New research has highlighted that sleep loss in children due to common minor ailments such as fever (eg, caused by colds and infection), teething and sprains can have a significant impact on the child and also on the health and wellbeing of the wider family.
New research from OnePoll funded by Nurofen’s Know More Pain campaign, shows that 73% of parents or grandparents feel concerned when the child in their care misses out on a full night’s sleep. Furthermore, half (50%) of parents or grandparents say they worry about themselves or other family members missing out on sleep when their child or grandchild is ill.
Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development. During deep sleep, the blood supply to muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones vital for growth and development are released. However, children regularly suffer a wide range of minor illnesses, that can cause an interrupted night’s sleep. Fever in young children is one of the most common problems faced by those caring for them.
‘As an expert in aiding sleep in babies, I know that fever can have a considerable impact on sleep for both children and their parents,’ said Lucy Shrimpton, The Sleep Nanny. ‘Sleep is incredibly important for a baby’s health and development, not to mention to help them fight their fever or illness causing the fever. For adults, a lack of sleep leads to reduced energy levels, poor concentration and memory, and mood changes – all of which can hinder their ability to look after their children and have an impact on family life in general.
‘My top tips for helping a child with fever to sleep include offering them plenty of fluids, giving them fresh air during the day, keeping the bedroom dark at bedtime, putting them to bed in light clothing, maintaining their routine if possible and giving an over the counter pain relief medicine to reduce the symptoms of fever and therefore ease sleep. Plus lots of cuddles and reassurance during the day so they feel as content as possible when going to bed!
‘Parents should try not to overcompensate with major changes to their usual night-time ‘rules’ as this often sets off a whole new behavioural sleep problem (eg, bringing a child into parents’ bed when that’s not usually allowed). Parents might ask themselves, ‘is what I’m doing helping my child to feel better or just making me feel better?’’
In addition to anxiety about lost or interrupted sleep, the research shows that many parents or grandparents are worried about the impact of the child’s illness on daily life, with over half (52%) of parents or grandparents concerned about their child missing nursery or school because of illness and pain, and 35% expressing concern about having to take time off work to care for their sick child or grandchild.
The aim of Nurofen’s Know More Pain campaign is to encourage people to understand more about everyday pain and how to manage it effectively. Although effective over-the-counter remedies are readily available in pharmacies, the survey highlighted that over half (64%) of those questioned were concerned that that they don’t know how to best treat children’s illness.
Nurofen for Children provides up to eight hours of pain and fever relief, to help get a full night’s sleep, with one dose providing longer lasting relief than standard paracetamol.
‘Pain and fever in children, especially young children, is often distressing for parents. While much emphasis is often placed on the child, the impact on family members should not be overlooked,’ said pharmacist, Terry Maguire.’Relieving pain or fever in children can alleviate some of this burden, and there are a number options in the pharmacy that you can use. Parents should also remember that a good night’s sleep also helps to support immunity, which is very important during the cold and flu season. If you are unsure about options available for your child, speak to your pharmacist.’