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Healthy sleep in young children: missed opportunity in early childhood programs and policies?

Published:March 17, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2015.02.002
      The evidence is clear: healthy sleep in early childhood promotes optimal development. Inadequate sleep, both in terms of quantity and quality, is associated with increased risks of obesity,
      • Suglia S.F.
      • Duarte C.S.
      • Chambers E.C.
      • Boynton-Jarrett R.
      Social and behavioral risk factors for obesity in early childhood.
      • Dawson-McClure S.
      • Brotman L.M.
      • Theise R.
      • et al.
      Early childhood obesity prevention in low-income, urban communities.
      emotional and behavioral problems,
      • Lundahl A.
      • Nelson T.D.
      Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptomatology and pediatric obesity: psychopathology or sleep deprivation?.
      • Kobayashi K.
      • Yorifuji T.
      • Yamakawa M.
      • et al.
      Poor toddler-age sleep schedules predict school-age behavioral disorders in a longitudinal survey.
      and suboptimal cognitive development.
      • Kobayashi K.
      • et al.
      Poor toddler-age sleep schedules predict school-age behavioral disorders in a longitudinal survey.
      Long-term sleep problems have detrimental effects on brain development that may last into adulthood.
      • Jan J.E.
      • Reiter R.J.
      • Bax M.C.
      • Ribary U.
      • Freeman R.D.
      • Wasdell M.B.
      Long-term sleep disturbances in children: a cause of neuronal loss.
      Disparities in sleep health are closely associated with socioeconomic factors and may contribute to long-term health disparities.
      • Piccolo R.S.
      • Yang M.
      • Bliwise D.L.
      • Yaggi H.K.
      • Araujo A.B.
      Racial and socioeconomic disparities in sleep and chronic disease: results of a longitudinal investigation.
      In addition, many parents of young children crave better sleep for their children and themselves and are willing to pay a growing number of private sleep coaches to help.
      • Ingram D.G.
      • Plante D.T.
      • Matthews C.K.
      Sleep coaches: characterization of a burgeoning pediatric provider group from internet advertisements for services.
      In spite of compelling evidence that healthy sleep helps lay the foundation for early childhood development and long-term health, major systems of care for young children—namely, pediatric primary care and early care and education (ECE)—lack clear guidance for how to promote sleep health.
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