The need for sleep packs
For safety on their tortuous journeys, separated children and young people usually travel in groups at night and sleep during the day, taking turns to keep watch. When they arrive in the UK, most are completely nocturnal, unable to settle and frequently suffer from nightmares. Likewise, those who have spent time in detention centres or makeshift camps experience disturbed sleep. These children have difficulties in falling and staying asleep at night, in waking in the morning and staying awake during the day. These struggles contribute to poor concentration and a lack of emotional stability, in addition to the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from which many lone refugee children and young people suffer.
A psychotherapist, who specialises in children’s sleep and has been working with separated children and young people, has recommended some practical aids to restful and refreshing sleep. A Sleep Pack is a pouch that contains: a night shirt, a plug-in night light, a lavender bag, a specially created ‘Sweet Dreams’ card, an eye mask, ear plugs, tissues and a stress ball. This project is proving to be very effective: for the separated children and young people who have already received one, it has made a simple but important difference to their ability to acclimatise to living in the UK.
Sleep Packs are currently distributed through our partnership with The Refugee Council, local authorities, providers of accommodation for unaccompanied minors and refugee support organisations.