A school-based health and mindfulness curriculum improves children's objectively measured sleep: a prospective observational cohort study.
Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
STUDY OBJECTIVES: Poor sleep impedes children's cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial development. Pediatric sleep dysregulation is common, and children who live in communities of low socioeconomic status (SES) experience additional risk factors for short sleep duration and poor sleep quality. School-based training in mindfulness and yoga-informed practices can improve children's behavior and well-being, but effects on objectively measured sleep are unknown.METHODS: Effects of a school-based health and mindfulness curriculum, which taught practices such as paced breathing, on sleep and stress were examined in 115 children (49 girls, ages eight to 11 at baseline). 58 children in a community of low socioeconomic status (SES) received the curriculum twice weekly for two years. 57 children in an SES-matched community engaged in their usual physical education class instead. In-home ambulatory polysomnography and perceived social stress were measured from all children at three timepoints: at baseline (i.e., prior to curriculum exposure) and at two yearly follow-ups.RESULTS: Children receiving the curriculum gained an average of 74 minutes of total sleep time, and 24 minutes of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, per night over the two-year study period. Children not receiving the curriculum experienced a decrease in total sleep time averaging 64 minutes per night, with no changes in REM sleep. Sleep improved within the first three months of curriculum exposure, in a dose-dependent fashion. Higher curriculum engagement (e.g., using the breathing exercises outside of class) was associated with larger gains in total and REM sleep duration. Aggregate within-group changes in social stress were not significant. However, among children receiving the curriculum, those who experienced larger gains in total and REM sleep duration also experienced larger increases in perceived social stress.CONCLUSIONS: A school-based health and mindfulness curriculum improved children's objectively measured sleep over two years. Social stress did not mediate these effects; instead, mindfulness training may have increased awareness of environmental stressors, while developing tools to reduce stress vulnerability.
View details for DOI 10.5664/jcsm.9508
View details for PubMedID 34170222