Sleep counselling


Sleep counselling is for parents and carers of children and young people with additional support needs.

Sleep counselling is provided by trained professionals, and helps parents and carers by giving them specific, tried and tested behavioural and cognitive techniques to adapt their child’s night-time behaviour.

Sleep counselling is also available for children and young people with mental health conditions. Young people with mental health problems regularly report sleep disturbances, which are contributing to their worries. For anxiety disorders, this can be as high as 88%, but sleep problems have also been found in young people with depression (72%) and bipolar disorder (40-60%). Sleep Scotland can offer tailored support and advice for these families.

Sleep counselling process

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Sleep counselling is provided by multi-professional teams of sleep counsellors who have been specially trained to work with sleep problems.

Families are matched with a local sleep counsellor, who will arrange regular sessions to monitor progress. The first session could take up to 1.5 hours; further sessions will be 40 to 60 minutes; and a home visit will be offered as part of the programme.

Families are introduced to various techniques, including behavioural modification, sleep history and sleep diaries. These are used to look at existing sleep problems and improve sleep patterns.

The help and support from day one, the diary and routine structure, plus the explanations, helped me understand and problem-solve myself.

It is not usually necessary to bring your child along to the sessions — the sleep counsellors will meet your child during the home visit. With the family’s agreement, information may be forwarded to relevant professionals working with the child, such as the GP, consultant and head teacher.

The aim of the treatment programme is to promote improved sleep patterns. Sleep Scotland may refuse treatment if it considers the programme inappropriate for any child or family. It also disclaims any responsibility for a failure to improve, or any unforeseen circumstances.If, during the course of the sleep counsellor’s contact with your child and family, information becomes available which indicates that your child may be at risk of harm, this information will be passed onto the director of Sleep Scotland and the local authority for their consideration.

Sleep counsellors

Sleep Scotland trains sleep counsellors to support parents and carers in managing their children’s sleep problems through tried and tested cognitive behavioural techniques. Our sleep counsellors are professionals and volunteers who support families and carers of children with additional support needs. They incorporate sleep counselling into their jobs in health, social work, and education.

The advice given to us by the counsellors worked almost immediately and changed our lives.

We are enormously grateful for the time and dedication of our sleep counsellors, who provide the service in addition to a busy caseload.Some of our sleep counsellors are parents who have been through difficulties themselves, and have been able to resolve them with the help of sleep counselling. Sleep counsellors work on a multi-professional basis. They usually work in pairs, drawn from different professions.

How to register for sleep counselling

calendar-260To register for sleep counselling please follow the link to the see what services are available in your area.

An independent evaluation of sleep counselling is available here.

Sleep Support Line

Sleep Scotland’s free Sleep Support Line provides on-the-spot guidance to parents and guardians struggling with their children’s and teenagers’ sleep problems. This includes, but is not limited to, mainstream, or typically developing, children and teenagers, who previously could not access our services.

The line gives all families living in Scotland access to free support from Sleep Scotland’s experienced sleep counsellors, thanks to a grant from The Big Lottery Fund Scotland and the Scottish Government. Parents and carers will be able to seek tailored advice on sleep for their children, from sleepless toddlers to teenagers dealing with exam-stress and the distractions of social media.

To access this support, parents, carers, or teenagers should contact us on 0800 138 6565, Monday to Thursday, 10am to 4pm. If you are unable to call during those times, or require an alternative to using the telephone, please email us at and we will arrange an alternative. BSL users can contact the service using contactSCOTLAND-BSL.

Parent Sleep Support Sessions

Our parent sleep support sessions are for parents and legal guardians of children and young people with additional support needs.

For information regarding upcoming sleep support sessions, please take a look at our latest news posts. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all our announcements.

Please contact us if you are interested in attending or commissioning one of our parent sleep support sessions.