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Professional Resources

Sleep

School-aged children need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep per night depending on their age. Not getting enough sleep is common in children and young people. Sleep deprivation can be caused by any number of issues including; irregular routines, worries, screen use and late bedtimes.

Teenagers have the added complication of a biological shift to go to sleep and wake later – which is at odds with the school day.

Not getting enough sleep affects children and young people’s ability to think, handle stress, maintain healthy immune systems and regulate their emotions.

In school you might notice a child is sleep deprived because;

    • They are irritable, easily upset, defiant, lethargic or hyperactive
    • Have poor focus and motivation – don’t meet their potential
    • Fall asleep at inappropriate times
    • Eat and drink too much.

Children and young people who are not getting enough sleep often have high levels of lateness and/or low school attendance. Poor sleep can be a serious obstacle to children and young people’s education and attainment.

Dive Deeper

In School

Alongside a healthy diet and regular activity, good sleep hygiene can make a big difference to the outcomes for children and young people. Whilst sleep ‘happens’ at home; the fallout from sleep deprivation is seen in school.

Helping children and their families understand the value of sleep is important. Offering some support to establish healthy habits can mean children come to school better able to learn and engage positively in school life.

During The Day

  • Be active
  • Eat well and at regular intervals.

Advice to Share For at Night

Regular routines and a positive sleep space can really help children and young people settle at bedtimes. 

  • Have the room not too hot or cold.
  • Ensure the room is dark. Low level night lights are ok.
  • Have somewhere to sleep.

Getting the build up right;

  • Same bedtime and get up time each day.
  • ‘Wind down’ activities – bath time, reading, quiet play.
  • Avoid stimulating activities like 'exciting’ computer games.
  • Stop screen use at least an hour before bed. The blue light from screen time gets in the way of melatonin –the ‘sleep hormone’.

If children and young people struggle to get to sleep then using relaxation techniques can help.

If insomnia or early waking is an ongoing problem it can be indicative of low mood and may need onward referral for assessment, call Just One Number for advice.

Resources

Nuffield Health 

School Wellbeing Activity Programme (SWAP) - Free 6 week programme of evidence based lessons delivered in six one hour sessions.  The programme is aimed at children aged 9-12 years old but can be adapted for other school age children.  The four key themes are:

  • How I Move - focusing on physical activity.
  • How I Eat - focusing on sugar content of food and drinks, hydration, fruit and vegetables.
  • How I Sleep - focusing on sleep, sleep hygiene and screen time.
  • How I Feel - focusing on emotional wellbeing and resilience.

E-Learning

'All Our Health' offer free, bite-sized e-learning sessions - to improve the knowledge, confidence and skills of health and care professionals in preventing illness, protecting health and promoting wellbeing. The sessions cover some of the biggest issues in public health including;

  • Childhood obesity 
  • Pollution
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

They contain signposting to trusted sources of helpful evidence, guidance and support to help professionals embed prevention in their everyday practice.

How Can Norfolk & Waveney Children & Young People's Health Services Help?

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