Children with chronic sleep problems are getting several hours’ extra rest, and enjoying a boost to their mood, as a result of an innovative programme of intensive help from the NHS.
Families struggling with children’s seriously disrupted sleep have seen major improvements by deploying consistent bedtimes, banning sugary drinks in the evening and removing toys and electronics from bedrooms.
In the hour before bed, children are also not allowed to watch TV or use their phone or computer; instead they do more calming activities such as jigsaws, playdough or board games.
Health professionals in Sheffield now use this method to help 800 families in which a child sleeps for just four or five hours a night. NHS England’s mental health chief calls the initiative “life-changing”.