Guide to Childhood Illness and Sleep

Guide to Childhood Illness and Sleep


It’s worrying, frustrating and exhausting when children are unwell, and the fact that it often affects their sleep adds to the challenge. This guide will help you understand why and how illness affects your child’s sleep, how to manage during the illness, and how to get back on track when they’re feeling better. For those parents who are also dealing with chronic childhood illness, there is information about managing longer term health problems and hospitalisation.



Most children will have some experience of illness, to a greater or lesser extent, and this is likely to lead to sleep disruption. As a paediatric nurse and sleep coach I am often asked for advice about sleep when a child is sick or has been diagnosed with a condition or disability.

In this helpful guide full of practical tips and strategies, I will cover:

  • How illness impacts sleep
  • Managing sleep during mild, short-lived illness

  • Recurrent illness

  • Tips for if you need to go to hospital: what to expect, what to bring, how to manage sleep with a child who normally bedshares but cannot in hospital

  • Family-centred approaches to sleep

  • Sleep recovery after hospital

  • Sleep and chronic illness

  • Mouth-breathing and snoring


I hope this guide will help you to feel more prepared for managing sleep during and after illness.

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