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Sleep Management for Children with a Learning Disability

child sleeping in bed
  • Date published:

  • Author: susieking

Getting enough sleep is essential for our physical, emotional and mental well-being. Sleep deprivation can affect our attention, concentration, memory, behaviour, makes us feel anxious, irritable, overactive, aggressive and depressed. Looking after your child who has a sleep problem can be exhausting and have a significant impact on them and your whole family.

If your child is struggling with their sleep routine, it is useful to keep a record of what is going well and not so well before you start to make any changes.  This helps to identify reasons for the problem and if you need support from the nursing team, you can provide them with details.

You could try a sleep diary – completed over a short period of time to provide an accurate picture of your child’s present sleep pattern. This can also be used to identify positive changes. The Sleep Charity provide this template you could use. The-Sleep-Charity-Childrens-Sleep-Diary

Research shows children and young people with ‘additional needs’ are more likely to have problems with sleep because of:

  • physical discomfort
  • medical reasons
  • sensory issues
  • inability to settle themselves
  • behavioural problems
  • frequent stays in hospital


Please download the Patient Advice Sheet for more information, advice and strategies to help improve your child’s sleep.

Additional Resources


Cerebra is a UK charity working with children with brain conditions and learning disabilities. They have a team of sleep practitioners who can offer help and advice on sleep issues. This includes 1:1 advice over the phone on your child’s specific sleep problem as well as sleep workshops for parent groups. Their site has a number of downloadable guides and cards available:


The Sleep Council

The Sleep Council is an impartial, advisory organisation that promotes the importance of good sleep in all ages. They provide helpful advice, leaflets and tips on how to improve sleep quality and create the perfect sleep environment: