Healthy sleep habits for back-to-school

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One in four Canadian children have insomnia, including difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. Poor sleep can make it harder for children to learn and pay attention. It can even make it harder for children to control their emotions, make healthy eating choices, and to be physically active. This is why it is important for parents to pay particular attention to the transition period of summer vacation to back-to-school.

Better Nights, Better Days is an online step-by-step program for parents of children with insomnia. It includes built-in tools and supports designed by our sleep experts and backed by science. The program is designed to empower parents to help their children to sleep better.

Dr. Penny Corkum, a registered child psychologist and professor at Dalhousie University, warns that “later bedtimes and unusual sleep environments (think tents, slumber parties and grandma’s house) so common over summer vacation may have taken a toll, and as such, it is important to get an early start on addressing these sleep problems before school starts.”  Corkum suggests to “start adjusting your child’s bedtime at least one to two weeks before school starts, giving you and your child time to make the switch from vacation mode to school mode.”

Corkum is the lead investigator of the Better Nights, Better Days research initiative, which launched the English language version today and the French language version on March 1st, 2017.

“Research has shown that early intervention can hold the key to help interrupt the cycle of insomnia that can carry on into adulthood,” Corkum says.

The Better Nights, Better Days study is currently looking for French-speaking families with school-aged children (6-10 years old) to participate in this study. Dr. Roger Godbout, a psychologist, researcher at the Hopital en santé mentale Rivières-des-Prairies, and professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Montreal, and one of the co-investigators on the Better Nights, Better Days team, noted that “this program is a unique opportunity for French speaking families of school-aged children as there are few available programs for this population.”

Godbout cautions parents that “when your child does not get a good night’s sleep, the whole family is affected, including parents, caregivers, siblings, and even your child’s teachers. This is why our team of sleep experts across Canada has come together to develop Better Nights, Better Days – to help parents to help their child to sleep better and have better days too!”

Interested parents can visit the Better Nights, Better Days website at  for more information and to determine if they are eligible to participate.

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