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Sleep Education Program Encouraging Preschoolers To Snooze 30 Minutes Longer At Night

Update Date: Jun 18, 2014 05:37 AM EDT

Preschoolers who took part in an educational sleep program, ended up snoozing 30 minutes more at night, according to a new study. 

The study, followed-up preschoolers for a month and found that among 152 preschool children and their families, the sleep education program produced a 30 minute increase in sleep duration among the kids. 

"We know that an increase in sleep duration of that magnitude is associated with better function for kids during the day," said 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, in the press release. 

"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."

According to the study, parents' awareness and knowledge of good sleep behaviors also improved after program participation. However the effect was not sustained when they were retested a 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, the press release added. 

Further parents were also advised to maintain a diary for assessment of their children's sleep habits. 

"So we 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," said 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, in the press release. 

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

The study will be published in the journal SLEEP. 

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