Child Sleep and Physiology Lab with Assistant Professor Lauren Philbrook
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Child Sleep and Physiology Lab with Assistant Professor Lauren Philbrook


[INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC] The aim is to look at
predictors and outcomes of sleep in preschool children. The early years are particularly
important because there’s so much happening at the
level of brain development. So many of those connections
are being formed in the brain. They’re learning so much. They’re taking in so
much in the environment, so being able to consolidate
that in their brains while they’re sleeping, I
think, is particularly valuable. That time period is
particularly important. So the study is very complex in
when we ask the parents to do. The first component is wearing
a watch, the actigraph watch. It’s kind of like a Fitbit. It measures their
sleep, their efficiency, and quality of sleep. The second part is
asking the parents to fill out a questionnaire. And then, we ask them to
record their bedtime routine. So we give them a security
camera that’s about this big. Covering from a
variety of singing, from reading books to
brushing your teeth– whatever they do to get
their child ready for bed. And then the other part is
we ask for cortisol samples. Cortisol, so it’s
stress hormone. It increases in response to
experiencing an acute stressor. But there’s also
this diurnal rhythm that you have
across the day where it rises first
thing in the morning after you wake up to help
you prepare for the day, and then slowly
falls across day. So we’re looking at that to
be able to see the extent to which sleep is predicting
cortisol the next day, the extent to which cortisol
could be potentially interfering with sleep. So if you are experiencing
more stress in your day, then perhaps your cortisol
does not come down as much, and can then interfere
with your ability to fall asleep at night. If the [INAUDIBLE] is pointing
this way, choose this button. We also ask the child to come in
to perform these iPad games is what we call them. But they are cognitive
executive functioning tasks, and these are supposed to
affect the cognitive aspect of our study. And then we ask– later on, we will correlate that
with their sleeping pattern. Based on all of the variables
we’ve been running correlations and interactions
with, we’ve noticed that girls have higher
sleep efficiency than boys. And the boys– related to
that– the boys wake up a lot more on average
during the night after their initial
falling asleep. Also, longer bedtime routines
that are more structured are beneficial
cognitively for the child. At the end of the
day, we would like that our study incorporate
all these different factors to give to parents later on
of how to just have your child sleep well, and then
wake up the next day and perform well at
whatever they want to do. [INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC]

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