17 October 2017
Topic: Best Way to Get My Five-Year-Old to Sleep
Thesis: Insomnia in school-age children harms their cognitive and social abilities; sleep is vital
Chism, Amelia. Personal Interview. 26 September 2017. Amelia Chism advises that we should try eliminating all caffeine, including that in chocolate and ice tea, and making sure that my son gets at least an hour of vigorous outdoor play every afternoon. If his reluctant sleep persists, she thinks we should try a sleep specialist. Amelia Chism is a family physician who has practiced medicine in Northwest Arkansas for over twenty years, and who has been my son’s doctor since he was a week old.
Ferracioli-Oda E, Qawasmi A, Bloch MH (2013) “Meta-Analysis: Melatonin for the Treatment of Primary Sleep Disorders.” PLoS ONE, vol. 8 no. 5: e63773. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0063773. This is a meta-analysis of 19 studies which looked at the use of melatonin to treat insomnia. The conclusion is that melatonin reduces insomnia and improves quality of sleep. It is less effective in doing so than other pharmaceutical agents, but is also more “benign” than those agents. The authors of this study are all well-qualified researchers and have published extensively in this area.
Nguyen, Kevin and Zafer Soultan. “Why Doesn’t My Child Sleep?” Family Doctor: A Journal of New York Family Medicine News, vol. 4, no. 1, 2015: 28-30. In this article, the authors give a review of the possible causes of sleep problems in children, claiming that 90% of sleep problems stem from failure of parents to set consistent boundaries, and then outline proper sleep hygiene practices which should lead to successful sleep in children. Kevin Nguyen and Zafer Soultan are both pediatric doctors who practice family medicine in New York State.
Storrs, Carina. "It's OK to let your baby cry himself to sleep." CNN Wire, 24 May 2016. link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A453174857/OVIC?u=warkcc_boreham&xid=5520c2c8. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017. Carina Storrs reports on a study done in Australia which tracked 44 parents of infants between six and sixteen months of age, some of whom used the cry-it-out method and some of whom intervened to comfort their children. The study found that infants left to cry themselves to sleep learned to go to sleep faster than children whose parents gave them comfort. This article has good sources, but deals with children younger than my son. Storrs is a freelance science writer with a PhD in microbiology who has written for a number of popular science magazines, including Scientific American and The New Scientist.
Swearingen, Dolores. Personal Interview. 5 October 2017. In this interview, Dolores Swearington shared some advice and tips on effective ways to help young children sleep, including being sure children get plenty of outdoor play and avoiding too much sugar and television. Swearingen is a 62 year old grandmother with three grown children and seven grandchildren. She has also run a daycare out of her home for over twenty years.