Dr Mark Rosenthal

MD MB ChB FRCP FRCPCH BSc

Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8832

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

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Changing your bedtime routine is one of the most effective solutions for sleep disorders in children. Creating a restful environment and getting children into the right state of mind to fall asleep can make a big difference. One simple technique that can help young children to fall asleep more easily is bedtime fading.

Help Child to Sleep

What is Bedtime Fading?

Bedtime fading is all about getting the timing of bedtime right. It can be a useful technique for sleep training in infants, but it can also help to tackle sleep disorders in children at any age. The goal is to ensure that children will fall asleep within about 20 minutes of getting into bed. This is achieved by putting children to bed when they are feeling relaxed and drowsy. If the bedroom is dark, quiet and calm enough, children should then be able to drop off with very little input from their parents. However, it does require some time and patience to get to the point where this happens most nights.

At first, you will have to work out when your child naturally wants to sleep, which could be a lot later than you would like. You have to begin by putting them to bed at this time, even if it is inconvenient. You will then need to shift or fade the bedtime back towards the desired time. Moving it by just 15 minutes every couple of days should ensure that your child adapts easily.

How Effective is Bedtime Fading?

Many parents have found that bedtime fading works well for establishing sleep routines in babies. It can also be particularly effective at solving sleep disorders in children. One recent study found that the technique caused an immediate reduction in the time taken to fall asleep and the number of tantrums at bedtime. While children benefit from better quality sleep, one of the most significant benefits of bedtime fading for parents if probably that it makes bedtime much less stressful.

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