Huge rise in children referred to charity for sleep service

PUBLISHED: 15:57 09 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:57 09 March 2017

There has been a large rise of children struggling to sleep enough. Picture posed by model. Picture by Getty Images.

There has been a large rise of children struggling to sleep enough. Picture posed by model. Picture by Getty Images.


A charity is warning of a rising number of children referred to its sleep service.

NANSA, a Norwich-based charity which supports people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities, says the number of children referred with sleep disorders has shot up by at least 250pc in the last three years.

It comes after an investigation by BBC Panorama found the number of under-14s admitted to hospitals in England for sleep disorders had trebled in the last ten years.

That rise is felt at ground-level by NANSA - which provides a sleep service for children with disabilities and additional needs.

In 2014/15, when the service was piloted, NANSA received 26 referrals, but this number shot up to 72 in 2015/16.

And so far this year 92 referrals have been made.

The children are referred to NANSA’s service from parents, carers, and GPs.

Chris Towndrow, NANSA children and young peoples’ service manager, said: “Studies highlight that children with a learning or physical disability are one particularly high-risk group in terms of suffering increased rates of sleep disturbance.

“The sleep team have been astounded by the number of referrals that are coming through each week,” he added.

“The repeated absence of a good night’s sleep can affect the whole family’s mental health and damage children’s learning and development long term.”

NANSA’s sleep service is free for families with children who have learning disabilities and/or additional needs.

“We think it is vital to continue funding this service to respond to this need across the county and will be actively seeking to sustain and grow what we currently deliver in the future,” Mr Towndrow added.

Sleep services such as the one offered by NANSA provide an alternative to medication such as melatonin.

Avoiding this medication means reducing the risk of associated side-effects such as stomach-aches, bed-wetting, diarrhoea, and dizziness.

Sleep deprivation across all ages is estimated to cost the UK £40bn a year.

Mr Towndrow said NANSA is seeking more funding to keep its sleep service going, and to keep it free for disabled children.

If you would like to donate to NANSA call 01603 414109 or email

Other news

A housing development in a Norfolk village, built on council-owned land, has hit a major milestone, after every home in their phase one build has been sold.


Norfolk and Waveney is set to feel a lot warmer this week with some places seeing highs of 27C.

Families of seven Norfolk soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan came together in Swanton Morley to unveil a memorial to their loved ones.


England are set to take to the World stage as the last group for the World Cup get ready to play today.

Most Read

Saturday, June 16, 2018

An extraordinary stand-off took place at a Norfolk tip as customers were locked in when a man refused to pay to dump his wood.

Read more
Norfolk Police
Yesterday, 22:05

Firefighters have been called to a building blaze in Fakenham.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:35

A major search for a 75-year-old man who went missing while out on a walk with his family along a Norfolk beach will continue this morning.

Read more
Friday, June 15, 2018

The craft brewing boom has prompted a Norfolk maltster to invest £6.7m in its ability to make small batch deliveries of specialist grain.

Read more
Friday, June 15, 2018

Thousands of Norfolk residents are proud to have been born and bred in the East of England for generations.

Read more
United Kingdom

Local Weather



max temp: 21°C

min temp: 17°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Fakenham and Wells Times e-edition today

Newsletter Sign Up

Fakenham and Wells Times weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy