Sleep problems for children with additional needs are common. Parents may find the following information useful on how to develop good sleep practices and how to avoid sleep difficulties developing:
Supporting your child's sleep routine
- Make sure that your child’s room is quiet and dark.
- Wake the child at a regular hour each morning, so that the circadian cycle is strengthened.
- Keep a regular bedtime for your child.
- Keep room temperature to a comfortable level. High temperatures disturb sleep.
- Environmental noise should be kept to a minimum (no loud TVs).
- Make sure that your child does not go to bed hungry, but do not give drinks/snacks during the night.
- Avoid stimulating activity in the hour before bedtime.
- Do not let your child have prolonged naps in the late afternoon. If your child still needs to sleep, schedule the nap for early afternoon.
- Avoid drinks of cola, chocolate, tea and coffee i.e. caffeine and additives, before bedtime, instead have a warm milk drink.
‘Strategies to Improve Sleep in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: a Parent’s Guide’ is a booklet that contains strategies to help with sleep issues in children and young people with autism spectrum disorder.
Sleep Scotland provides support to families of children and young people with additional support needs (including ADHD) and severe sleep problems.
Many people experience sleep problems at some point in their life, but for children with ASD, sleep can be a challenge, so knowing how to encourage good sleeping practice is beneficial.
If you are looking for more advice, please book an appointment to speak to one of our clinicians.