Every night in America, too many children end their day without the comfort, tools, and guidance they need to get a good night’s sleep. Children who do not get adequate, quality sleep face compromised health, school performance, and emotional well-being. Fortunately, for children and all who care about their healthy futures, bedtime just got better. Pajama Program and Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc., two leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that provide children with the resources and support they need to sleep well, today announced that Sweet Dreamzzz has joined Pajama Program. By assuming Sweet Dreamzzz’s staff and incorporating its evidence-based sleep health education programming, Pajama Program will expand services, furthering its mission to promote and support a comforting bedtime routine and healthy sleep for all children.
With the addition of Sweet Dreamzzz programming, Pajama Program is even better positioned to achieve its mission. Pajama Program’s Executive Director Jamie Dyce explains, “We understand that a holistic approach to bedtime and sleep can deepen our long-term impact. By weaving Sweet Dreamzzz’s pioneering sleep health education model into our existing fabric and scaling it for growth, Pajama Program can amplify national reach, delivering more Good Nights for Good Days.”
Pajama Program was founded in 2001 in New York City. The organization has cultivated a national network of dedicated volunteers, donors, and community-based partners across the United States, including Puerto Rico. Through this impressive network, and with the support of lead partners, Carter’s and Scholastic Book Clubs, Pajama Program has distributed over 7 million new pajamas and storybooks to children facing adversity, and has fostered caring connections for children through local programming in New York City and Atlanta. Additional virtual programming, now including sleep health education, is being rolled out across the country in response to COVID-19.
Sweet Dreamzzz was founded in metro-Detroit, and for over 20 years, provided children with the sleep awareness, bedtime essentials, and adult support necessary for a good night’s sleep. Sweet Dreamzzz’s hands-on sleep education programs were designed to address the needs of children and families enrolled in low-income preschools and elementary schools. These programs empower students, parents, and teachers to collaborate around the use of a simple bedtime routine so children can get the sleep they need for good health and school success. More than 70,000 children and their families have participated in Sweet Dreamzzz’s innovative and evidence-based programs.
Research findings show that Head Start preschoolers who participated in the early childhood program gained 30 additional minutes of weeknight sleep – an increase believed sufficient by sleep experts to improve daytime alertness, memory, and behavior. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation recognized Sweet Dreamzzz with its inaugural Sleep Champion Award, which celebrates successful, community-based programs that help to promote healthier lives through better sleep.
“We are incredibly proud of the impact Sweet Dreamzzz has had with children and families throughout Michigan and in other states, and we’re thrilled to expand our work to a national level as we become part of Pajama Program,” said Michael Smith, former president of the Sweet Dreamzzz Board of Governors and new member of Pajama Program’s Board of Directors. “Pajama Program is a well-respected organization with remarkable reach, and we look forward to growing our sleep health education efforts as a unified team.”
Sleep is as important for children’s growth and development as proper nutrition and exercise. Not only does sleep help strengthen the immune system and protect against illness, but a comforting bedtime routine and the healthy sleep that follows can reduce anxiety, build resilience, and prepare children to focus and learn in school. Pajama Program will continue to support children and their caregivers with pajamas, books, and now, sleep health education. The education programs provide the information and tools needed to understand the importance of sleep and overcome the core challenges of implementing a comforting bedtime routine. The breadth of programming now offered allows for a comprehensive response to the needs of children and their families, as well as the schools, shelters, and other community-based organizations that support them.
“With Sweet Dreamzzz joining Pajama Program, we are opening avenues to reach so many more families who need to understand that good sleep is fundamental to health, well-being, and academic success,” said Dr. Ronald Chervin, the Director of Michigan Medicine’s Sleep Disorders Centers. Dr. Chervin is a former member of the Sweet Dreamzzz Board of Governors, and recently joined Pajama Program’s Good Night Advisory Council, a team of sleep experts who inform and support Pajama Program’s work. “In a year that has been challenging in so many respects, this news signals a bright future and I am proud to see it ignite.”
Source: Pajama Program