This is an article from Unfold newsletter.
Disabled children are twice as likely to have trouble sleeping. With your support, Sarah is helping parents find effective solutions to their sleep problems. Here she talks you through a Sleep Solutions workshop, and explains why she has a personal reason to be grateful to you.
3pm: Hellos and introductions
We start the workshop with everyonesharing their experiences of sleep problems. I explain how my little Evie could never get to sleep. She was born with excess fluid on the brain, so she couldn’t settle at night. Scope supported me to find the solution to our sleep problems. Now I’m here as a practitioner to share my expert knowledge with other parents.
3:15pm: Why sleep is so precious
The first session in the workshop is about why we need sleep. And I should know. When Evie was up all night, it was torture. On two hours sleep, I was drained all the time. And I would question my parenting skills. I didn’t know it then, but 80 percent of disabled children don’t get the sleep they need. It’s comforting for the other parents to know they’re not alone!
3:30pm: What makes us sleep
Getting children to sleep isn’t magic, it’s science. That’s why our expert advice is so important. I help parents understand how to activate the triggers for a deep sleep. Like a nice warm bath, to slow down our heart rate.
4pm: Sleepy foods
Next I provide information about the foods that can be converted to melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep. Bananas worked a treat for Evie. I say to other parents, ‘When you have a disabled child, you might think that sleep problems are inevitable. Trust me, they’re not.’
4:30pm: Calming hour
Finally we run through the bedtime routine. It should be completely calm: no screens, no rushing. I recently got a text from a mum, saying “tonight it took eight minutes to
get the children to sleep. I can’t thank you enough.’ Another mum told me, ‘you saved my family’.
5:30pm: Home time – and bedtime
We always thank the parents for being so honest. And I need to thank you, too. Without your support, my Evie wouldn’t be resting and developing the way she is now. And I wouldn’t be able to help other families get a good night’s sleep. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much.