We are launching a new resource to help families who have a child with a brain condition to get a good night’s sleep. ‘Sleep – tips and techniques for families who have a child with a brain condition’ explains techniques to help with the ten most common sleep problems including refusing to go to bed; not wanting to sleep alone, waking up during the night, waking up early.
We all need good quality sleep in order to learn new information, pay attention to the world around us, and store memories effectively. Sleep influences our mood, how hungry or full we feel, as well as fundamental biological processes such as cell development. Given the wide-reaching impact of sleep, it is not surprising that poor sleep has a significant negative impact on people.
Unfortunately, short and disrupted sleep is common in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Children with autism, intellectual disabilities and a variety of rare genetic syndromes are at greatest risk of experiencing the negative consequences of poor sleep. What’s more, these children may already find learning new information, maintaining attention and regulating mood and behaviour very difficult; compromised sleep in these groups is therefore a huge concern.
Our Sleep Service helps families to get a better night’s sleep through one-to-one support, sleep workshops and sleep information resources.
The new booklet, ‘Sleep – tips and techniques’ introduces and explains several different techniques that may help a child’s sleep and gives lots of illustrated hints and tips for putting them into practice. It includes 10 topics:
- Bedtime routine
- Calming time before sleep
- A good sleep environment
- Positive sleep associations
- Using a comforting object
- Gradual withdrawal from the bedroom
- Moving bedtime backwards
- Moving bedtime forwards
- Creating a rewards system
- Reducing daytime naps
The information in the booklet is based on research at the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of Birmingham. Through the Sleep Project they are leading cutting edge research to understand the different types and causes of sleep problems in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, identifying how poor sleep impacts on children and their families and trialling new interventions to reduce sleep problems more effectively.