No one likes sleepless nights but for families of children with a brain – related condition, sleepless nights can often become the norm. Our Sleep Practitioners are there to advise families on sleep issues and ultimately improve everyone’s quality of sleep. Sleep Practitioner Claire Varey covers the north of the country and she told us how she was recently able to help a family:
“Mum Sara came along to one of my sleep clinics to discuss the issues she had with her son Lewis’ sleep for a long time. Lewis is 9 years old and has autism. He struggled with changes to his routine, taking hours to settle at night and needing mum to be present until he fell asleep. Lewis would then wake through the night and come into mum’s bed. Sara wanted to be able to reduce the time taken to settle Lewis at night, but found most things she tried in the past did not work.
By giving Sara information on how we sleep, what influences and inhibits sleep, she was able to better appreciate what would effect his ability to fall and stay asleep. Some of the suggestions I made for bed time routine included turning off the TV an hour before bed, placing blackout sheeting on the windows (Sara had tried blinds and curtains, but he had always pulled them down in the past), introducing red light in bedroom and trying some Delta wave music to listen to when in bed.
Sara felt sceptical that these would work, but was willing to give the new routine a go.
I contacted Sara the following week to see if she had managed to get started and she was so pleased to tell me that she had tried all of the above and Lewis had reacted positively to the changes. He was already settling easier and quicker, and Sara had even been able to leave the room before he fell asleep on one night. He seemed tired at the point he was in bed and asked for his ‘relax music’. He appeared to have a better quality of sleep, not waking as early and Sara was happy for him to come into bed with her at that point. Lewis was waking in a better mood very quickly”.
Sara told us: “The help Claire has given me has worked by getting Lewis to go to sleep in his own room again. Even though he is not staying there all night, he is spending longer in his room than before and this is getting better. Most nights he will now sleep about 3 or 4 hours in his own bed. This is great because before he wasn’t staying in his room more and half an hour.
Claire was brilliant to talk to as she didn’t make me feel like a failure or made me feel judged. She had a lot of very good ideas that I had tried before but this did not stop her coming up with more. I did it in steps – the delta music first which did help a bit, then came the red light bulb. Both together works really well. I then got some black out film for his window with his black out blind he already had. That really helped and because that has made him calmer I have been able to put curtains up which has also made a big difference.
Claire gave me the confidence to try these things with him and also the music idea has helped us with some of his autism melt downs so a big thank you.”
You can find out more information about Cerebra’s Sleep Service on our website.