A new study into children suffering from sleep problems has presented a series of straightforward guidelines for concerned parents.
The review of over 50 clinical studies was published in the journal Sleep and was conducted by Dr Jodi Mindell of Philadelphia's St Joseph's University.
She found that simple behavioural therapy can help prevent night wakings and the progression of sleep disorders in young children, thought to affect between 20 and 30 per cent of youngsters.
"The results indicate that behavioural therapies produce reliable and durable changes in bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and children," said Dr Mindell.
"Across all studies, 94 per cent report that behavioural interventions produced clinically significant improvements in bedtime problems and/or night wakings. Approximately 82 per cent of children benefit from treatment and the majority maintain these results for three to six months," she added.
Suggested ways of improving a child's sleep include maintaining a regular routine for putting the child to bed; interacting with the child without any external stimulus from, for instance, the television; and keeping the child from consuming stimulants contained in food, drink or medicines.
Independent advice on private healthcare