusers of alcohol.

“They were about three times more likely to participate in heavy drinking,” says Bahr.

The same was true for kids whose parents were so strict that no decision was left to the teenager’s own judgment.

“Kids in that environment tend not to internalize the values and understand why they shouldn’t drink,” says Bahr. They were more than twice as likely to binge drink.

The social scientist in me loves this really cool U-shaped pattern of dependent/independent variable.  The parent in me would like to think I’m actually doing a good job on this.  Kim and I are certainly more towards the lenient side, but I think the description of the “parenting sweet spot” describes what we are at least trying to do:

The parenting style that led to the lowest levels of problem drinking borrowed something from each of the extremes. From the strict parents: accountability and consequences for bad behavior. From the indulgent parents: warmth and support

Bahr says these parents tend to be more balanced.

“They recognize their kids when they do good things and praise them, but they offer direction and correction when they get off a little bit,” he says.

It also recommends talking to kids about alcohol as early as 4th grade to help them develop healthy attitudes.  Check on that.  I’ll report back to you on David in 6-7 years and let you know how it’s gone :-).


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