Better sleep

Too many families struggle with children's bedtimes.

Whether it's getting up several times in the night or trying to deal with children who are revving up and not down at bedtime, sleep is one of the top concerns for parents in the UK.

A lack of sleep can be soul destroying, and it really takes its toll on family life. It can mean shorter tempers and being stuck in a vicious circle worrying about our ability to parent properly as a result. It can zap energy for work, social engagements and affect our relationships - trust us, we've been there.

In fact, our survey of 1000 parents with children aged three and under found that new parents will lose out on over 650 hours of sleep in the first year of their baby's life, leaving two in five prone to arguing with loved ones, a third feeling depressed and one in 20 even worried that their tiredness could put them or their baby in danger.

But lack of sleep also affects children: they need sleep to grow, develop and be ready for the day ahead. Experts say that babies need up to 12 hours in a 24 hour period, and even 10-year-olds need a good 9-10 hours a night.

Yet too often bedtimes get later, wake up time gets earlier, and night time waking means that children get far less sleep than they need. Recent reports from doctors show a dramatic increase in children with sleep disorders, which affect their physical and mental health.

The good news is that following a consistent routine every evening before bedtime is one of the best ways to help children sleep tight. And settling them into a positive night time routine needn't be difficult or time consuming. Evidence shows that babies and young children respond well to a bedtime routine. It reassures and grounds them, and also gives them the sensory clues they need to prepare for sleep.