Sleep Well, Grow Healthy: World Sleep Day Promotes Healthy Sleep for Infants, Children, and All Ages on March 18, 2011

Mar 15, 2011, 12:25 ET from World Association of Sleep Medicine

ROCHESTER, Minn., March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sleep is a basic human need — a crucial component of survival, much like breathing, eating a healthy diet or getting enough exercise. World Sleep Day is designed to raise awareness of sleep as a human privilege that is often compromised by the habits of modern life.

A good night's sleep is vital for the health and well-being of people of all ages. This is the message the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) will be promoting during the fourth-annual World Sleep Day on Friday, March 18, 2011. Organized by the World Sleep Day Committee (co-chaired by Antonio Culebras and Liboro Parrino), this worldwide event is a platform for medical professionals to deliver the message of the importance of healthy sleep to the public.

Sleep problems constitute a global epidemic affecting up to 45% of the world's population. Insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), restless legs syndrome (RLS), and sleep deprivation significantly impact physical, mental and emotional health, in addition to affecting work performance and personal relationships.

Sleep problems are not limited to adults. Poor sleep affects about 25% of the world's children. Lack of quality sleep in children can lead to:

  • Obesity
  • Accidental injury
  • Moodiness and emotional problems
  • Aggressiveness and impulsivity
  • Irritability and frustration
  • A change in activity levels (appearing "hyper" or "low energy")
  • Decreased memory, attention, learning and reasoning, which can impact school function

"Sleep is of vital importance for children of all ages," says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist specializing in pediatric sleep medicine. "Getting a full-night's sleep will help children function at their best both at home and at school. Sleep is essential for a child's happiness and well-being."

To help improve children' sleep and overall wellness, WASM has created the 10 Commandments of Healthy Sleep for Children:

  1. Make sure your child gets enough sleep by setting an age-appropriate bedtime and waketime.
  2. Set consistent bedtime and wake-up times on both weekdays and weekends.
  3. Establish a consistent bedtime routine and recommend wearing comfortable clothes in bed, including strong absorbing diapers for infants.
  4. Encourage your child to fall asleep independently.
  5. Avoid bright light at bedtime and during the night and increase light exposure in the morning.
  6. Keep all electronics, including televisions, computers and cell phones, out of the bedroom and limit use of electronics before bedtime.
  7. Maintain a regular daily schedule, including consistent mealtimes.
  8. Have an age-appropriate nap schedule.
  9. Ensure plenty of exercise and time spent outdoors during the day.
  10. Eliminate foods and beverages containing caffeine.

(For more information on the 10 Commandments of Healthy Sleep for Children, visit, which offers translations in various languages.)

WASM is committed to researching and solving sleep problems in both children and adults. It dedicates its efforts in 2011 to educating the world on important sleep topics, including improving the sleep of both adults and children. World Sleep Day events will take place primarily online, featuring educational videos on sleep health, drowsy driving, sleep and education, and public service announcements.

On World Sleep Day, Royal Philips Electronics (Philips), together with leading Australian sleep researcher Dr. Sarah Blunden ( and the WASM, has also announced the launch of a new educational module on sleep for children around the world, as part of the SimplyHealthy@Schools program.  Available online at, the program aims to support teachers in educating children between the ages of 8 and 12 years, on the importance of sleep and how it can help to improve their health and well-being.

"We're excited to be working with Philips on World Sleep Day in raising awareness of the significant and increasing impact that lack of sleep is having on people across the world," says Antonio Culebras, Professor of Neurology at SUNY, Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, and co-Chair of World Sleep Day. 

"Philips is honored to be working with the World Association of Sleep Medicine.  Through our global efforts together, we aim to increase people's understanding of the seriousness of sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which, if not properly managed, can have a significant impact on a person's health and well-being," added Dr. David White, Chief Medical Officer for Philips Home Healthcare Solutions and a Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  

In Italy, professional speakers from accredited Sleep Disorders Centers will meet with local high school students to illustrate the basis of sleep physiology and discuss the habits and behaviors that interfere with restorative sleep. Dr. Oliviero Bruni will provide slides dedicated to sleep in children and teenagers. To further celebrate WSD, the Italian Association of Sleep Medicine along with the Italian Society of General Medicine have prepared a toolkit dedicated to the relationship between sleep and cardiovascular disease.

In China and in honor of WSD, Pampers, a Proctor and Gamble brand, applied a "Sleep Tracker" tool to help parents easily and rationally determine their baby's sleep quality. Additionally, Pampers is sponsoring a WSD event on March 20, 2011 that includes WSD co-chair Dr. Liborio Parrino presenting.  During the event, photographs of more than 10,000 babies' "morning smiles" will be displayed in front of China's famous National Aquatics Center–Water Cube in Beijing. The event is designed to build awareness of the importance of good sleep quality for babies' health and development as part of the WSD subtheme "Evaluate Babies Sleep Quality Objectively." WASM and Pampers will award all participating babies with a "Golden Sleep Ambassador Certificate."

World Sleep Day 2011 Sponsors

World Sleep Day 2011 sponsors are commercial companies Philips Respironics, Proctor and Gamble, and UCB.

Philips Home Healthcare Solutions, a global leader in the sleep, respiratory and home monitoring markets, is passionate about improving the quality of people's lives with solutions that are designed around the needs of the company's customers and their patients. Visit to learn more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and to take the online sleep quiz.

Pampers, a global leading baby care brand, launched the "Golden Sleep Morning Smile Campaign" from November 2010 to March 2011 to raise public awareness of the importance of infant's quality sleep.  More than 10,000 babies will celebrate WSD by displaying their "morning smile" photos in front of the famous National Aquatics Center—Water Cube. All participating babies will be awarded the "Global Golden Sleep Ambassador Certificate" by WASM and Pampers.

More information regarding these sponsors may be found at

SOURCE World Association of Sleep Medicine