Sleep issues are a common problem not only for adults but also for children and young people. The internet is full of tips that claim to guarantee a better night's sleep once crisis has been reached but surely it would be better to educate society about sleep and prevent sleep issues occurring?
As an ex teacher I've spent many hours in the classroom attempting to promote learning to youngsters who were unable to reach their full potential quite simply because they were exhausted. Sleep deprivation impacts directly on children's mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Children need to get a good night's sleep in order to learn and play, this is particularly important during the early years when so much brain development takes place.
When I became a mother I'm not ashamed to admit that I didn't fully appreciate the importance of sleep. Getting the right amount and quality of sleep is so important for a child's development yet families often have nowhere to turn to for specialist advice in this key area. This is what lead me to set up The Children's Sleep Charity and to battle hard to get the importance of sleep to be acknowledged as important for wellbeing. It saddens me deeply the number of desperate families we have getting in touch with us for support as sleep deprivation tears their world's apart.
There are so many myths that need addressing around sleep leaving parents confused. Many parents battle to keep pre-school children awake all day falsely believing that it will help them to be more tired and sleep better at night. In actual fact a sleep deprived child can find it much harder to fall asleep at night, a well scheduled nap is an excellent way to promote better night time sleeping.
Aside from the fact that our youngsters can't reach their full potential if sleep deprived, there is also a huge cost to the public purse. GP appointments, absences from school, loss of earnings and the list goes on. Positive action is required and early intervention would appear to be a good starting point.
We are delighted to have partnered with PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years), a charity dedicated to supporting those working in childcare and early years, to share information about sleep as widely as possible in those vital early years. Today, Liz Bayram, Chief Executive, PACEY has said that "Sleep (or lack of it) is a major concern for parents, particularly those with very young children, and practitioners. By working with us at The Children's Sleep Charity, Pacey feel they can ensure members are better equipped to support both parents and children, to help them all get a good night's sleep.
Early intervention and education has to be the way forward to prevent future generations from suffering from the detrimental impact of sleepless nights on their quality of life. I truly believe that if we can educate youngsters about sleep in the early years we will provide them with essential information that will help to support them to have a healthier life.
Visit www.thechildrenssleepcharity.org.uk for more information.