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Innovation and Research

Back to School Sleep Opens Eyes on Facebook

Gillette recently hosted a Facebook Live Q&A featuring John Garcia, MD, on back-to-school sleep issues. The pediatric sleep medicine specialist believes that later start times would be beneficial to students across Minnesota. Evidence links later high school start times to fewer teen car crashes, decreased depression and improved academic performance, Garcia says. In fact, Garcia’s research on later school start times will be presented at the Minnesota Association of School Administrators meeting in October.

The chat was moderated by content specialist Greta Cunningham. Besides later start times, Garcia also discussed sleep recommendations/guidelines, links between behavior and sleep and common sleep disorders. During a Facebook Live Q & A, a live video is streamed of an expert answering viewer questions in real time. Fans watch the discussion from their Facebook page. Garcia took questions before the chat and also answered some that were asked in the comments section of the livestream during the discussion. The video was heavily promoted on social media.

John Garcia discusses school sleep habits.Garcia offers these general sleep tips for kids this school year:

  • Get Plenty of It: Your children probably need more sleep then you think. Preschool aged kids need 11-12 hours per night. Until kids are in their teens, they need at least 10 hours a night.
  • Patterns Matter: Kids need routine when it comes to sleep. Your children should hit the sack at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
  • Get Rid of Tech: Smart phones, TVs and computers should be strictly off limits before bed. Electronic devices can keep a child awake when it’s time to wind down. Ideally, the bedroom should be used only for sleeping.
In addition to our patients and families, we alerted the largest 25 Minnesota school districts about the live event and encouraged them to share the information with their students, parents, administrators and teachers.
So far the 28-minute live video has brought in more than 40,000 impressions, 17,000 views and more than 250 reactions, comments and shares. 
Garcia is a board-certified sleep specialist who works with Gillette patients who have disabilities and associated sleep disorders. Such disorders include obstructive sleep apnea, sleepwalking, circadian rhythm disorders, and restless legs syndrome. He uses a combination of behavior management, medications, surgery and other therapies in his practice.