Douglas researcher Reut Gruber says more attention needs to be dedicated to the health issues involved


With an estimated 60 to 70% of Canadian students arriving at school extremely fatigued, the problem of sleep insufficiency in youth needs to be addressed. March 18th is World Sleep Day. Reut Gruber, clinical psychologist and researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, in her role as spokesperson, is also hosting the International Conference on Sleep and Obesity in Kids as well as leading an innovative sleep awareness program.

Reut Gruber notes that “sleep deprivation is linked to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular problems. In addition, poor sleep has been shown to impair academic performance, learning, memory, and functions essential for academic success. Moreover, inadequate sleep interferes with mood and affects mood regulation.”

Healthy nights and days – March 17, 2011

International Conference on Sleep and Obesity in Kids

Recent research has found evidence of a link between sleep duration and overweight and obesity in children and youth. Shorter sleep duration results in hormonal changes comparable to those associated with high risk such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Despite the scientific knowledge about the critical importance of sleep in weight regulation, no full-scale program has been developed in Canada to help sleep-deprived children and adults. This conference is co-chaired by Reut Gruber and Laurette Dubé, Scientific Director of the McGill World Platform for Health and Economic Convergence.

Healthy Nights and Days, is part of the international conference organized by the McGill World Platform for Health and Economic Convergence (MWP) in partnership with the UK Science and Innovation Network, the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and the Montreal Neurological Institute. This event, and others presented during this two-day conference, will bring together scientists and policy- and decision-makers from the UK, USA and Canada.

Where: McGill University, Thomson House, 3650 McTavish Street, Room 406
When: Thursday, March 17, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Sleep for success – Pilot project on sleep awareness for the youth

Kids at the Harold Napper Elementary School in Brossard are lucky! They will be the first in the province to benefit from the SLEEP FOR SUCCESS awareness program, put together by Reut Gruber in partnership with Gail Sommerville and the Riverside School Board. It aims to promote a balanced lifestyle that integrates sleep education into the existing health curriculum. In stressing the interplay between sleep, diet, and physical activity, the program promotes behaviours that will lead to a lifelong commitment to healthy living. “The implementation of such a program can have incredible positive effects for a school board and its surrounding community. We are hoping this program will be implemented into school curriculum across the province and the rest of Canada,” says Dr Gruber.


Florence Meney
Media Relation
Communications and public affairs
Phone: 514-761-6131, ext. 2769
Cell.: 514-835-3236