Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sleepless Nights Again?

Uhoh. I think we may have been spoiled for too long. We have been sleeping through the night since July, ever since Will has been on the GFCF Diet and other nutritional changes/supplements. Last night Owen quickly slapped me back to reality. Or hopefully it wasn't reality but a glimpse of our past. Let's hope it's the latter.

I just came across a little article that offered tips for helping your child with autism sleep through the night. For those of you who haven't already tried everything under the sun, maybe you might pick up something new.

Top Ten Tips to Help Your Child with Autism Sleep Through the Night

Author: Donna Chambers

Many parents and caregivers of someone on the Autism Spectrum know what it is like to be short on sleep! For some reason, sleep disturbance is a common problem with autism.

Parents have told me so many stories about their childrens unusual sleep habits. Some children literally wander the house or their room all night long.

Recently I talked to a lady who would find her son sleeping in the closet. She was concerned and tied the bifold closet doors closed to keep him out, but he lifted them off the tracks at the bottom and crawled under the doors to get in!

My own grandson woke in the night one night and wedged himself underneath our bed. We were hysterical with panic the next morning until we found him sleeping peacefully under our bed! Obviously these boys both liked the small, confined spaces, and you are better off going with that than fighting against it! If they are not feeling safe and comfortable in their bed, they are probably not going to sleep there or stay there. My grandson stopped getting up at night after we started implementing some of the following tips:

  1. White Noise- Use an air purifier or a fan for white noise.
  2. Prevent Distractions- Heavy curtains, thick carpets, and making sure the door doesn't squeak.
  3. Try a Tent- Let your child try sleeping in a pup tent inside a sleeping bag, many will love the small space. You can also find "bed tents" made just for this purpose by searching online.
  4. Sunlight- Expose your child to sunlight in the morning to regulate the body's production of melatonin.
  5. Supplements- Ask your pediatrician about supplementing with melatonin, it can help normalize the sleep-wake cycle in children with autism.
  6. Heavy Play- Playing with weighted toys, carrying a heavy backpack, pushing, pulling, etc. before bedtime.
  7. Epsom Salts Baths- Try giving your child Epsom Salts Baths before bed. Don't let them drink the bath water!
  8. Bedtime Schedule- Create a PEC's Bedtime Schedule to hang on the wall and use it daily.
  9. Ban Stimulants Before Bedtime- Don't give your child caffeine, sugar, or anything with additives 2 hours before bedtime. Autistic children can be especially sensitive to stimulants and food additives.
  10. Weighted Blankets- A weighted blanket can be a lifesaver for your child and the entire family. You can find quality, washable weighted blankets at Affordable Weighted Blankets.

Article Source:

About the Author:

Donna Chambers, owner of Affordable Weighted Blankets. Donna lives in Chattanooga, TN. with her husband, Robert. She has 3 grown children, and one 6 yr old grandchild, David, with autism. Robert and Donna attend St. Elmo Avenue Baptist Church.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Weighted blankets are the best!!! We purchased ours from DreamCatcher Weighted Blankets at about five years ago and our son couldn't sleep without out. DreamCatchers, was founded by parents of a son on the spectrum and has a blanket exchange program. We have a new one on the way for him and will send the old one in after we receive it to help someone on the DreamCatcher waiting list. Donnie

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