Sleeping problems are common among children with autism, and it can be very challenging for parents and caregivers. Before I was able to get my son on a regular sleep schedule, it was absolutely horrible. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing 10 Trustworthy Strategies for Helping Autistic Children Get a Good Night’s Sleep. These strategies below include establishing a consistent bedtime routine, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and using calming techniques.
10 Strategies for Helping Autistic Children Get a Good Night’s Sleep
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine: Children with autism benefit from routines. Once I was able to establish a consistent bedtime routine for my son, I saw significant improvement in his sleeping patterns. It took a while to get him to start going to sleep at the times I needed him to but repetition and determination are the keys to success. Bedtime routines can include taking a nice warm bath, dimming the lights around the house, and then doing activities such as brushing their teeth and hair then reading a book, or listening to calming music. I also give my son leg massages sometimes before we get ready for bed if he’s extremely active during the day and that really helps with restless legs!
- Create a comfortable sleep environment: Having a comfortable sleep environment can make a huge difference in helping autistic children get a good night’s sleep. This may include a comfortable bed and bedding (for example, my son prefers silky pillowcases over other ones), a room that is not too hot or cold, and minimal noise and light.
- Use calming techniques: Such as giving them a massage, turning on some light sleep music, or giving them a weighted blanket.
- Consider using white noise: White noise is amazing and can help mask outside noise and create a soothing and consistent sound environment (especially if you live near a road that gets traffic). You might be interested in this shusher. It helped us so much when we needed it!
- Limit screen time before bed: Removing screen time before bed has been extremely helpful for my son. I noticed it definitely helps him fall asleep faster and calms him down more.
- Avoid any caffeine: Caffeine can definitely interfere with sleep, so it’s very important to limit or avoid caffeinated beverages and foods close to bedtime.
- Use a consistent sleep schedule: Having a consistent sleep schedule along with a bedtime routine can help regulate sleep patterns and improve sleep quality. This means if your child misses a nap and it’s too late for them to nap but they want to nap, try your best to keep them up until it’s bedtime.
- Avoid napping: If your child is old enough to not need a nap, avoid it at all costs if you can! Napping during the day can disrupt sleep patterns and make it harder for them to fall asleep at night. Avoiding napping is definitely beneficial in helping autistic children get a good night’s sleep.
- Encourage physical activity: Regular physical activity! I cannot stress this enough, physical activity can help improve sleep quality, so it’s important to encourage them to be active during the day!
- Consult with a healthcare professional: If sleep problems persist despite trying these strategies, it may be helpful to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a pediatrician or sleep specialist. They may have additional strategies in helping autistic children get a good night’s sleep.
This Liquid Multimineral contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs. Promotes Healthy Magnesium Levels, Which is Important for Normal Sleep Regulation! This has been used by many parents in autism groups that I’m in and it’s great for helping autistic children get a good night’s sleep. My son loves it with soy milk!
Plant-Based Foods That Also Promote Sleep
Some plant-based foods can be helpful in promoting sleep for children with autism. Here’s a list to try:
- Cherries: Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, and help regulate sleep.
- Almonds: Almonds are a good source of magnesium, which helps with muscle relaxation and sleep.
- Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea is a calming herb that may help promote sleep. It can be enjoyed as a warm drink before bedtime.
- Tofu: Tofu is a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce melatonin.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which can help promote sleep by increasing the production of tryptophan.
As a reminder, it’s important to remember that every person is different and what works for one person may not work for another.
If this post was helpful to you, please consider leaving a comment below to let me know!
You might also like: 25+ Easy Foods for Picky Eaters With Autism
As a member of multiple autism parenting groups online, I observed that many parents struggle with finding easy foods that their autistic children will enjoy. As a parent of an autistic child, I understand how challenging it is to have a picky eater that’s also on the spectrum. I decided to create a list of 25+ Easy Foods for Picky Eaters With Autism based on my own experiences and successes with my son. This list includes finger foods and meals that can be easily customized.