Gen Z’s home of better sleep

The clinically proven, personalised sleep treatment program for teens & tweens developed by Australia’s leading Sleep Doctors

About Teen Sleep

Sleep - Explained

Teenagers get a bad rap for their sleep, whether it’s staying up late or being impossible to drag out of bed on school mornings. Yet they’re not being lazy, their sleep patterns are very different to yours.

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Sleep - Effects

Medical research has consistently demonstrated that poor sleep in teenagers results in impaired academic performance & learning, more mood swings, greater anxiety, and that’s just to name a few.

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Teen Sleep
Myths - Exposed

A disconnect exists between how teens view their sleep and what science tells us. You’ve probably heard some of these myths already. So what are the facts that dispel those sleep myths?

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As the clinically proven, online sleep program for pre-teens* (10-12 years) and teenagers (13-18 years), SleepShack provides a personalised Sleep Treatment Plan developed by Paediatric & Adolescent Sleep Physician Dr Chris Seton, and Clinical Psychologist Dr Amanda Gamble. The treatment is specifically based on the Doctors assessment of your son or daughter’s sleep.

After the SleepShack Program, not only will your child fall asleep easily and awaken refreshed, they’ll also suffer fewer mood swings and perform better at school.

*This younger age group is included in the SleepShack Program as many tweens adopt older teenage sleep patterns.

The SleepShack Program is designed to treat the following behaviours in your child:

  • Regularly unable to get around 9 hours sleep on school nights
  • Unable to fall asleep till very late at night
  • Seems frequently tired on school days
  • Difficult to get out of bed on a school morning and they’re groggy and grumpy after wakening
  • Often needs waking up, rather than waking spontaneously, on school mornings
  • Sleeps-in on weekends & school holidays often till late morning
  • Wakes frequently during the night and has difficulty getting back to sleep
  • Not doing well academically at school and their ability to learn, is not what you’d expect
  • Sometimes seems anxious or unhappy
  • Regularly moody, negative and often emotionally explodes at the slightest provocation
  • Has a reduced ability to problem solve
  • Has problems with impulse control, often leading to greater risk taking behaviours
  • Regularly uses electronic devices (such as iPod Touch, iPhone, computer etc) in the hour before &/or after bedtime

After completing the SleepShack Program, you can expect to see improvements in your child, in some of the following areas:

  • Regularly able to get approximately 9 hours uninterrupted sleep at night
  • Will have a regular time when they go to bed and will fall asleep quicker
  • Getting up on a school morning will not be so challenging, as your child will feel well rested
  • The need to sleep-in on weekends & school holidays will be reduced
  • Will have a better understanding on the detrimental effects on their sleep, of using electronic devices (such as iPhone, iPod Touch, computer etc) late at night
  • In the school environment, your child’s ability to learn, listen, concentrate, problem solve and retain information will be maximised
  • You’ll notice a marked improvement in your child’s mental and emotional state. They’re likely to feel less depressed, less anxious, exhibit fewer negative mood swings and be less emotionally labile
  • Impulse control measures especially in boys will be improved with fewer incidents of dangerous risk taking bahaviours
  • Health measures will be improved with fewer sick days from school
  • Will have the tools to maintain good sleep in stressful or anxious situations, such as before or during school exams

How does it work

The SleepShack Program is made up of a few easy steps:

Understanding your Child

With your help, your child will need to answer a detailed questionnaire ranging from their lifestyle to school routine to their current sleep pattern.

The SleepShack Questionnaire will take about 15 minutes to complete and is personally analysed and reviewed by Dr Chris Seton.

Collecting Sleep Data

For Dr Chris Seton to correctly diagnose your child’s sleep problem and provide a tailor made treatment plan he’ll need some sleep data. So you or your child will thus need to record a daily Sleep Log for 21 days.

Each morning this will take about 1 or 2 minutes to fill in either via the SleepShack site or on a mobile phone.

SleepShack Program

Upon detailed analysis of your child’s SleepShack Questionnaire & Sleep Log, Dr Chris Seton will personally develop a 6 week Sleep Treatment Plan tailor made to address your child’s sleep issues.

This program will include a detailed Sleep Analysis for your child, looking at Sleep Latency, Sleep Efficiency & Duration as well as determining if your child has a late body clock. (Program is longer in this case.)

The SleepShack Treatment Program will then prescribe times when to go to bed, get up out of bed, present medically researched strategies to maximise your child’s sleep, and tools from Clinical Psychologist Dr Amanda Gamble on your child managing their thoughts and emotions at night.

The Dream Team

Dr Chris Seton,Paediatric and Adolescent Sleep Physician

Dr Chris Seton — Paediatric & Adolescent Sleep Physician

Dr Chris Seton is a Paediatric & Adolescent Sleep Physician working in Sydney at Children’s Hospital Westmead, St Vincent’s Hospital, the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, and Sydney Adventist Hospital. His keen interest in children’s sleep led to his appointment as Australia’s first Specialist Sleep Paediatrician. Based on this success, he founded, and is Medical Director of Australia’s first private Paediatric Sleep Unit at Sydney Adventist Hospital.

Dr Seton continues to diagnose and treat sleep disorders in children of all ages, but is particularly passionate about adolescent sleep issues and the potential for SleepShack to provide widespread benefits through its online treatment program.

To make an appointment to see Dr Seton at one of his Sydney Clinics please call Colleen on 0423 523 840

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Dr Amanda Gamble — Clinical Psychologist

Dr Amanda Gamble is a Clinical Psychologist specialising in the treatment of sleep and emotional disorders in children and adults. For the past 10 years, Amanda has worked as a research fellow at the Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research. Her published research evaluates treatment programs for young people with sleep and emotional disorders with her most recent work investigating the impact of electronic devices (e.g. computers, mobiles) on teenage sleep patterns.  In private practice Amanda especially enjoys working with children and adolescents experiencing sleep and emotional difficulties.

To make an appointment to see Dr Gamble, please call 02 9114 0000.

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Ginni Seton — SleepShack Founder & Manager

Ginni Seton is a Marketing Consultant with over 15 years experience in the advertising and marketing industry, specialising in healthcare brands. Ginni has previously held roles as Marketing Manager for World Expeditions and Advertising Manager for Tourism Australia. Ginni also worked in several multinational advertising agencies both in Australia and Asia, overseeing the creation of many advertising campaigns. Prior to working in advertising and marketing, Ginni was a Registered Nurse at Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney. Ginni is married with 2 children and knows too well the benefit of good sleep for children.

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Frequently Asked Questions


How much sleep per night does my teenager need?

Adolescents need about 9 hours of sleep every night. Regularly not getting enough sleep (chronic sleep deprivation) can affect a teenager's academic performance, lead to more mood swings, a greater disposition to anxiety and depression and a lowered immunity. Even 30 minutes of extra sleep each night makes a difference.

How does melatonin affect my child’s sleep?

Melatonin is a hormone that’s produced by the pineal gland in the brain and is important in helping regulate the internal body clock’s cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Being in bright morning light reduces melatonin’s production, making us feel awake, and increases at night making us feel sleepy. This is why it’s often called ‘the hormone of darkness’.

Your blood melatonin level starts to go up about 2 hours before you go to sleep. It helps establish the conditions for sleep and tells your core body temperature to go down slightly at this time.

Having the wrong amount of melatonin at the wrong time can cause problems with your child’s sleep. If your child has a late body clock (see below), their melatonin levels are too low at night causing your teen to feel awake and conversely too high in the morning resulting in a tired and grumpy teenager who doesn’t want to get out of bed. This is a bit like permanent jetlag. If this sounds all too familiar, SleepShack detects and corrects this problem.

How does the body clock affect my child’s sleep?

Adults and children prefer to sleep at night and be up during the day. This isn’t due to habit, it’s driven by the body clock. Even if we don’t know what time it is, we still do things in cycles that go for about 24 hours and these are called circadian rhythms.

The cycle of sleep and wake is one of the most obvious circadian rhythms in humans. Sleepiness is highest at night and lowest in the day. At night, we get the best quality sleep, and the longest blocks of sleep without waking up. Sleep during the day is more broken up. It tends to be lighter as well. This means we sleep less. Melatonin and body temperature are also well known circadian rhythms and driven by the body clock. At night, core body temperature is low and levels of melatonin are high.

Getting these rhythms aligned with each other as well as the external environment gives your child the best chance for good quality sleep.

My child’s a ‘night owl’. Is this a problem?

A common sleep problem for teenagers (occurring in 15% or about 1 in 6 teens) is the tendency to have a ‘late body clock’. Our body clock tells us when to sleep and when to be awake. Adolescents with a late body clock are somewhat paradoxically more tired in the mornings. This compares to tired adults who are more tired in the evenings especially after a busy and/or active day.

The colloquial term you might have used if your child has a late body clock is calling them ‘a night owl’ where they are wide awake late at night and very sleepy in the mornings. The medical term for this sleep behavior is ‘Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome’ or DSPS. If your child has DSPS, then it will feel like your child is permanently jetlagged. They’ll find it hard to go to sleep at bedtime as their brain is wide awake, and they find it even harder to get up for school as they’re melatonin levels are high (when they should be low). Delayed Sleep Phasing is one of the problems treated by SleepShack.

Does the timing of sleep change with puberty?

The teenage years are a time of some major shifts in the body clock, an internal structure that drives our daily rhythms. The body clock undergoes some important changes with puberty, specifically the timing of certain hormones change to cause the body to want to go to sleep later. So a ten year old may be sleepy and ready for bed at 9pm but at 15, doesn’t feel at all sleepy even by 11pm.

The hormone melatonin starts to be secreted as we start
 feeling ready for bed. Melatonin works with the body clock to help us fall asleep easily. From the onset of puberty this hormone kicks in at a later clock time than in childhood. Thus, young people who are past puberty tend to stay up longer in the evenings than they did when they were younger.

My teenager snores. Is this a problem?

Snoring tends to happen when the flow of air out of the lungs and through the mouth and nose becomes disrupted. Snoring can be a sign of a more serious issue with blockages in these airways. This more significant snoring is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and leads to your teenager feeling tired during the day, exhibiting behavioural problems, reduced ability to learn, minimised ability to retain information and leading to mood swings, depression & anxiety.

There are a few reasons that teens might snore to the point of having sleep-disordered breathing. One of the big culprits can be the tonsils or adenoids. If these become enlarged, they can interfere with the airflow through the throat, mouth and nose. Being an obese teen can also increase your child's risk of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. Other risk factors related to sleep-disordered breathing are a small jaw or small airway, a family history of sleep apnea or a history of wheeze or cough at night.

Snoring in your child should always be investigated. If your child snores then you should see your GP about this issue who may refer you to a Sleep Paediatrician. The assessment of snoring requires a face to face consultation. SleepShack does not assess or treat snoring.

Why do teenagers often sleep in on the weekend?

Many parents of teenagers complain about their teen sleeping in, especially on weekends. During a normal week, teenagers become more and more sleep deprived from Monday through to Friday. With no particular need to get up on a weekend, sleeping in till all hours of the morning or afternoon seems the natural thing to do. Research has confirmed that as adolescents get older they go to bed later, sleep less, and have very different sleep times on weekdays compared to weekends. The time of getting up on weekends can shift by one and a half hours in 12-14 year olds as puberty kicks in. Long weekend sleep ins are evidence of weekday sleep deprivation.

A common experience for teenagers is the Monday morning blues. This is in part because they’re back to school after the weekend. An additional cause is the shift in their body clock over the weekend; going to bed later and later on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, making an early get up time on Monday morning very difficult. Young people can be groggy for hours on a Monday morning because their body wants to catch up on its need for deep sleep. It’s like the spring daylight saving time shift, but it involves a body clock change of more hours and it happens every week. Interestingly teens with late body clocks are sleepiest on Mondays but those with insufficient sleep are sleepiest on Fridays.

What’s happening when my teenage child sleeps?

Short answer – a lot! As your child sleeps, their brain pass’s through five stages of sleep. NREM (Non Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is made up of 4 stages and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is the last stage. Together, NREM sleep stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM sleep make up a sleep cycle. One complete sleep cycle lasts about 90 to 120 minutes. So during an average night's sleep, your child will experience about four or five cycles of sleep.

In the early stages of NREM sleep (Stages 1 and 2) your child will awaken easily and may not even realize they’ve been sleeping. During these stages, eye movements slow down and eventually stop, heart and breathing rates slow down, and body temperature decreases.

In the deeper stages (Stages 3 and 4) it’s very difficult to wake your child up, and if they are woken they’re likely to feel disoriented and confused. In NREM sleep your child’s muscles are more relaxed than when they’re awake but they’re able to move (although they generally don’t because the brain is not sending signals to the muscles to move).

REM sleep is more active. Breathing and heart rate become irregular, your child’s eyes move rapidly back and forth under they’re eyelids, and control of their body temperature is impaired so they don’t sweat when they’re hot or shiver when they’re cold. Below the neck however, your child is inactive because the nerve impulses that travel down the spinal cord to body muscles are blocked. It’s during this sleep stage that your child has their most vivid dreams.

REM sleep and NREM Stages 3 and 4 are the most refreshing of the sleep stages and it is this type of sleep that your child craves when very tired.


What sleep problems does SleepShack help with?

If followed correctly, the SleepShack Program will significantly improve the sleep of a child if they have some of the following sleep issues: they’re regularly unable to get around 9 hours sleep on school nights, cannot fall asleep till very late at night, its difficult to get your child out of bed on a school morning and they’re groggy and grumpy after wakening, they’re tired for most of the school day, your child sleeps-in on weekends & school holidays often till late morning, your child wakes frequently during the night and has difficulty getting back to sleep and has a late body clocks (i.e. a night owl, see explanation above).

What other behavioural/lifestyle issues will SleepShack help with?

The SleepShack Program is designed to treat the following behaviours in your child: poor academic performance at school, reduced ability to learn, reduced ability to listen & concentrate, frequent mood swings, negativity & anxiety, reduced ability to problem solve, problems with impulse control leading to greater risk taking behaviours and your child regularly using electronic devices (such as iPod Touch, iPhone, computer etc) immediately before &/or after bedtime.

What sleep problems does SleepShack not help with?

SleepShack treats many but not all sleep problems. For example SleepShack is not appropriate if your child is a heavy snorer, has Obstructive Sleep Apnea (i.e. obstruction of the upper airway) or suffers from Periodic Leg Movements.

What is the SleepShack Sleep Log and why does it need to be filled in daily?

The Sleep Log is essentially a roadmap of your child’s sleep over a period of 3 weeks. It records your child’s sleeping and waking times with related information and can be filled in by your child or by you.

The Sleep Log allows your child to monitor when they go to bed and get up in the morning, how long it takes them to fall asleep and how often they wake during the night. It also allows your child to record any naps during the day.

The Sleep Log, analysed by Dr Seton, is a necessary resource in the diagnosis and treatment of your child’s sleep problems including circadian rhythm sleep disorders. In addition to being a useful tool for Dr Seton, a sleep log can help make teens more aware of the parameters affecting their sleep.

Filling in the Sleep Log will take about a minute or 2 a day and can be completed via the SleepShack website or via your mobile phone.

How do I motivate my child to undertake and complete the SleepShack Program?

Research reveals a teen’s perception of their sleep deprivation is very low or non-existent. They lack insight into their sleepiness and lack insight into the effects this deprivation has on their daily life. Your child will thus need all your support and encouragement to complete the SleepShack Program.

Try to find something that individually motivates them (e.g. once sleep is improved they’ll perform better at sport or learn quicker or feel happier) and constantly re-iterate this benefit to them. Assist them in completing their SleepShack Questionnaire and remind them to fill in their SleepShack Diary. Once their Treatment Plan is ready, sit with them and together read through all the treatment information. Plus help them follow it every night and every morning.

Why does SleepShack cost $240?

SleepShack has been costed to ensure it’s significantly less than booking face to face consultations with Dr Seton and Dr Gamble. The price also reflects the personal time Dr Seton will spend in analyzing your child’s SleepShack Questionnaire and Diary and developing a tailor made sleep treatment plan. However if you prefer to see Dr Seton or Dr Gamble at their clinic, rather than undertaking the SleepShack Program you are most welcome to do so. Their contact details can be found in “Dream Team”.

Why doesn’t Medicare cover SleepShack?

Medicare does not currently support online medical services like SleepShack. However SleepShack will continue to lobby Medicare Australia to get approval for a Medicare Benefit and thus reducing the future out of pocket expense for parents.

How secure is SleepShack?

The SleepShack website is private and secure. We take protecting your privacy and information very seriously.

We work hard to ensure that your details are secure and we will never share them with any other third party unless required to do so by law. We use SSL technology to ensure your transaction is secure by encrypting communications between you and our servers making sure data cannot be intercepted and read by anyone. We do not store your credit card details. We use one of Australia's leading payment providers, PayPal Australia, to process your transactions.

Our Partners

The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research and the Woolcock Clinic has over 200 medical researchers and doctors working to uncover the causes of diseases and find better treatments. With specialised Sleep Clinics for adults and children, breathing and sleep disorders can be successfully diagnosed and managed.

Family Zone gives you complete control over what your kids are doing online, and when and where they are doing it. As a SleepShack member, sign up to Family Zone now.

The Sleep Connection meets the growing need to educate students, teachers and parents in schools on the current levels of sleep deprivation in children and the importance of their sleep health. Offering practical strategies and tools, it delivers solutions for your child to gain a better night’s sleep.