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Sleep education program spurs preschoolers to snooze 30 minutes longer at night
Date:6/17/2014

found that a two-week program of daily exposure to sleep education in the preschool classroom, along with an initial presentation for parents, can be an effective strategy," says Ronald D. Chervin, M.D., M.S., the study's senior author, director of the U-M Sleep Disorders Center, and a volunteer on Sweet Dreamzzz's Advisory Board.

"But repeated exposure or reminders about the sleep information may be necessary to maintain the effects for kids and especially parents over time."

This is believed to be the first study to examine the effect of a sleep education program on the sleep of preschool age children.

The Head Start programs were located in greater Lansing, Mich. and Detroit, Mich.

The lessons taught in school seemed to stick with the children. Among the lessons were recognizing 8 p.m. as the desirable bedtime; learning that an apple is a better snack before bedtime than a candy bar; and identifying reading rather than watching TV as a relaxing activity before bedtime.

"We are pleased to see that the University of Michigan researchers have been able to measure the impact of our sleep program. We know a proper sleep environment, regular bedtime routine, and the right amount of sleep hours each night can impact the future of our children," says Nancy Maxwell, executive director of the non-profit Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc.

Sweet Dreamzzz provides educational programs on sleep, along with free sleep essentials such as sleeping bags, toothbrushes, and books about sleep -- to schoolchildren in low-income areas. Sweet Dreamzzz's main aims are to encourage better sleep and thereby better health and learning -- at the earliest ages.

Most evidence indicates that children commonly obtain insufficient sleep, says DeRue, and this study provides a critical demonstration that minimal, relatively inexpensive interventions can make a difference.

"Family sleep education during early childhood years, when the sleep
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Contact: Mary Masson
mfmasson@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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