Today Tonight - Kids Sleep

Four year old Abby used to be a terrible sleeper.

"Every morning she was in a bad mood and crying when she would wake up and really loud snoring every night" says her mum Laura.

Up to 30% of children under the age of three will suffer some form of sleep disorder. shots of sleep study vision here

"Sleep is so important for a child's brain development for growth and development and to have good behaviour" says Tresillian Nurse Sonja Grigg.

Tresillian is sleep boot camp for tired parents and their kids.

The top complaint is night waking.

"It's just a pattern they get into, we don't know why" she says

Tresillian says it can be fixed by:

  • A consistent bedtime routine.
  • A calm quiet environment to sleep
  • Being persistant and patient when resettling

Many parents also battle with short day sleeps.

"They might only be having 20 minutes in the morning and then they've got a ratty toddler all day".

Tresillian's tips:

  • Set up a bedtime routine and stick to it.
  • Read your child's cue's - put them to bed before they get exhausted
  • Try playing music

Then there's sleep associations.

Tired parents will try anything but Tresillian says don't fall into the trap of patting, rocking or driving your baby to sleep. They'll never learn how to self-settle.

For a small percentage of children their sleep problems are more serious and will need medical treatment. Experts say it's important parents don't ignore warning signs like snoring.

"When a child snores parents should not assume it is just cute or it is just the child - and that it's normal to snore it's not" says Dr Arthur Teng.

Abby's snoring was triggered by enlarged tonsils blocking her airways - a condition known as sleep apnoea.

They've now been removed.

"Since the surgery it's been amazing um she wakes up happy. She's got more concentration, we don't hear her snoring and she doesn't wake up in the middle of the night"