Lack of sleep is one of the most commonly discussed topics in the WellChild online support group. It includes discussions about:
Parents that need support so they can get some much needed sleep
I’m struggling again and would really like to be reassessed for some sort of care package. I’m living on 4 hours sleep a night again and it’s slowly killing me (Emma, mum and member of the WellChild Family Tree).
Children that are having trouble sleeping
Hi WellChild Families do you have anybody I can speak to about sleep (or lack thereof). We are desperate. (Tara Haroon, mum and member of the WellChild Family Tree).
Following some good sleep studies and ventilator weaning tonight Noah is being turned down to cpap! Yippee he’s only been on this a few times before. (Jill Evan, mum and member of the WellChild Family Tree).
So, what exactly happens to parents when they are not getting enough sleep? We know that sleep deprivation can cause health issues as well as emotional turmoil but thanks to the Family Fund’s ‘Tired all the Time’ report, published in 2013, we can now understand the impact it has on the entire household. They recorded first hand experiences of over 2,000 parent and carers raising children with complex care needs across the UK, and found that
- Over 93% are up in the night with their children.
- 49% have health issues due to lack of sleep.
- 22% have had relationship problems as a result.
- 11% experience tiredness at work.
- 15% are concerned about siblings and the wider family’s health.
- Almost a third had not sought professional support.
So, if you or your child is struggling with lack of sleep who can you turn to for advice?
Cerebra have a team of sleep practitioners covering parts of the UK who can offer help and advice on sleep issues, some of which include settling problems, difficulty sleeping alone and early rising.
The Children’s Sleep Charity has a list of sleep practitioners available across the country who are specifically trained to work with families with a child or young person who has additional needs. They also run workshops for parents who have difficulty with their child’s sleep.
Contact a Family (CAF) have produced a booklet called Helping your Child to Sleep.
Scope has a number of sleep services and befriending services across the country.
If you or your family have had first-hand experience of lack of sleep and you have any helpful advice, please share it via our Facebook support group.