Sleep Development

  • 12 hours
  • 2 days


This two-day course provides a basic introduction to the importance and function of sleep across the lifespan.

You'll learn about sleep and the effects of poor sleep on cognition, learning and physiology, in relation to typically developing groups and groups with developmental disabilities (such as Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and autism).

You’ll also learn about interventions to promote healthy sleep.

There'll also be opportunities to meet people from different working environments (medical and educational) and discover potential research opportunities and collaborations.

This course is run by the Lifespan Learning and Sleep Laboratory, based in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at UCL Institute of Education (IOE).

Course content and structure

Over the two days there’ll be six two-hour sessions, taught by professionals and researchers in the field.

The sessions will cover:

  1. Introduction to sleep: examining the biology and physiology of sleep, the underlying mechanisms of sleep, biomarkers associated with sleep, the importance of sleep in a global typically developing context and the adverse effects of sleep deprivation
  2. Sleep in babies and infants and young children
  3. Sleep in children and adolescence
  4. Sleep in special educational needs (autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD etc.)
  5. Sleep in genetic conditions (Down syndrome and Williams syndrome)
  6. Sleep in cross-cultural influences


There’s no formal assessment, but your knowledge and understanding will be informally assessed in activities, quizzes and plenaries at the end of each session.

Who the course is for

The course is aimed at:

  • medical professionals
  • sleep researchers
  • GPs
  • health visitors
  • social workers
  • habilitation specialists
  • paediatric doctors and nurses
  • those with an interest in sleep and sleep research

Learning outcomes

This course will help you to:

  • explore the relationship between sleep and development in typical and atypical groups
  • develop an understanding of the bidirectional relationship between sleep and learning outcomes for children and young people (CYP)
  • use evidence from research to explore the implications of poor sleep for developing CYP cross-culturally
  • develop a critical perspective regarding sleep interventions for typically developing CYP and CYP who are atypically developing


You’ll receive a certificate of attendance.

Course team

Dr Jessica Hayton

Jessica is the Deputy Director of the Lifespan Learning and Sleep Laboratory and Programme Leader in the Graduate Diploma Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight at UCL IOE. She specialises in the development of motor skills in children and young people with visual impairments and Down syndrome. Her post-doctoral research examined sleep and anxiety in adolescence with Williams syndrome. She's supervised sleep projects examining sleep, learning, day-time functioning and anxiety in children and young people with Down syndrome, Williams Syndrome and autism.

Dr Dagmara Dimitriou

Dagmara is the Director of the Lifespan Learning and Sleep Laboratory and Reader at UCL IOE. She's interested in sleep disorders and visuo-spatial development and how these relate to learning and behaviour in children with developmental disorders such as autism, Williams syndrome, Down syndrome and ADHD. Dagmara uses a multi-disciplinary approach to examine sleep in relation to cognitive, behavioural and academic abilities. Some of her methods involve cognitive tests, biomarkers and behavioural measures.

Course information last modified: 21 May 2018, 17:14