Everyone is back at school and nursery and the inevitable coughs and colds are doing their rounds.
When your child is ill, his or her sleep is very likely to be disturbed by frequent waking, wanting drinks, cuddles and noses blown. Even children who normally sleep very well can be kept awake by fevers, coughing and blocked noses.
So how do you stop this inevitable event causing long term sleep problems for your child?
Your child will sleep more:
Don’t worry if your child is sleeping more at this time, this is nature’s way of helping him fight infection. In fact the illness itself actively increases his need for sleep to help support and stimulate his immune system.
Maintain your bedtime routine:
Try and keep up your normal bedtime routine.
Having a warm soothing bath helps to relax achy muscles and unblock noses.
A warm bath is a great trigger for the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and keeping to your routine will prove invaluable when he recovers and needs to start getting used to “normal” routines again.
Keeping close by at night:
He is very likely to need medication or frequent close attention during this period of illness and you may want to sleep near to keep a close eye on him.
To minimise disruptions and prevent unhelpful sleep associations that could be difficult to resolve once he is better, make up a bed for yourself in his room and stay close to him. Once he is well again it will be much easier for you to return to your bed than get him out of yours.
Being close by also means you can respond quickly in the night and offer reassurance and comfort as well as any medication he may need. As soon as he is comfortable again resettle him back down in his bed as quickly as possible.
Becoming ill during a sleep plan:
It is not uncommon for children to become ill during a sleep plan. Most colds are short lived and sleep plans should be put on hold until he is feeling better.
Once he is eating and drinking well and seems back to his “old self”, you can go back to your sleep plan.
There is usually no need to go right back to the start of your plan, you should be able to pick up from where you were when he became ill.
After about 3 or 4 nights of perseverance and hard work you will be back on track.