The Sleep Connection

Solutions

Actionable Tips and Programs to Improve the Sleep Health of Your Community

Smart Sleep Habits

Tips you can implement now

Plan and Prioritise

Know how much sleep you need, what your motivation is to get that sleep and start to plan and prioritise it

Create a Regular Sleep / Wake Routine

Going to sleep and getting up around the same time every day helps keep your body clock in a regular rhythm making it easier to get to sleep and wake up. Try to maintain this schedule as closely as you can on weekends and holidays.

Improve Your Time Management Skills

Poor time management often leads to compromised sleep time.  To help you manage your time and prioritise your sleep, we’ve created a timetable template which you can personalise.

Have a Break From Devices Before Sleep

Aim to have a one hour break between electronic devices and sleep in particular interactive gaming and social media.

Create a Relaxing Bedroom Environment

Keep your bedroom free of distracting activities such as electronic devices use, TV and study out to help you associate your bedroom with sleep.

Create a Good Sleeping Environment

Keep your bedroom dark, quiet & the right temperature for sleeping around 18–20 degrees Celsius for the optimum sleeping environment.

Expose Yourself to Bright Light in the Morning and Dim Light at Night

The most important external signal for the biological clock is light. In the morning, sunlight signals the body to “wake up.” As the day progresses to evening the withdrawal of light lets us prepare for sleep by allowing for the release of chemicals like melatonin.

Have a Relaxing Pre-Bed Wind Down Routine

Don’t hop in wide awake and alert, instead create a routine that will signal
to your brain and body that it’s time to wind down. This may be a warm shower, reading a book and then dimming the lights.

Winding Down

If you are having trouble winding down, try some
deep breathing, muscle relaxation or mindfulness such as the ‘body scan’ exercise. If you can’t fall asleep or wake up, don’t lie in bed feeling stressed or frustrated: Try to do something to calm down and then give sleep another go.

Extra for Teenagers

Avoid Long and Late Naps

Aim to keep naps to 15–20 minute power nap and avoid them late afternoon. Naps that are too long and late in the day if they are too long or can make it hard to fall asleep at night.

Avoid Caffeine Use Altogether or At Least Avoid High Doses 6 Hours Before Bed

Caffeine has a half-life of 4-7hrs and can impact on sleep. This includes coffee, green and black tea, chocolate, energy drinks and some soft drinks and sports supplements.

Get Rid of the Snooze Button

Although you may feel you get a few extra minutes, due to repeatedly waking you up in the wrong part of a new sleep new cycle this can make you wake up feeling groggier.

Extra for Parents

Be a Good Role Model

Examine your own sleep habits and your own electronic device use.

Have a Bedtime to Aim For

Be aware of how much sleep your child needs and have a sleep time to aim for see figures for hours of sleep/age.

Observe for Tired Signs and Check in With Your Child’s Teacher Regarding Tired Signs.

Encourage the Use of a 2 Week Sleep Diary

A sleep diary is a great way of finding out if your child is getting enough sleep, what may be affecting the amount and quality of their sleep and how sleep affects areas such as their mood, concentration and energy levels. Click here to download the template.

Help Your Children With Effective Time Management

The result of a busy lifestyle can be that the amount of time allocated to sleep is often the first thing to be compromised. To download a copy of a timetable template click here.

Discuss and Set Limits of Electronic Device Exposure

Think About Sleep Issues as a Potential Cause of Moodiness

Try Putting Yourself in Your Child’s Shoes

Remember what it was like to be a teenager.

Sometimes Sleep Problems Aren’t About Sleep

They can be a sign of an anxiety disorder or depression. Think about sleep in the broader context of your child’s symptoms and history. If you suspect anxiety or depression see an expert for an assessment.

Seek Advice From a Health Professional

If you’re concerned that problems with sleep, however mild, are having an impact on your child’s life in terms of wellbeing, school, relationships or home life.

Contact Us About Improving The Sleep Health of Your School Community

School and Community Solutions

The Sleep Connection Programs

Sleep for Better Health, Resilience and Performance - Program for Students, Staff and Parents

There are various options for  parent and staff programs. Traditionally the staff session focused on student wellbeing, however increasingly requests are for the staff program to focus more on supporting staff wellbeing. The Sleep Connection will work with you to find the best options for your parents and staff communities.

The student program can be tailored to suit students from Stage 3 through to Year 12. Contact The Sleep Connection for a complementary conversation regarding the best year groups to run the program for in your school, including from a more preventative perspective.  

The aims of the programs are to provide a simple, yet effective framework to help students, parents and staff:

Invite The Sleep Connection in to your school community to implement the Sleep for Better Health, Resilience and Performance program.

Click Below to See Program Overviews for our Student, Parent and Community, and Staff Wellbeing Programs

Whole-School Approach

Additionally The Sleep Connection aims to collaborate further with schools and equip them with ideas they can implement for more of a whole-school approach to becoming a “sleep smart school”. 

Solutions you can implement now

Identify sleepy children in the school environment

Key Red Flags Include:

  • Tired body language
  • Behaviour: Younger children can exhibit symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), becoming excitable, hyperactive, disagreeable and engaging in extreme behaviours like tantrums or aggression
  • Difficulties concentrating, poor short term memory, declining grades
  • Moody and stressed
  • Late for school

Create a Culture of Sleep Awareness

Talk to parents and students. Ask them:

  • About the amount of sleep the student is getting. Parents often underestimate this. Ask for sleep time/ awake time and if the student has long sleep-ins on the weekend.
  • If the student has difficulty waking up and getting going in the morning

Encourage parents and students to:

  • Visit The Sleep Connection website
  • Seek professional help

Contact Us About Introducing the Whole-School Approach at Your School

We would love to have a consultation and learn more about how we can work together

    Professional Help

    When to Seek Professional Help

    Seek advice from a health professional if you’re concerned that problems with sleep, however mild, are having an impact on your child’s life in terms of wellbeing, school, relationships or home life. Also seek help if the problems are making your child anxious, or if they persist for more than 2-4 weeks.

    Where to Seek Professional Help

    Online Program

    The online program Sheepshack, below, can be accessed from any state In Australia and does not need a referral from your GP.

    Face to Face

    Face to Face & Telehealth appointments generally require a referral from your GP. See below for Sydney’s The Woolcock Institute Paediatric and Adolescent Sleep Clinic. For other states or regions:  Your GP will be able to point you in the right direction for the most relevant and local sleep specialists and/ or sleep psychologists. 
    SleepShack Logo

    Online

    Sleepshack

    Sleepshack does not require a referral from your GP

    SleepShack is the clinically proven, online sleep program for pre-teens* (10-12 years) and teenagers (13-18 years). SleepShack provides a personalised Sleep Treatment Plan developed by Paediatric & Adolescent Sleep Physician Dr Chris Seton, and Clinical Psychologist Dr Amanda Gamble. The treatment is specifically based on the Doctors assessment of your son or daughter’s sleep. For more information & to determine if your child would benefit from sleep treatment read more here- SleepShack. If you have further questions that are not answered by the program explanation you can fill out a contact form or simply email hello@sleepshack.com.au.
    Woolcock Institute Logo

    Face to Face

    Woolcock Paediatric & Adolescent Sleep Clinic

    Visit your GP if you require a face to face appointment you will need to request a referral to Woolcock from your GP.

    The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research has developed a comprehensive Paediatric and Adolescent Sleep Service which treats sleep disorders in young people from birth to
    18 years. This includes Australia’s only interdisciplinary sleep clinic for young people, where Sleep Paediatricians, Paediatric Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons and Adolescent Sleep Psychologists work together to provide a comprehensive service under one roof.
    Specialists can diagnose and treat all sleep issues, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and sleep walking.

    For more information visit  The Woolcock Institute Paediatric and Adolescent Sleep Clinic

    To contact:

    Dr Chris Seton – Adolescent & Paediatric Sleep Physician
    Call 0423 523 840