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Top tips for a good nights sleep

Are you struggling with your child’s sleep habits? Are you wondering where to go for support and advice? Your Health Visiting Team can help.

For a child to reach their full potential they need a good night’s sleep. 4 in 10 children will have a sleep difficulty at some point and 80% of children with a Special Educational Need or Disability will have a sleep difficulty at some point. You are not alone.

Follow these top tips to help your child to sleep well and reach their full potential:

  1. Dim your lighting/close the curtains and switch off all screens 1 hour before bed. 4 minutes of daylight can stop the production of Melatonin (the sleepy hormone) and the blue light within screens can have the same effect.
  2. Introduce a calm wind down routine which ideally should include activities that encourage use of fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination such as puzzles, drawing, shape sorters etc.
  3. Introduce a ‘supper time’ if dinner is early and your child appears to wake hungry in the night. Good ‘Sleepy foods can include dairy products, a banana or healthy cereal such as porridge. Avoid sugary foods and caffeine.
  4. A bath before bed can help to induce sleepiness in children. The best time to do this is 30 minutes before bed. If your child has any skin conditions or dislikes bath time then this is not a relaxing part of their routine and should be completed at another time in their day or not as frequently.
  5. A story together with milk for a younger child and the last cuddle before bed ensures your child goes to sleep happy and relaxed.
  6. Ensure there is a consistent sleep time and awake time even on weekends.

Bedtime should be a positive experience for children so think about what they enjoy doing before bed and any part of their routine that causes conflict, anxiety or worry for your child.

Think about the environment your child falls asleep in and has anything changed if they wake in the night i.e. no light or music that was on when they fell asleep, parent gone but were present when they fell asleep or they fell asleep feeding or with a dummy which has gone when they wake. These become ‘sleep associations’ – things your child needs in order to fall asleep.

If your child is struggling with their sleep patterns and you are not sure why then writing a Sleep Diary can help. Please show this to your Health Visiting Team who can help to interpret the information.

As well as contacting your Health Visiting Team for further advice and support you can also access further sleep information on the following websites:

This page was last reviewed on 30-10-2023

This page will be next reviewed on 30-10-2026