The concept of sleep health is gaining momentum globally. Rather than “medicalizing” sleep with a focus on sleep disorders and their treatment, there is growing interest in sleep health promotion for all and on the prevention of sleep problems. In Canada, sleep health is increasingly becoming part of a holistic vision of health and provides a metric for health promotion efforts. One of the outcomes of this evolving understanding of sleep health in Canada has been the release of the world’s first integrated 24-hour movement guidelines for the pediatric population in 2016. These were the first systematic review-informed sleep guidelines in Canada, and provided important benchmarks for surveillance. They also integrated sleep health with other lifestyle behaviors by putting the emphasis on the full 24-hour period rather than nocturnal sleep duration. Among the possible solutions to counter the adverse effects of insufficient sleep, public health policies are crucial to help prioritizing sleep health in children. The future of pediatric sleep health in Canada is bright, and we need to align our efforts and continue to push for this important topic in the public health arena. It is expected that this action will result in the prioritization of sleep health by the public health community in Canada so that it becomes an equal counterpart to the attention and resources given to other lifestyle behaviors such as healthy nutrition and sufficient amounts of physical activity.
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute