Reut Gruber PhD
Director, Attention, Behaviour and Sleep Laboratory, Douglas Research Centre
Psychologist, Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Attention, behaviour and sleep
Attention, Behaviour, and Sleep laboratory
A considerable proportion of children and adolescents do not experience adequate sleep. Clinical studies show that poor sleep is implicated in the development and persistence of very prevalent childhood disorders affecting youth health. Dr. Gruber is leading an internationally recognized research program that seeks to understand the mechanisms underlying the interplay between sleep, cognition and mental health, and to build on this understanding to develop innovative evidence-based strategies that use sleep improvement to enhance academic performance and mental health.
Her research focuses on three themes as they relate to pediatric sleep: ADHD, academic performance, and mental health. Additionally, Dr. Gruber translates her research findings into tools for healthcare providers and educators, to promote healthy sleep in children and adolescents by creating evidence-based resources to optimize the care of children with sleep disorders.
1. Sleep and ADHD
The objective of this part of Dr. Gruber’ research program is to characterize the sleep abnormalities of ADHD to explore potential behavioural, circadian, and genetic contributions of such abnormalities and to measure the impact of poor-quality sleep on the daytime functioning of children with ADHD. Using this knowledge, she seeks to develop evidence-based approaches to prevent or treat the daytime problems caused or exacerbated by sleep deprivation in children with ADHD. In terms of knowledge translation, Dr. Gruber has contributed to creating recommendations on clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and evaluation of sleep problems in children with ADHD.
2. Sleep and Academic Performance
The objective of this part of Dr. Gruber’ research program is to is to discover mechanisms underlying the association between sleep and academic performance. Dr. Gruber is investigating the role of sleep in IQ, academic performance and the daily functioning in school of children and adolescents.
3. Sleep and Mental Health
Pediatric sleep disorders are reported in 95% of youth with mental and neurological conditions. They are associated with mood disturbances, behavioural problems, and impaired academic performance. They predict an earlier onset of alcohol, cigarette, and illicit drug use and the onset, severity and likelihood of relapse of psychiatric disorders. Moreover, sleep problems in children negatively impacts their parents’ sleep and thus cause a cascade of burdensome problems including parenting stress which can be associated with harsh parenting. In addition, co-morbid sleep disorders significantly reduce the effectiveness of psychological and pharmacological interventions. Effective treatment of pediatric sleep
disorders contributes to better outcomes following these interventions but only a small number of Canadian youth who need sleep interventions currently receive them. The objectives of this part of the research program are 1) to better understand the mechanisms underlying the interplay between sleep and youth mental health; and 2) to develop further and facilitate the integration of evidence-based interventions for pediatric sleep disorders into educational and mental health services, and to provide available behavioural evidence-based interventions for pediatric sleep disorders.
Programs, Tools, and Information For The Public
Dr. Gruber has developed a comprehensive framework for sleep promotion and prevention programs for psychologists, pediatricians, and schools professionals.
Dr. Gruber has been collaborating with school boards in Quebec since September 2007. In partnership they have created, implemented, evaluated, and disseminated school-based interventions aiming at promoting sleep health and offering evidence-based tools to treat sleep disorders.
- Sleep Squad: The Movie” (both a film and a publication; http://www.douglas.qc.ca/page/abs-sleep-squad). The film was made by a group of students and their teacher, all of whom participated in our Sleep For Success program (see P.4). We have leveraged this material as a tool to facilitate discussion with children regarding the importance of sleep to daytime function. It is available to the public or any interested individual. For example, I used this material in a tool kit I prepared for teachers across the world for World Sleep Day 2017 (see World Sleep Society; http://worldsleepday.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Reut-Gruber-World-Sleep-Day-2017.pdf).
- Online resources to help educate the public (parents, school personnel) teachers) regarding the importance of sleep to children’s daytime functioning. Canadian Sleep Society (https://css-scs.ca/resources/brochures/children).
Resources to help health care providers to provide evidence-based care to pediatric sleep disorders
Dr Gruber led the creation of the Canadian consensus statement in pediatric sleep which provides healthcare professionals with evidence-based tools to address pediatric sleep disorders. The statement has been endorsed by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Canadian Sleep Society
Position Statement on Pediatric Sleep. Available here: https://www.cacap-acpea.org/wp-content/uploads/cacap-sept-2014-pediatric-sleep-gruber-PS-online.pdf
1. Gruber R.** (2017). School-Based Sleep Education Programs: A Knowledge-To-Action Perspective Regarding Barriers, Proposed Solutions, and Future Directions. Sleep Medicine Reviews,36,13-28.
2. Gruber R**. (2013). Making room for sleep: the relevance of sleep to psychology and the rationale for development of preventative sleep education programs for children and adolescents in the community. Canadian Psychology, 54(1), 62-71.
3. Gruber, R**., Somerville G., Finn C (In Press). School-Based Sleep Health Education in Canada. Sleep Medicine.
4. Gruber, R**., Weiss, S., Frappier, J.-Y., Rourke, L., Brouillette, R., Carrey, N., Wise, M. S. (2014). Position statement on pediatric sleep for psychiatrists. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 23(3), 174-195.
5. Gruber R.**, Somerville G., Bergmame L.+ Fontil, L.+ Soukaina P.* (2016). School-Based Sleep Education Program Improves Sleep and Academic Performance of School-Age Children. Sleep Medicine, 21, 93-100.
6. Gruber, R**., Wise, M., Frenette, S., Knauper, B., +Boom, A., +Fontil, L., Carrier, J. (2013). The Association Between Sleep Spindles and IQ in Healthy School-Age Children. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 89(2), 229-240.
7. Gruber, R**., *Cassoff, J., Frenette, S., *Wiebe, S., & Carrier, J. (2012). The impact of sleep extension and restriction on children’s emotional lability and impulsivity. Pediatrics, 130, e1155-e1161.
8. Gruber, R**., *Wiebe, S., +Montecalvo, L., +Brunetti, B., Amsel, R. & +Carrier, J. (2011). The impact of sleep restriction on neurobehavioural functioning of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Sleep, 34, 315-323.
Reut Gruber, PhD, is a clinical child psychologist and pediatric sleep expert. Her research at the Attention, Behaviour and Sleep Laboratory is focused on investigating the association between sleep and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), academic performance, and mental health. Dr. Gruber seeks to use the knowledge gained from her research to create evidence-based tools for pediatricians, psychologists, and schools to promote children's sleep health. She has also created the first school-based programs aimed at improving children's physical and mental health and academic performance by extending their sleep.
Dr. Gruber is actively involved in the supervision of undergraduate and graduate students at McGill University interested in conducting research in the field of pediatric sleep.
Dr. Gruber’s research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation, and Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ). She is also the recipient of several FRSQ and CIHR career awards.
2018 Honorable Mention winner, World Sleep Society ay
2018 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Annual Meeting Senior Researcher Award
2016 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Annual Meeting Senior Researcher Award
2014-2017 Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) Career Award (Senior)
2012 Canadian Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public or Community Service, Canada
2012-2014 Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) Career Award (Junior 2)
2007-2012 Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Award, Career Award
Using Parental Report to Identify Children at Risk for Poor Sleep and Daytime Problems. Behav Sleep Med. 2019:1-17.
Introduction to the special issue: pediatric sleep medicine in Canada. Sleep Med. 2019;56:1-3.
Sleep disorders in patients with ADHD: impact and management challenges. Nat Sci Sleep. 2018;10:453-480.
Association between the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire and Wrist Actigraphy. Sleep Disord. 2018;2018:5646848.
An actigraphic study of the sleep patterns of younger and older school-age children. Sleep Med. 2018;47:117-125.
Training, knowledge, attitudes and practices of Canadian health care providers regarding sleep and sleep disorders in children. Paediatr Child Health. 2017;22(6):322-327.
Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (0-4 years): An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep. BMC Public Health. 2017;17(Suppl 5):874.
Systematic review of the relationships between sleep duration and health indicators in the early years (0-4 years). BMC Public Health. 2017;17(Suppl 5):855.
The Association between Sleep and Theory of Mind in School Aged Children with ADHD. Med Sci (Basel). 2017;5(3).
The short and long of adolescent sleep: the unique impact of day length. Sleep Med. 2017;38:31-36.
Determinants of sleep behavior in adolescents: A pilot study. Sleep Health. 2017;3(3):157-162.
Parental social capital and children's sleep disturbances. Sleep Health. 2016;2(4):330-334.
Sleep Spindle Characteristics in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Their Relation to Cognition. Neural Plast. 2016;2016:4724792.
School-based sleep education program improves sleep and academic performance of school-age children. Sleep Med. 2016;21:93-100.
Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016;41(6 Suppl 3):S311-27.
Systematic review of the relationships between sleep duration and health indicators in school-aged children and youth. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016;41(6 Suppl 3):S266-82.
Establishment and consolidation of the sleep-wake cycle as a function of attachment pattern. Attach Hum Dev. 2015;17(1):23-42.
Sleep efficiency (but not sleep duration) of healthy school-age children is associated with grades in math and languages. Sleep Med. 2014;15(12):1517-25.
Position statement on pediatric sleep for psychiatrists. J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2014;23(3):174-95.
The interplay between sleep and emotion regulation: conceptual framework empirical evidence and future directions. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2014;16(11):500.
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