My Autistic child isn't sleeping
Sleep is necessary for the child and parents, if they're not sleeping you're not sleeping. Lack of sleep can be caused by anxiety, sensitivity or problems with their hormone melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in your body. It helps control your sleep patterns. Please ask your doctor for more information about melatonin before taking it
How you can help your child sleep
The first step you should take is keeping track of their sleeping habits:
- when they sleep
- when they wake up
- how long
- what time
A sleep diary will help you keep track of what is most common and what is unusual. You can also show this diary to your doctor to get more advice and give them a better understanding of their routine.
The Second step is to stick to a bed time routine. Keeping them in the routine will let them know when they should be in bed and it will make their body used to going to sleep at that time. Having a bath before bed can make them tired which will help them fall to sleep faster. Our evening routine can help your child visualise what they should be doing before bed.
Thirdly, make sure their bedroom and bed are in the best sleeping environment for them. Keep the bedroom dark, with no harsh lights. If they use electronics before bed try taking it away or making them use electronics in the living room/play room before going to bed so that they can associate their bedroom with sleeping. If they are using electronics before bed make sure they have a soft lamp and the devices is on night mode. Make sure the room is quiet, use ear plugs if you think this will help. Make sure all devices are off or unplugged because they can create a continual noise which can be distracting. Weighted blankets have been found to be very comforting and effective in making Autistic children fall asleep, they can be relaxing and feel like hug.
Keep your routine simple and visual, let your child know what time is bed time and make them tired before bed. Keeping their bedroom dark and peaceful will allow them to fall asleep quicker. If these tricks don't work please consult with a GP as they will be able to prescribe medicine that can help.