"Our dream is for Elara to be happy"

As I'm sure you know, Christmas Eve is the most exciting night of the year for many children. They stay up later than usual - too excited to sleep.

I'm Faith, and I wanted to tell you why Christmas Eve is important for my family too. Our tradition is to put on new Christmas pyjamas, get comfy, and there might be a new book to read or film to watch.

Except I remember last year was different

We were all ready for Christmas, only we weren't feeling excited. We were exhausted. We didn't want to stay up. We just wanted to go to bed and get a good night's sleep. But we knew we wouldn't. 

You see, my daughter Elara has had severe sleep problems since she was five months old. Elara, who's two, has cerebral palsy. Having raised four girls already, we thought we could cope with anything. But we couldn't cope with severe sleep deprivation.

At its worst, we were woken seven or eight times a night. You feel terrible. Fuzzy-headed. Tearful. On edge. I dreaded going to bed because it felt pointless.

Elara in Christmas pyjamas rubbing her eye looking tired.

It felt like a battle that was never going to end

A year ago, getting a good night's sleep was a dream for us. Elara was supposed to be sharing a room with her sisters, but they'd have woken up too. So my husband and I were taking it in turns to sleep downstairs with her.

I remember one night sitting at the top of the stairs, crying - feeling like I was failing Elara as a mum.

Faith and Elara hugging on a bed.

Thankfully we discovered Scope

It was such a relief to find Scope's Sleep Right service. Scope offers wonderful support for families who've been pushed to the limits of exhaustion and beyond.

Sue, our Sleep Practitioner, listened as I listed everything we had tried. She gave me some suggestions, but mostly she reassured me we were doing the right things.

We could finally stop blaming ourselves

With Scope's support, we looked at the problem differently. Elara was settling well, but we realised her cerebral palsy was giving her muscle spasms. These spasms were causing her to wake, so we needed to act on that.

Since then Elara's sleep has improved. Recently, she's only been waking once a night and that's meant we all feel a lot more positive. Elara is such an intelligent little girl. Our dream is for her to be happy and enjoy her life.

We're looking forward to Christmas Eve

Elara with her parents reading a book on the sofa looking happy.

We know it will be different to last year. When we get into our Christmas pyjamas, we'll feel confident of a decent night's sleep.

Donate to the Dreams for Christmas Appeal today.

This Christmas, you can help a family like Faith's escape the nightmare of sleep deprivation.

80 per cent of disabled children have sleep problems and their families are not getting the support they need. Help us be there for more families with vital support when it's needed most.

Donate today.

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