Speech Therapy

Sleep Problems in Autistic Children

Sleep is the most essential routine of human cycle. But, not everybody is fortunate enough to get a good sleep. And if your child is autistic, you know the problems that he/she faces because of this. When compared to normal children and adults, autistic ones have either a difficulty sleeping or suffer sluggishness after sleep.

Sleep problems in autistic children and adults is very common, especially more if they also are suffering from Asperger’s syndrome.

Sleep Problems: Autistic children and adults usually suffer from insomnia.

  • In insomnia, a person would either have difficulty initiating sleep or in maintaining a good sleep. Autistic children usually tend to exhibit both these insomnia symptoms. Studies suggest that almost 73 percent of both autistic and Asperger’s sufferers possess insomnia while the percentage comes down to 50 when it comes to a normal child.
  • Studies also suggest that, these in children problems tend to grow with the existence of Asperger’s syndrome. The same goes with Asperger’s adults.

Reason Behind Sleep Problems: The main reason for the existence of insomnia in autistic children and adults is anxiety. Autistic sufferers are anxious about the procedure to sleep or about not getting sleep.

  • In either case they tend to suffer from sleeplessness until the early hours in the morning and once they sleep they might end up waking up in the noon. this phenomenon is common among autistic adolescents.
  • Typical sleep disorders in autism like, delayed phase sleep syndrome, circadian rhythm disorder and hyperactivity have an affect on the sleeping mechanism in the brain causing late sleeps or sleeplessness.

Improving Sleep in Autistic Sufferers: Insomnia can have a severe effect on the behavioural patterns of an autistic child. It is necessary to address this issue in the childhood and therapists are there to help with this problem. Though there might not be any permanent solution, it is effective in the long run.

  • Autistics have a habit of sticking to their routines. The same routine development regarding sleep would also encourage better sleep.
  • Reserve a bedroom for the child with no other activities of stimulation like, books, TV and games present in the room.
  • Make sure your child is tired before he/she goes to sleep and never put them to sleep if active.
  • Avoid hot drinks such as coffee at least before 8 hours to bed.
  • Maintain the same time daily while waking the child up.

Sleep problems in autistic children are a common problem and need to be addressed right from childhood so as to promote better sleep and behavioural patterns in the child.

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