Better Nights, Better Days Research Study Recruiting Canadian Families

This is a guest post submitted by Sydney Dale-McGrath, Project Manager for Tte Better Nights Better Days study at Dalhousie University.

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Families should know that it only takes only a small amount of sleep loss for a child to experience challenges in their day-time functioning, such as difficulties with academic, emotional, social, and physical processes. This is why it can be important to pay particular attention to the transition period at the end of Daylight Saving Time, which takes place this year on November 6 across much of Canada.

“Resetting our internal body clocks is not as easy as resetting the clocks in your house,” warns Dr. Penny Corkum, a registered child psychologist and professor at Dalhousie University. Dr. Corkum is the lead investigator of the Better Nights, Better Days research initiative, which launched September 6th, 2016. She recommends starting your family’s transition early, gradually moving your child’s bedtime, naptimes and wake times to match the new schedule.  “The end of Daylight Saving Time can result in children being overtired, which can be difficult for children, and their parents!”

Dr. Corkum and her partners across Canada have created a unique program to address this public health issue; Canadian children are getting too little sleep. “Over the last decade, we have increasingly seen research illustrate just how important sleep is to the day-time functioning of children, the alarming issue is just how many children are not getting an adequate amount of sleep or the quality of sleep they need.”

Better Nights, Better Days is an evidence-based online intervention program for parents who have children that experience sleep issues including difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking too early; these are collectively categorized as insomnia. The interactive online program is designed to offer accessible support to parents of children with insomnia, empowering parents to implement evidence-based behavioural strategies to help their children sleep better. “Research has shown that early intervention holds the key to help interrupt the cycle of insomnia that can carry on into adulthood,” she says. This program aims to help families improve their child’s sleep, leading to an enhanced quality of life for their children around the clock – better behaviour, better mood, and better school performance.

The research study is open to Canadian parents of children between the ages of 1 and 10 who experience insomnia. Interested parents can visit the Better Nights, Better Days website at www.betternightsbetterdays.ca for more information and to determine if they are eligible to participate. While the study is no longer recruiting from Atlantic Canada (NB, NL, NS, PE), Better Nights, Better Days is continuing to recruit from other provinces across Canada. Better Nights, Better Days is funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research: Sleep and Circadian Rhythms Team Grant.

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