Most parents expect the strange night's rest when they have children, but for Jacqui and Julian Wolstenholme, blissful hours of uninterrupted sleep had become a distant memory.
The couple, who share the four-year-old twins Jessica and Jasmine, reached the breaking point because their daughters woke up 40 times a night.
From the age of three months the little girls hardly ever slept, making it impossible for Jacqui to return to her graphic design job after 12 months of maternity leave and making it difficult for Julian to keep his job.
But after they were enrolled in a sleep clinic at their local hospital, the exhausted parents developed a new strict bedtime regime that changed their lives.
Jacqui and Julian Wolstenholme, who share four-year-old twins Jessica and Jasmine (depicted as babies), fought for years with sleepless nights
According to NHS England, it has & # 39; pioneering & # 39; Sleep Service Schedule at Sheffield Children & # 39; s Hospital led to young people getting an extra sleep of 2.4 hours a night.
The time they needed to fall asleep also dropped from more than two hours to just over 30 minutes.
For Julian and Jacqui, nurses helped them develop a personal bedtime routine for the girls they adhere to every day.
Jacqui told me about the restless nights they endured Victoria Derbyshire from BBC Two program: & # 39; They woke something up 10 to 40 times a night – and that's no exaggeration.
From the age of three months the little girls hardly ever slept, making it impossible for Jacqui to return to her graphic design job after 12 months of maternity leave
& # 39; I would have one in bed with me and the other would be with Julian in another bedroom. He tried to arrange one, I tried to arrange the other. & # 39;
She added: & # 39; My husband had trouble keeping his job … only through sheer exhaustion. & # 39;
Jacqui explained how the twins suffered from chronic recurrent illnesses and repeated hospital admissions in their younger years, which she & # 39; quite difficult & # 39; found.
To help them get ready for bed, Jacqui said they'd dim the lights down an hour before bed and the TV, radio, and other & # 39; screens & # 39; turn of.
Jacqui explained how the twins suffered from chronic recurrent illnesses and repeated hospital admissions in their younger years, which she & # 39; quite difficult & # 39; found
& # 39; We color, draw, build games, everything that involves hand-eye coordination, & # 39; she explained.
& # 39; Then they go upstairs to take a bath and go straight into the bedroom. & # 39;
Jacqui said they strictly adhered to the same routine, even to the use of identical words when saying goodnight.
Granted she doesn't like about the days & # 39; before going to sleep & # 39; talk, Jacqui said nodding and sleeping on is still not a matter of course for her daughters, but on a good night they go 12 hours without waking up.
The Sheffield program now helps 800 children in the city every year. The pilot with 40 families was launched by professor Heather Elphick in collaboration with NHS England and the local council.
Prof. Elphick believes the UK is in a hidden public health crisis when it comes to sleeping.
Jacqui said they are now strictly following the same bedtime routine, even if they use the same words to say good night
The practitioners of the Sheffield Children & # 39; s Hospital were trained by members of the nationwide Children & # 39; s Sleep Charity, which uses a behavioral approach to understand why young people struggle with sleep.
& # 39; We are flooded with families across the country who are often in crisis due to lack of sleep & # 39 ;, CEO and founder Vicki Dawson told the BBC program.
& # 39; We have such limited resources to support these families. & # 39;
Prof. Elphick believes the UK & # 39; is in a hidden public health crisis when it comes to sleeping & # 39;
In a conversation with FEMAIL, Vicki explained that there are often several reasons why a child has difficulty sleeping.
& # 39; It may be sensory issues, room temperature, diet, body clock issues. It is worth finding out what it can cause before you apply a routine, & she said.
& # 39; As a charity, we believe that every family should have free access to evidence-based sleep clinics. Unfortunately it is currently a zip code lottery.
Top tips to help your child fall asleep
Vicki Dawson is CEO and founder of The Children & # 39; s Sleep Charity
Vicki said that some elements of a bedtime routine make a child more likely to sleep:
DIM the lights: this helps to stimulate melatonin (the sleep hormone). Closing the curtains can help when it is light at night.
Avoid TV or screen activities: this can disrupt melatonin production and they are also very stimulating activities.
Participate in hand-eye coordination activities: Make sure it is something the child is interested in – puzzles, crafts, reading, coloring, modeling, building blocks and Lego are all good options.
Try sleep-inducing foods: research into this is still not decisive, but it is best to avoid items with sugar, such as hot chocolate, cookies or breakfast cereals. Aim for dairy products such as milk, yogurt or whole-wheat toast with some peanut butter. Some of our customers recommend cherry juice.
Give them a warm, relaxing bath: it is good to wash them half an hour before going to sleep, because the water raises their body temperature, which then starts to drop when the child gets out. We need a lower body temperature to sleep well.
Most importantly, if the child has a sleeping problem, you need to understand why before you develop strategies.
For more information about the Children & # 39; s Sleep Charity, visit https://www.thechildrenssleepcharity.org.uk/.
& # 39; We are campaigning to raise awareness that support is not there, but it is crucial and also cost effective.
& # 39; We know that they will get more references to the NHS for sleeping problems in children. In 2018 there was a 300 percent increase in 10 years.
& # 39; If a family is faced with a general practitioner or pediatrician, there are costs involved, and we have prescribed antidepressants for families because they do not get enough sleep.
& # 39; It is usually more cost effective to finance a sleep service. & # 39;
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