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Sleep the secret to a nappy child & life; Health warning for parents over night terrors and tiredness.

Byline: SARAH SLATER

AVOIDING a child's sleeping problems can damage their family's long-term health, an expert has warned.

And, if not dealt with quickly, it becomes so stressful and distressing for parents it can lead to depression.

Not switching off devices such as tablets and smartphones at bedtime is also leading to overtiredness and contributing to night terrors. Lucy Wolfe, a specialist at the Sleepmatters Clinic in Cork, said: "It's hard to say the exact cause but increased use of electronic devices cannot be factored out. They should not be allowed in the bedroom.

"Parents may think their child is asleep but they aren't as they are on their electronic devices such as mobile phones or laptops.

"There are many contributory factors, such as heat, diet, stress - but the number one cause is overtiredness. This may just be from a bedtime that is commenced too late. Certain children are predisposed to this condition and overtiredness exacerbates it.

"Both parents and the child's health suffers. Everyone becomes stressed and irritable as a result which greatly exacerbates the situation and makes home life difficult leading to depressive situations.

"This rising problem takes a toll on the family health. The child and parent will be sleep deprived and that can lead to other health issues that put a strain on the health system."

Ms Wolfe has outlined signs that might indicate if your child is suffering from night terrors.

She said: "This is an unwanted behaviour that occurs once the child has gone to sleep, normally within the first two hours of bedtime and also early in the morning.

"However, I have seen them occur all through the night in some recent instances which is worrying.

"The main characteristics are the child is very distressed, thrashing and upset, but unaware of this being the case and does not remember the episode in the morning.

"A child who suffers from a night terror has continually broken sleep but adjusting bedtime earlier even by half an hour can make a significant difference."

Ms Wolfe said although little is known about night terrors, some professionals suggest stress factors need to be lowered until the child grows out of them.

She added: "I would suggest that parents can be proactive, I have seen this very week a child aged four who has had nearly two years of night terrors be massively reduced by having better sleep hygiene and more importantly a much earlier 7pm-orientated bedtime."

Ms Wolfe explained there are several ways of trying to ease night terrors such as not waking the child during it and to avoid touching or picking them up as this can prolong their ordeal.

news@irishmirror.ie

Parents and the child's health can suffer.. everyone is stressed LUCY WOLFE CORK'S SLEEPMATTERS CLINIC

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TROUBLE AFOOT Child's bad sleep habits felt all round

babe in arms.. Blissful sleep is good for everyone

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Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion; Leading articles
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Nov 9, 2015
Words:481
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