Sleep problems are not confined to young children and worries about the dark or sleeping alone can continue well into primary and even secondary school. Getting enough exercise, turning off screens and having a routine can all be helpful. You might also like to consider relaxation CDs or Apps (see below)

For many young people sleep difficulties are closely related to anxiety. It’s at bedtime, when there are no other distractions, that those worries really surface. If that starts to become a pattern, parents sometimes find it helpful to set aside some time at bedtime to talk over worries. It’s helpful to set a time limit e.g. having 10 minutes every evening. Some children use worry dolls or might write down their worries and then put them in a box or scrunch them up and throw them away (see top tips below)

​For older children, you could try discussing choices in terms of tackling worries and then look at the pros and cons of each choice (e.g. I could do nothing, I could ask my friend what he thinks, I could ask the teacher to put me in a different group). This can help your child feel more in control. A lot of the resources in the anxiety section are really helpful here because addressing the worries is likely to lead to better sleep. 

Top tips

Relaxation CD



  • Headspace is a popular meditation App – the first few sessions are free so you can see if you like it and it has special sections on meditation for sleep and a section for children, although you have to subscribe for these. 
  • Calm is an App which has sleep stories for children and grown-ups.