Ann Arbor, Mich. Taking part in an educational sleep program resulted in a 30-minute average increase in sleep duration at a one-month follow-up for preschoolers, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.
In the study, published in the journal SLEEP, families in two Head Start programs participated in the Sweet Dreamzzz Early Childhood Sleep Education Program. The Detroit-area nonprofit organization, Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc. developed the program and offers it for free when funding allows. Head Start programs aim to give preschool opportunities to low-income families, in part to improve readiness for elementary school.
Researchers found that among 152 preschool children and their families, the sleep education program produced a 30-minute increase in sleep duration among the kids, says lead author Katherine (Wilson) DeRue, M.D., M.S., who conducted the study while a postgraduate fellow at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center and Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics.
"We know that an increase in sleep duration of that magnitude is associated with better function for kids during the day" says DeRue, who is now a pediatrician and sleep physician at IHA Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Consultants in Ann Arbor, Mich.
"Parents often underestimate how much sleep their kids require, so an educational program like this, directed at parents when they have more control over their kids' sleep schedules, can have great impact."
The study also found that parents' awareness and knowledge of good sleep behaviors also improved after program participation, but this effect was not sustained when parents were retested one month later.
The educational program included a one-time, 45-minute sleep education program for parents, and two weeks of classroom sleep education for the preschoolers. Parents were asked to keep diaries for assessment of their children's sleep habits.
|Contact: Mary Masson|
University of Michigan Health System