Dr Blunden

Dr Sarah Blunden

Associate Professor Sarah Blunden, Founder and Director of the Paediatric Sleep Clinic (Adelaide, South Australia) and the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep™ (ACES) and Head of Paediatric Sleep Research at Central Queensland University.

According to leading sleep researcher Dr Sarah Blunden, who partnered with Philips put together the new Sleep Module for its SimplyHealthy@Schools program, the effect on young children of not getting enough sleep is not what you might think it would be.

"Rather than falling asleep during the day, young children who don't get enough sleep typically become hyperactive, with a tendency to get angry faster, be more aggressive and have poor attention spans," she says. "As a result, they are often mislabeled as 'difficult children'."

Her research also shows that it's not just a child's behavior that is affected.

"Poor sleep can result in memory and attention lapses, difficulty learning and with school work, you can get sick more often and have more accidents and even be more likely to be overweight".

However, one of the problems associated with today's busy lifestyles is that sleep takes second place.


"In the 24-hour society that we live in we have found that even children as young as five are foregoing sleep in order to do things that they consider more important," says Dr Blunden. "Yet we know that if someone suffers poor sleep as a young child, their sleep problems can stay with them through their school years and into adulthood."

That makes getting the good sleep message across as early as possible especially important, which is why Philips teamed up with Dr Blunden to develop a new sleep module for the company SimplyHealthy@Schools child learning program.

"Through initiatives such as SimplyHealthy@Schools, Philips not only has the commitment but also the resources and infrastructure to get healthy lifestyle messages out to the community. When it comes to getting across the importance of sleep, that's a passion that I share with them," she says.

"Helping children to learn about sleep and showing them what they can do to improve it and make themselves feel better is a really nice exercise."

Resources for teachers & parents


Download the Simply Healthy@Schools program materials including assignments on sleep, sleep education materials, teaching guide, parents guide, poster and links to additional resources.


Infant Sleep eLearning Program

Sleep problems affect more than a third of infants—health professionals can now learn how to support families in managing this common challenge with the new Infant Sleep eLearning Program.
The Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute has led a decade of infant sleep research and found techniques that are safe and effective to use in babies aged 6-18 months.
This program will teach you two techniques and how to manage common problems such as night feeds and dummies. It provides fact sheets in eight languages to support you and the families you work with during these often challenging times.
This program is accredited for 2 Royal Australian College of General Practitioners points: Number 908.
The Infant Sleep eLearning Program was developed by infant sleep experts at the Centre for Community Child Health with the support of the Sleep Health Foundation and Gandel Philanthropy.
Duration: Approximately one hour
Cost: $50