Award-winning voluntary organisation, The Sleep Charity, has been awarded a 12-month contract to provide a children’s and young people’s sleep support service in Scarborough, parts of Ryedale and Whitby.
The pilot project will provide appropriate sleep advice and support for parents/carers of disabled and non-disabled children aged 12 months to 18years of age. Those with a Special Education Need or Disability and/or Education Health Care Plan will have access to the plan up to their 25th birthday.
Said Vicki Dawson, CEO of The Sleep Charity: “Quality sleep is essential for children’s growth and development. Yet up to 40% of children and young people will experience a sleep problem at some point in their childhood. These problems are typically persistent and do not resolve themselves without intervention.
“A decent night’s sleep will help children to do better at school, allow them to react more quickly to situations, have a more developed memory and solve problems. Plus, it makes them less susceptible to colds and other minor ailments, less irritable and better behaved. Sleep deprivation causes increased hyperactivity and other behavioural problems, as well as damaging physical and mental development. Poor sleep habits from an early age can lead to long term sleep problems.”
For families in the Scarborough borough and parts of Ryedale, the sleep service includes providing online one to one sleep clinics and developing sleep plans with parents/carers to help address the identified sleep issue and establish a regular night-time sleep pattern. All families will have follow-up support and where needed, will be referred to primary and secondary care for any medical investigations.
Added Vicki: “Our behavioural and cognitive approach to sleep, rather than the use of medication, has been shown to increase the sleep of a child by 2.4 hours per night. We will be training practitioners in the area with the necessary skills to provide effective advice and guidance on sleep as part of their day to day role and to help parents who often report high levels of stress and irritability.”
Dr Peter Billingsley, Scarborough GP and NHS North Yorkshire CCG Clinical Lead for vulnerable people, said: “Poor sleep can be debilitating and distressing for families and can lead to a number of physical and mental health issues which require intervention.
“The Sleep Charity’s work with other CCGs has made a huge difference to families and in some cases has led to dramatic reductions in the prescribing of medication like melatonin, which we are hoping to replicate.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what The Sleep Charity can do during this pilot project and I would encourage any parent whose child is currently being prescribed melatonin to speak to their GP about this service, or self-refer directly to The Sleep Charity if they just want access to general help and advice.”
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