School presentation to educate families on importance of sleep

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published March 8, 2019

MADISON HEIGHTS — After five years on a waiting list, Hiller Elementary in the Lamphere Schools district has received a grant to host a popular program that seeks to promote healthy sleep habits among students and their families.

Sweet Dreamzzz Inc. will bring its REM Sleep Program to the school on Friday, March 15. “REM” stands for “Rest, Educate, Motivate.” Not coincidentally, March 15 is World Sleep Day, run by the World Sleep Society with the goal of teaching people how to balance their sleeping needs with the busy lifestyles of today. 

The program will be presented from 9 to 11 a.m., using several locations at Hiller Elementary, including the media center and gym. The program is not open to members of the community, but all students in kindergarten through fifth grade will participate in assemblies, and a group of 50 parents and guardians will be participate in their own sleep education workshop. 

The sleep educators from Sweet Dreamzzz will present healthy bedtime habits to students, and each student will receive a Sweet Dreamzzz Sleep Kit, which includes a T-shirt, a toothbrush and a blanket. The goal is to set students up with routines that maximize the benefits of sleep. 

The parents workshop, meanwhile, will equip them with information and take-home tools, including bedtime charts with stickers and a bedtime routine magnet, so that they can get organized with keeping their children on a sound sleeping schedule. The parents and guardians will learn the science behind adequate sleep and which nighttime routines will benefit their kids most. 

The program has been a long time coming. Nicole Wilson, a Title 1 interventionist at Hiller, originally applied in 2014, since many teachers were noticing that students were coming to school tired and talking about how late they often go to bed. The school staff realized that many students didn’t have healthy bedtime routines, and that a program like Sweet Dreamzzz could make an impact, with better sleep leading to better learning. 

The student program is free for Title 1 schools, but it often takes time for schools to reach the top of the waiting list. Sweet Dreamzzz then works with donors to secure the funds to implement the program. The grant is valued at $6,000 for Hiller and includes the presentation, as well as the blankets, sleep T-shirts and toothbrush kits. The school will be receiving 200 blankets handmade by students at Dearborn Divine Child High School.

“This program has the potential to impact our students and their families in many positive ways. We all want our students to be happy, healthy and ready to learn. Getting enough rest is key,” Wilson said. “We have noticed that when children lack the necessary amount of sleep each night, their ability to focus, their physical energy and their emotions are all impacted. We hope that this program will guide our students and families into making lifelong healthy sleep habits.”

Added Brad Sassack, principal at Hiller: “We’re very excited to offer sleep education at Hiller Elementary. Sleep plays such an integral role in a child’s academic success. To have Sweet Dreamzzz Inc. provide guidance to not only our student population, but also our parents and guardians, is highly beneficial. It’s my hope that the information shared and the tools provided will have a positive impact on students of all grade levels.”