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Your children's sleep.

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About this work


An explanation of some of the causes of inadequate and troubled sleep in adults and children; and how parents, by exercising care and understanding with their children, can offset some of the psychological difficulties at the root of the matter. Typical instances are shown and dealt with in some detail.


UK : Ministry of Health, 1947.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (21.37 min.) : sound, black and white.



Copyright note

Crown copyright, managed by BFI.

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Language note

In English

Creator/production credits

A Central Office of Information film for the Ministry of Health and Central Council for Health Education. Made by Realist Film Unit in association with Film Centre. Written and produced by Brian Smith, directed by Jane Massy, photographed by A.E. Jeakins and edited by Gwen Baillie.


This video was made from material preserved by the BFI National Archive


Segment 1 Opening credits. Intertitle: 'What exactly is sleep? No-one knows.' A male narrator explains that some people sleep well while others do not. Examples are seen, including Mrs Parkins, who is lying awake worried about her lost handbag. The narrator says that worry is a dark shape that makes sleep impossible. Tom Meredith also cannot sleep, but through excitement, as his football match was watched by a talent scount that day. The narrator talks about children's sleep, saying that babies need up to 20 hours of sleep a day, while small children need to spend half their time asleep. During sleep, they grow and renew energy and also develop mentally. A young boy's dreams of fire engines are seen. The narrator runs through differences in children's sleep - different positions and bedclothes. Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:06:06:03 Length: 00:06:06:03
Segment 2 The narrator says that some children always sleep soundly and some children are always restless. However, any change should be watched out for. A young girl who suddenly finds it difficult to sleep is seen. She is worried about being in a new class with a different teacher, but also about an incident involving other children drawing graffiti on a fence. She lies to a man who chases them off, giving him the wrong names. She has since been worried that the police will come to tell her off, so cannot sleep and has bad dreams. Time start: 00:06:06:03 Time end: 00:10:12:11 Length: 00:04:06:08
Segment 3 A young boy is seen. He constantly runs about, but is tired and is not getting enough sleep. He does not want to go to bed. His mother reads him a story, and the narrator says that the idea of sleep and bedtime should be broken gently. Another little girl, Claire, is seen. She has bad dreams and sometimes wets the bed. Her mother is the trouble; she is very fussy and tries to make Claire act like an adult rather than a child. Her tidy bedroom is seen, with no evidence of it being a little girl's room. The narrator wonders if later on, Claire will rebel. Her bedroom is pictured messy and with modernist curtains depicting a nude woman. Claire has a nightmare of running through a desert at night and falling on barbed wire and her father comes to her room, followed by her mother, who ushers him away. Time start: 00:10:12:11 Time end: 00:16:34:06 Length: 00:06:21:20
Segment 4 A chess-like game is seen, with black pieces of 'worry' and white pieces of 'reason'. The narrator says that children are still learning how to play this game so find worries more difficult to deal with than adults. Parents should reassure worried children and instil a routine at bedtime. A mother is seen putting her son to bed, putting the toys away, reading a story, and giving him a bath. He falls straight asleep. Time start: 00:16:34:06 Time end: 00:21:37:07 Length: 00:05:03:01


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