Sleep Deprivation 

in Children After Encephalitis and a Brain Injury

Sleep deprivation can hugely impact the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of children with Encephalitis and an ABI

Here is a little bit of information that you might find useful

 

All children are unique, and different techniques work for different families.  To help with anxieties due to a child’s acquired brain injury, it may help you if you remember:

–  Your child will feel happier and alert after a good night’s sleep

 

–  You deserve and need some time for yourself to recharge your batteries

 

–  You will both be able to relax in each other’s company a lot more if you have slept well and undisturbed

Sleep habits need to be learnt, like learning, to eat and walk.  Therefore it is important to learn and enforce this general advice to begin with by being consistent and firm.

Decide on a bedtime and stick to it!

 

Be firm and consistent, It is important to have a set bedtime and wake up time, to set our internal clocks.

 

Bedtime routine

 

Decide on a routine and stick to it.  Children feel more secure if they know what is coming.  A 1 hour routine, with the family is crucial in the lead up to bedtime.

 

Removal of screen time

 

All screens should be removed in the hour leading up to bed.  The blue light they produce negatively affects melatonin production.

 

Self-settling

 

It is important to put your child to bed whilst still awake and let them self -settle.  This reduces night wakings.

 

Try to be as boring as possible!

 

When dealing with children in the night, positive or negative attention is a reward: offer physical presence and refrain from taking your child into your bed.

 

Reward good night time behaviour

 

Ignore the bad and praise the good!  Remember it may get worse before it improves.  However if you set limits and are firm and consistent, the sleep issues will start to improve!

(Janine Reynolds – Clinical/Research Nurse Specialist in Sleep)