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Research drives intervention project to promote sleep quality in the district of Bragança

01 July 2022
Unidade Local de Saúde do Nordeste

The Unidade Local de Saúde (ULS) do Nordeste is developing an intervention project to promote sleep quality in the community, covering different age groups.

In this context, the “Alert Sleep” project, a partnership between ULS do Nordeste and the Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, has as its main objective the promotion of sleep quality in childhood and adolescence, through the awareness of children, young people and their families to the Adoption of healthy sleep routines and patterns.

This intervention project will be developed by the School Health teams in all schools in the district of Bragança, with a view to empowering the youngest to make healthy choices with a positive impact on sleep quality.

This intervention plan is the result of scientific evidence validated by the results of research on the quality of sleep of secondary school students in the municipality of Bragança, developed by the nurse at the ULS do Nordeste, Ana Sofia Coelho, within the scope of her PhD carried out at the University of León, which allowed us to conclude that the adolescents in the study “sleep little and with poor quality”.

This scientific work, which covered 345 students from the three Groupings of Schools in Bragança, with data collection carried out in May 2017, aimed to characterize sleep patterns, their determinants and their implication in school performance, lifestyle and nutritional status. . Among the main conclusions, we highlight the fact that about 40% of young people sleep an insufficient number of hours given the recommended for their age group, with irregularities in sleep time between the week and the weekend.

The insufficiency in the number of hours of sleep translates, according to the results of the study, into daytime sleepiness with an impact on the adolescents' daily activities and school performance.

Thus, it appears that the sleep pattern of adolescents in the municipality of Bragança is insufficient and excessively irregular, with late bedtime, increased latency times and periods of insufficient sleep on weekdays and longer periods of sleep at the end of the day. -week. In addition to sleep deprivation, which prevents them from fully facing the demands of their daily lives, these young people organize their sleep without taking into account circadian rhythms, which are fundamental in sleep architecture.


New technologies impacting sleep quality

Among the reasons given by the students in the study for insufficient sleep, the use of new technologies at night, organization of study time, stress related to tests and school activities stand out. The emotional dimension, with reference to sadness, anxiety and constant thinking about problems, also contributed to the sleep deprivation of these adolescents.

This study also made it possible to establish associations between sleep and dietary patterns, and a healthy and balanced diet has a positive impact on sleep quality, with the practice of physical activity, being essential in the regulation of sleep as long as it is not performed close to the hours sleep, and with the consumption of psychoactive substances, which are harmful to sleep quality.

Based on this reality and after meetings with Health and Education professionals, the “Sleep Alert” project was started with the awareness and training of school health teams, through training, for the implementation and development of interventions in the field of quality. of sleep, with a view to carrying out concrete actions on this topic in schools in the district of Bragança, starting at the beginning of the next school year.


Monitoring and training in different age groups


With the implementation of this project, it is intended to stimulate the adoption of healthy sleep routines and patterns adjusted to each age group, instilling the notion of quality sleep as a lifestyle and thus contributing to the achievement of gains in health, quality of life and well-being.

The intervention carried out by the ULS do Nordeste in this area also includes training actions for Primary Health Care professionals, with a view to raising awareness of the importance of promoting sleep hygiene routines from childhood, with follow-up in adulthood, and promoting early intervention in terms of sleep disorders.

Given the impact of sleep quality on Health, this intervention plan is part of the Primary Health Care mission in terms of health promotion and education, giving priority to the training and qualification of health technicians, teachers and educators, in charge of education, families, children and young people, with a view to increasing sleep literacy and healthy lifestyles associated with diet and physical exercise.

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