After school on Monday, March 21st of 2022, Summit School welcomed Dr. Reut Gruber who provided the staff with a wonderful in-service.
Dr. Gruber is a clinical child psychologist and pediatric sleep expert affiliated with McGill University and the Douglas Research Institute. She directs the Attention, Behaviour and Sleep Laboratory where her research focuses on the role sleep plays on children’s academic performance, mental health, and ADHD. In collaboration with SCERT, a few of the lab members she supervises have worked with Summit students. For years, Dr. Gruber has been partnering with school boards across Quebec to develop a comprehensive sleep promotion program for school professionals, so we were so excited to welcome her back to Summit and hear about her findings!
During her in-service, Dr. Gruber explained that healthy sleep is a multidimensional construct, where several factors like regularity, subjective satisfaction, daytime alertness / sleepiness, timing, efficiency, and duration, all come into play. Unfortunately though, it has been shown that children and adolescents have poor sleep health. For example, elementary school children have shown to not get the recommended hours of sleep, and adolescents show problems in sleep duration, falling asleep, waking up in the morning, and daytime function due to sleepiness.
These findings inspired her and her team to take on a community-based, participatory research approach where she worked with a range of professionals (psychologists, school teachers, curriculum experts, and more) to develop a school-based, sleep promotion program. In working with evidence-based strategies that are teacher-friendly and integrated into the school curriculum, this program has proven to be quite successful:
Students who took part in the intervention had longer sleep duration, higher sleep efficiency, and lower sleep latency (as compared to the control group)
Similarly, these students showed significant improvement in Math and English test scores.
We would like to thank Dr. Gruber again for her contribution to Summit School and to the community at large. We continue to be inspired by her work!