Sleep concerns

Tips to help your child sleep better

Sleep concerns with young children

Good quality sleep is important for everyone but especially for children as it directly impacts on their mental and physical development.

During the deep states of sleep, blood supply to your child’s muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones are released for growth.

Good sleep helps to improve attention, behaviour, learning and memory.

Why is my child not sleeping?

There are many reasons why young children may have difficulty sleeping including:

  • Sleep association (something or someone your child needs to fall asleep e.g. needing to be fed to sleep or held/rocked)
  • Separation anxiety
  • Being overtired
  • Bedtime fears (scared of the dark)
  • Nightmares
  • Night terrors

For older children, bad sleep habits, too much caffeine, too much screen time, worries, stress and mental health problems can all contribute towards poor sleep.

Tips to helping your child sleep better

Bedtime can become a battle zone when little ones won’t settle in and fall asleep. But there are things you can do to help.

  • Try to understand and address the underlying problem.
  • Having a bedtime routine – a warm bath, dim lights and a story can all be relaxing and help to signal sleeping times.
  • Have a consistent bedtime and wake time, adapting this to your child’s sleep needs as they get older.
  • A comforter may help a young child settle at bedtime and if they wake during the night.
  • Avoid screen time in the hour before bed.
  • Make sure your child has a cool, quiet, dark, and comfortable place to sleep.

Need support?

If you have any sleep concerns about your child support is available. You can talk to your health visitor, GP, or contact us on the Early Years team.

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