Behavioural aspects of children’s sleep

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There is good empirical evidence that behavioural factors play a role in the onset/maintenance of many childhood sleeplessness problems and that behaviour therapy can be used as an effective form of management. There is a smaller, but growing, literature supporting the idea that behavioural interventions may also play a significant role in the management of other types of sleep disorder (eg, rhythmic movement disorders, arousal disorders, nightmares and circadian rhythm sleep disorders), and this is an area ripe with research possibilities. This review outlines the nature of behavioural aspects of children’s sleep and how these might be addressed by behaviour therapy. Clinical considerations concerned with the use of behavioural therapy are also highlighted (eg, the role of behaviour therapy as an adjunct to other treatments, its use with special populations, and how it might be delivered to families).

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