Parental role models for healthy sleep in childhood


Blog post – 1st February 2023

By Renata Taylor-Byrne


Children need good role models to establish good sleep habits:

Lifelong health depends upon good sleep habits



Front cover, Sleep Book 2022Most of the common degenerative diseases of the modern age are linked to inadequate sleep, among other contributory causes – (like junk food and sedentary lifestyle).

Perhaps the first of those causes to be tackled should be sleep.

And that is what I do in my latest book about sleep science. The book is titled Neglect Your Sleep – Wreck Your Health and Happiness

Part One of the book lays out the evidence of how lack of sleep harms your body and mind. That’s the bad news, which you really need to know. This is then followed, in Part Two, by the good news: How to take back control of this precious part of your daily life!


Learning how and when to sleep

Parents as role modelsCan you remember how much you noticed about your parents, or parent-substitutes, when you were a child?

What did you notice about their behaviour and lifestyle; and the ways in which they cared for themselves, and for you, as you were growing up? Were they good or bad role models?

Our parents are our first role models, and they are extremely powerful in that capacity, because of their example reaches us at a very impressionable stage of our lives.

We, in turn, pass on their knowledge, and skills and attitude to life, to our children. And our children absorb and copy how we live our lives; how we handle others, and the challenges of everyday life; and how we care for ourselves.

Unfortunately, when our parents were growing up, the research findings about sleep, which had been amassing in the laboratories of Universities and institutes, all over the world, wasn’t communicated to the wider public, so they were unable to benefit from this concealed knowledge.


Why have the sleep studies not been publicized adequately?

Improve knowledge about sleepWilliam Dement was an American pioneer in sleep medicine and his opinion was as follows[1]:

 “For nearly half a century, a huge reservoir of knowledge about sleep, sleep deprivation and sleep disorders has been building up behind a dam of pervasive ignorance and unresponsive bureaucracies. We don’t know how many preventable tragedies are occurring right now, today, this very instant. It is time to lower the floodgates or blow up the dam. The gentler approach of convincing authorities to lower the floodgates has not worked. Therefore I hope and pray that this book (of mine) will be the bomb that blows up the dam, and lets the information flow to the millions of people whose lives it can change and save.” (Page 10).

And part of his passion to communicate the facts about sleep was motivated by the fact that, whilst he was being driven by taxi to a conference on sleep, on a highway just past the Portland Gorge in Oregon, in 1996, his taxi driver fell asleep at the wheel of his car.  Dement could see what was happening, called out to the driver and grabbed the steering wheel. The car veered into the westbound lane of the motorway but fortunately there were no oncoming vehicles.

renata-taylor-byrne-lifestyle-coachAfter the journey, in which both of them could have died or been gravely injured, Dement talked to the taxi driver and found out that the driver had got sleep apnoea and high blood pressure, and was always very fatigued. And he had seen several doctors to try to get help. When Dement asked him what they did to help him he said: “Nothing, really.”

Reading this account was one of the reasons why I wrote this book, and did five years’ research into all the amazing research findings coming out of sleep laboratories all over the world.

So now, in February 2023, regarding sleep education, what are children in the UK learning about sleep from the National Curriculum, which can help them become better informed about sleep? Here is the current situation, as summarized on the website of ‘Schools Week’, written by Nick Linford.[2]

“At the moment, there is no legal requirement to include anything about sleep on the school timetable. The word ‘sleep’ does not even appear in official national curriculum guidelines. The government’s Change 4 Life programme does not mention sleep, either, let alone (the subject) getting taught in school.”

Let’s get the message out there

Eioght hours sleep neededA quote about leadership – which should be provided by the government health department – is relevant here, and this is it: “What makes a great leader: Example, example, example”.

And those of us who are parents, or in any position where we influence others through our behaviour, should consider out leadership role, for the sake of their health, well-being, productivity, and creative and mental growth.

My latest book is designed to give you the essential, key facts about sleep from the research findings, and techniques to improve it quickly.

ItFront cover, Sleep Book 2022 is designed so that your health and well-being will be enriched and strengthened by what you learn, and it will, (because of your daily, living example), improve the health, happiness and educational achievement for those who share your life!

If you want to know about eleven ways in which lack of sleep damages you, and eighteen powerful strategies for getting great sleep, then this is the book for you!

For more information about this book, please click on this link: Neglect Your Sleep – Wreck Your Health.***


That’s all for today.

Best wishes,


Renata Taylor-Byrne

Lifestyle coach-counsellor

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services



[1] Dement, W.C. (2000) The Promise of Sleep. New York: Random House, Inc.

[2] Linford, Nick. (2015) ‘Should lessons on snoozing be part of the school curriculum? Schools Week website: 1/2/2023  (Date accessed: 1st February 2023)

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