NHLBI Announces Grand Prize Winners of National HOW I GET A HEAP OF SLEEP ContestGarfield the Cat and DC's Shadd Elementary School Students
Host Winners at School Assembly Today
Washington, D.C. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
(NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health today announced the three Grand
Prize Winners of its "How I Get a Heap of Sleep" contest. The announcement
was made at a special school assembly at Shadd Elementary School in Washington,
NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant and Dr. Carl E. Hunt, Director of the
National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the NHLBI joined by Garfield
the Cat awarded prizes to Danielle Wodka, age 7, of Lemont, IL; and Amanda
Davol of Somerset, MA and Qian Wang of Ft. Thomas, KY, both age 8. Ninety
Shadd Elementary School children also joined in welcoming the youngsters to
the Nation's Capital and their school where six Shadd students were also awarded
Star Sleeper status for winning a local version of the contest.
According to Dr. Lenfant, "Many children are not getting enough sleep each night, and
this can interfere with their performance in school and many other activities.
The NHLBI is trying to teach children at an early age to establish a good
night's sleep as a lifelong habit so that when they are older and at greater
risk of serious accidents like drowsy driving crashes, they will know better
than to get into a car when they are sleep-deprived." Lenfant added, "The
contest helps make this a fun and relevant learning experience."
The two-month contest, which ran from September to November 2002, was part
of the Sleep Well. Do Well. Star Sleeper Campaign, a national educational
initiative designed to reach young children-and their parents, teachers, and
health care providers with the message that adequate nighttime sleep-at least
nine hours each night on a regular basis is important to their health, performance,
and safety. The campaign is co-sponsored by Paws, Incorporated, the creative
studio behind Garfield, the campaign's "spokescat."
The contest challenged children to describe what they do before bed each night to help them get a
good night's sleep and why. It was offered to children nationwide through
online and classroom promotions, including a lesson plan sent to 44,000 second
and third grade classrooms.
Among the things the Grand Prize winners said they did each night to help them get a good night's sleep was saying "a prayer
for my parents, baby sister, and our President Bush" from Wodka; not watching
TV from Davol; and finishing his homework early "because then I can get a
relaxing evening" from Wang. Many of the other entries described similar actions,
as well as taking a "calm-down period," including a warm bath and bedtime
story; sleeping with a cuddly Garfield toy or teddy bear; wearing "comfy"
pajamas; fluffing their pillows; and taking a shower and brushing their teeth
so they will be clean and "comfy" in bed.
According to the NHLBI, sleep problems are estimated to affect about 70 million Americans of every age, race, and
socioeconomic level. There is a growing body of scientific evidence showing
that inadequate sleep results in tiredness, difficulties with focused attention,
irritability, easy frustration, and difficulty modulating impulses and emotions.
This is as true for children as it is for adults. Many children with chronic
sleep deprivation may not seem sleepy and may even appear to be overactive.
Chronic sleep loss in children may be overlooked or erroneously attributed
to hyperactivity or behavior disorders.
The Campaign is being implemented by the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) at the NHLBI. In
his remarks, Dr. Hunt explained to the children that getting enough sleep
each night is important to their doing their best at whatever they do. "Whether
it's your school work, or sports, or even having good relationships with your
family and friends, getting enough sleep each night helps you do your best.
It even helps boost your brain power."
The awards for the Grand Prize winners included a trip to Washington D.C. for them and their families, along with
a prize package containing a Garfield Globe, donated by Cram Globes; Garfield
books from Ballantine Books; a one-year subscription to Garfield Island, a
kid-safe browser and online community from Children's Technology Group; a
Merriam Webster Garfield Dictionary; school products from Mead; lunch bags,
almanacs, and pencils from Time for Kids; and Garfield toothbrushes and small
plush dolls from Butler.
Twenty First Prize Winners, along with the six Shadd Elementary School winners, received a Garfield Sleep Kit containing a Star
Sleeper Fun Pad with games and puzzles with sleep messages; a 16-inch tall
plush Garfield doll in his Star Sleeper pajamas; and many other Garfield items.
Additional information on sleep for parents, teachers, and pediatricians
as well as fun, interactive games with sleep messages for children
are available on the Star Sleeper Web site at http://starsleep.nhlbi.nih.gov.
Visitors to the site can also check out Star Sleeper gear, including the Fun
Pad and Garfield plush doll.
About the Sleep Well. Do Well. Star Sleeper Campaign
In February 2001, the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute launched the Sleep Well.
Do Well. Star Sleeper Campaign to educate America's children and their parents,
educators and health care providers-that children ages 7 to 11 need at least
nine hours of sleep each night on a regular basis to do their best at whatever
they do. The Campaign is co-sponsored by Paws, Inc., the corporate entity
behind Garfield the Cat. Garfield is the Campaign's official "spokescat."
Other founding partners include the National Association of Elementary School
Principals and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
NHLBI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal Government's primary agency for biomedical
and behavioral research. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services. NHLBI press releases and other materials, including information
about high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and heart disease are available
online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.