Sleep support for children and young people extended for all North Yorkshire families

A pilot project to help children and young people overcome sleeping difficulties has been extended across North Yorkshire.

It uses behavioural therapy, sleep clinics and workshops – rather than medication – to improve a child’s sleep health.

The Sleep Charity – an award-winning voluntary organisation based in Doncaster – was initially commissioned to offer services in Whitby, Scarborough and Ryedale.

The approach has been so successful, NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has now commissioned The Sleep Charity to provide support to families North Yorkshire-wide for a further 12 months.

It will also provide professionals’ training to GP practice staff, health visitors and school nurses.

Dr Charles Parker, NHS North Yorkshire CCG Clinical Chair, said: “We know how debilitating, disruptive and distressing it can be for families when a child is struggling to sleep, and we see first-hand how it can lead to a number of physical and mental health issues which require treatment.

“With the upheaval to everyday routines created by COVID-19 and the additional stress and anxiety some families are under, we are seeing more and more children and young people who are struggling to get a good night’s sleep.

“It’s heartening to hear that The Sleep Charity’s work has already made a huge difference to many families in Whitby, Scarborough and Ryedale and I’m delighted these services are now available across North Yorkshire.

“I would encourage any parent whose child is struggling with poor sleep 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.”

Once a referral is received, a child and their family will be triaged to the most appropriate level of support, based on need, ranging from workshops and webinars, to one-on-one support with a specialist sleep practitioner.

Families will also be able to access The Teen Sleep Hub, which contains links to twice-weekly live chats with professional sleep practitioners, top-tip videos for improved sleep and a downloadable e-book.

Vicki Dawson, Chief Executive Officer of The Sleep Charity, said: “Quality sleep is absolutely essential for a child’s growth and development. It helps children to concentrate on learning, allows 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.”