Supporting people with Cri du Chat Syndrome and their families

Sleeplessness

Sleep problems in children with CdCS are very common indeed, occurring far more frequently than in the general population of children.

Difficulties settling at night, waking too early in the morning, and especially waking repeatedly through the night, represent a severe cause for concern for almost 50% of the parents who participated in our survey. A quarter of the children had settling problems, but nearly twice as many also woke repeatedly through the night.

Sleeplessness can lead to many problems for both child and carer. This includes behavioural problems such as aggression and hyperactivity, and can significantly interfere with learning. For carers, the effects can also be severe, resulting in stress, depression, relationship difficulties, and less ability to cope with the many needs and demands of their children.

Strategies

There are many methods that can be employed to combat sleeplessness. Like all children a good sleep pattern established by a regular settling routine should be employed. For many children this will be sufficient and they sleep without fuss by three to six months of age.

However, if sleep problems persist into childhood and are characterised by an ingrained pattern of not settling, waking repeatedly through the night or waking up too early, then try a routine known as: SLEEP.

  • Settle your child as quickly as possible at a set time into a safe and secure bedroom and wake him or her up at a set time in the morning (use an alarm clock)
  • Leave your child after settling unless you suspect physical illness or danger
  • Even if he or she cries out for attention
  • Even if he or she screams or does anything else to demand your attention
  • Persist and don’t give in: this will teach your child quickly to get into a healthy sleep pattern and you will notice the benefits for everyone!

Advice

If problems persist do seek advice, this may be from a child Psychiatrist or Psychologist and could include medication, your GP or Health Visitor can arrange this.