Sleep: A Foundation of Mental Health for Children

Both sleep problems and mental health problems are on the rise. Could they be interrelated? Suicidality, anxiety, depression, academic success, family interactions, ADHD, and other conditions are all worsened when children are not getting adequate healthy sleep. This dynamic class will explore sleep and overall mental health in children, how they support each other, and how healthy sleep habits set the stage for positive mental health from childhood into adulthood.

Learn about the prevalence and red flags indicating sleep disorders in children from infancy through adolescence. Know how to support sleep health and include sleep habits as part of your assessment and comprehensive mental health treatment plan. Your clients–and their families– will thank you!


Know the prevalence of sleep disorders and how they impact mental health conditions in children. Comprehensively screen pediatric clients for sleep problems that may impair their mental health. Teach clients skills and lifestyle strategies to improve their sleep habits. Develop a treatment approach for your client with sleep complaints.

Sleep Challenges and Solutions: 

Assessing sleep disorders

Sleep mechanisms and circadian rhythms Classes of sleep disorders The child-focused clinical interview and sleep diary Useful screening questionnaires Referral resources What your patients can expect from sleep disorder treatments

Infant and Child Sleep

What type of sleep training is most effective? Pros and cons of the family bed Family dynamics and sleep How to differentiate nightmares from night terrors Obstructive sleep apnea contributes to anxiety, depression, etc. ADHD due to apnea, movement disorders, or insufficient sleep Pediatric insomnia and its long-term consequences

Teen Sleep

Increased risk taking and suicidality Sleep and academic achievement Juvenile delinquency and sleep habits Tools for increasing teens’ sleep

Creating a sleep healthy lifestyle

Getting optimal sleep Setting the stage with effective wind-down activities An ideal sleep environment Using light exposure to improve sleep and increase alertness Journaling and limit-setting before bed Strategies to reinforce sleep health over the coming months

Presenter: Dr. Catherine Darley

***Dr. Catherine Darley*** is a leader in integrative sleep medicine. She founded The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine, Inc in 2003, and since then has helped people of all ages sleep well using behavioral and naturopathic approaches for sleep disorders. Her expertise lies in profoundly effective lifestyle and behavioral change based on the deep understanding of principles of sleep and circadian physiology. Behaving in accordance with these principles allows patients all the benefits of a good night’s sleep, without the negative side effects of pharmaceuticals. She is an expert and dynamic speaker, teaching a wide range of groups through engagement, storytelling, and with a clear explanation of the mechanisms of disease and treatment protocols. Dr. Darley is published in professional journals, has been quoted in several popular magazines, and appeared on TV to share her sleep knowledge.