Sleep hygiene is very important for everyone, from childhood right through to adulthood. A good sleep hygiene routine promotes healthy sleep and daytime alertness. Good sleep hygiene practices can prevent the development of sleep problems and disorders.

All children are probably going to have brief times of poor rest after illness, during holidays and celebrations like Christmas or during periods of particular stress such as exams or if somebody close to them is ill. After events such as these, a normal sleep pattern should be established again inside a couple of days.

Most parents have had a child who has slept poorly at one time or another. Not only does this mean the child suffers, at school and in their behaviour, in addition the entire family misses out on much-needed rest.

I use specialised behavioural techniques, with occasional careful use of medication, to help your child begin and maintain a healthy, natural sleep pattern. Your child will improve physically, emotionally and educationally, and the whole family will benefit.

Sleep difficulties can sometimes be the cause of extremely disruptive behavioural problems. I can treat these, and also consider other possible underlying conditions such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or autistic spectrum disorder.

Sleep and behaviour problems

Sleep and behaviour problems are complicated and families find it very hard to tackle. It’s important to break the habits in its track. Some children find it much more difficult to sleep than others.

Sleep and behavioural problems can be associated with developmental or behavioural disorders, for example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder or epilepsy.

Furthermore undiagnosed medical problems such as silent gastro-oesophageal reflux, milk protein intolerance.

Behavioural approaches to childhood sleep problems are by far the best at promoting good sleep habits. Much of it is around what we call ‘sleep hygiene’ which is setting the mood for sleep. So, here are some golden tips that are recognised internationally as must-haves for establishing a reliable sleep pattern in children.

The most important sleep hygiene measure is to maintain a regular wake and sleep pattern seven days a week. It is also important to spend the right amount of time in bed, not too little and too much. It’s a healing process. Building the connection, setting an expectation, proposing a limit and listening to how the child feels and then tackle with small steps.