How to Solve the Autism Sleep Problem Without Going Nuts
Sleep disorders may be even more common in children with autism spectrum disorders. Researchers estimate that between 40% and 80% of children with ASD have difficulty sleeping. The biggest sleep problems among these children include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Inconsistent sleep routines
- Restlessness or poor sleep quality
- Waking early and waking frequently
A lack of a good night’s sleep can affect not only the child but everyone in his or her family. If you’re bleary-eyed from night after night of waking up with your child, there are a number of lifestyle interventions and sleep aids that can help.
1. Prepare your child for sleep well in advance. Begin a nighttime sleep routine with your child with autism at least 2 hours before bedtime. Make sure he or she stops eating and drinking. Avoid having your child do any sports or exercise. If possible shut off access to computers, TV and other electronics. Doing these things helps prepare your child with autism’s brain to slow down and prepare for sleep.
2. Use music. You can play some nice soothing classical music, lullabies, Disney songs or other calmer relaxing music. Music has a power to help with sleep that nothing else does.
3. Minimize distractions in your child’s bedroom. Make sure there are no pets, no TV, no computer, no bright lights and anything else that may distract and cause your child to focus on other things that do not involve sleep.
4. If sleeping is a major problem, consider the role that diet and or food allergies may be playing. Many people do not realize that sleep problems can be related to diet and or food allergies.
5. Consider using an essential oils diffuser. Diffusing oils can help your child to calm down and promote a more restful sleep while also helping to boost your child’s immune system and keep him or her healthier. Lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and combinations of these are some of the best oils to use. You can also try rubbing 1-2 drops on the bottoms of each foot of your child to help promote a more restful sleep.
6. If your child is verbal, ask your child why he or she thinks that he or she isn’t sleeping. You may get valuable insights from him or her that can help you solve the problem.
7. Use a sleep journal to keep track of when your child is or isn’t sleeping.
At World Stem Cell Clinic, we believe that that having an informed parent –in an effort to empower him and his family– is the only way to for us to deliver optimal healthcare. Visit our website to find out more about our services and let us be part of your journey. You are not alone!