Dr Rachel Hiller from Bath’s Department of Psychology and Professor Michael Gradisar from Flinders University, Australia, have co-authored the new Helping Your Child with Sleep Problems: A self-help guide for parents offering. The book is a step-by-step guide for parents to use evidence-based cognitive and behavioural strategies to support their child to overcome sleep problems.
Rachel is a Clinical Research Psychologist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath. Her research focus is on improving access to evidence-based trauma-focused psychological interventions for vulnerable groups of youth. Prior to this, her clinical work was focused on child and adolescent sleep disorders.
Published by Little Brown Book Group, a Hachette UK company, her book explores techniques for helping children aged 5-12 with sleep difficulties that have been tested in research studies, and it aims to provide advice that can be easily understood and adopted by parents and children.
In the book, Rachel and Michael identify a range of sleep problems that they have most commonly seen in clinical work, such as children who find it difficult to sleep without a parent present, or who are very anxious at night time.
The matter is tackled in three parts. The first part of the books identifies and defines sleep problems and talks about myths and misconceptions around sleep.
Part 2 explains step-by-step techniques to help resolve sleep problems related to anxiety. This includes new paediatric techniques like bedtime restriction and sleep restriction therapy, which help a child to fall asleep faster, and to stay asleep during the night. It also explores techniques, which enable children to face their fears and worries.
Finally, part 3 provides step-by-step programmes for targeting a group of sleep problems called ‘parasomnias’, like sleep walking, bed-wetting, and night terrors. This last section also provides tips for maintaining good sleep, including when moving in to adolescence.
Dr Rachel Hiller explains: “We know that sleep problems are very common in childhood and one of the main concerns that parents will take to their GP. Many of the parents we saw in our clinical work had been struggling for years to manage their child’s sleep, and weren’t able to access mental health services. We wanted to provide a resource where parents could easily access the latest evidence-based information about supporting their child to overcome their sleep problem, so the whole family can get a good night’s sleep.”