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  • Writer's pictureCAFF Team


Updated: Jun 30

Episode 73 of the Airway First podcast is now out! You can catch this and all other episodes on Apple, SoundCloud, Podbean, RSS, Spotify, iHeart Radio, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. And don't forget to check us out on YouTube!

Airway First podcast, Maggie Lavender, MSN, RN, FNP-C

My guest today is Maggie Lavender - a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in Texas with specialization in Sleep Disorders Medicine and Neurology.

She attended Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She began her career working in a pediatric intensive care and burn unit. She later moved to Houston, Texas and continued her career in a neuroscience intensive care unit at a level one trauma center. She then completed her Master of Science in Nursing and Post-Master’s Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certificate simultaneously at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Her Nurse Practitioner career began in Houston, Texas at Comprehensive Sleep Medicine Associates (CSMA) alongside Dr. Jerald Simmons, beginning in 2012. Maggie has evolved to be a recognized Nurse Practitioner specialist on a national level, and currently functions as a consultant and lecturer on the management of narcolepsy patients.

She is currently practicing again at CSMA and is specializing in comprehensive sleep disorders, neurology, and epilepsy.

Maggie’s passion for nursing and caring for people began in early childhood. She has always been driven to provide exceptional care to every one of her patients, not only treating symptoms, but also by educating and providing preventative medical care to promote healthy lifestyles. Maggie is forever grateful for the blessing and opportunity to care for and help individuals regain their happiness in life.

Maggie and her husband reside in Montgomery, Texas with their daughter and son. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending quality time with her family.

You can find out more about Maggie a

Show Notes:

Sleep plays a pivotal role in how children grow. - Maggie Lavender, MSN, RN, FNP-C


Iron deficiency has been associated with restless sleep disorder (RSD) and other sleep-related movement disorders in children, including restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder. Iron plays a vital role in the brain's dopamine production, which is essential for movement and could enhance the quality of sleep.

According to some specialists, anemia could potentially lead to sleep issues due to its impact on neurotransmitters crucial for sleep, such as serotonin and dopamine. Studies indicate that the production of these neurotransmitters relies on iron, and individuals with iron-deficiency anemia may experience reduced levels of them due to their insufficient iron levels.


In today's technology-driven world, which now encompasses their school lives as well as their relaxation time, it's easy for kids to become overly stimulated, lose track of time while online, and find it hard for them to fall asleep at night.

However, there are a number of steps parents can take to help foster the best possible sleep habits and environment for their children (listen to today's episode for the full list and the power impact these steps can have on your child's overall sleep and healthspan):

  1. Lead by Example --- Create a digital liberation in your home and show your children how to unplug and decompress at night. Children look to parents for social and behavioral queues. If they see you reading, spending time and engaging with the family, and doing activities away from technology, they will be more willing to engage in similar behaviors.

  2. Technology Free Zones Before Bedtime --- Remove and store all digital devices at least two hours before bed. This will allow your child the proper time needed for their brain to begin to switch gears and prepare for a restful night of sleep.

  3. Establish Boundaries --- Set boundaries around your child's screen time. Work to set expectations of how much "free time" they will have available after school or on the weekends (time outside of homework time) to be online. When expectations are established ahead of time, fewer arguments will arise when it's time to put away devices.

  4. Be Consistent --- Parenting isn't always easy and it's easy to let things slip from time-to-time. When it comes to boundaries and expectations around technology before be, being consistent with screen time will make it easier for everyone involved and will ensure your child consistently has the opportunity for optimal, restful sleep.

  5. Make it a Team Effort --- A great way to get older kids onboard with technology limits before bed is to involve them in the decision making process. Talk with them about the importance of getting a restful night's sleep and teach them the impacts that technology can have on their sleep. Allow them to share their concerns and work together to establish rules, boundaries, and expectations for creating an optimal environment for sleep that still allows them ample time to enjoy a bit of fun online outside homework.

  6. Adjust Lighting --- As you enter the two hour countdown to bed, adjust the lighting your child is exposed to in your home. Turn off overhead lighting or harsh lamps and change out the traditional bulbs in nightlights with red lights instead. This will send signals to your child's brain that a period of rest is coming.

  7. Embrace the Silence --- Our world is full of constant noise, sound, music, and other auditory stimulation. It is vital for all of us to have times of quiet. Build in time to your child's routine to allow them the opportunity to embrace the silence and decompress before bedtime.


The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends the following amount of sleep for children by age group:

  • Infants (0–3 months): 14–17 hours, including naps

  • Babies (4–12 months): 12–16 hours, including naps

  • Toddlers (1–2 years): 11–14 hours, including naps

  • Preschoolers (3–5 years): 10–13 hours, including a nap

  • School-aged kids (6–12 years): 9–12 hours

  • Teenagers (13–18 years): 8–10 hours

The AASM also notes that sleep should be appropriately timed and without disturbances. For example, children around 12 years and older might need to go to bed and wake up later due to puberty, but they still need enough good-quality sleep. 

Adequate sleep in children is associated with improved academic performance, behavior, memory, mental health, and a stronger immune system. Consistent lack of sleep can result in health issues and challenging behaviors like irritability, poor concentration, high blood pressure, weight gain, headaches, and feelings of sadness. Indications that a child may be sleep-deprived include:

  • daytime drowsiness

  • hyperactivity

  • difficulty focusing


Education is the first step for any parent who might be concerned about their child's mental and physical health.

The Children's Airway First Foundation Resource library has information that can aid in identifying symptoms and providing guidance on the first steps towards helping your child with an airway disorder.

CAFF Resource Library

As with any medical condition, consult your child's pediatrician should you see any of these symptoms in your child or if you suspect your child is suffering from an airway disorder.

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