Sunday, August 5, 2012

Getting A Better Night's Sleep And Autism

Folks with youngsters on the autism spectrum often are frazzled by unpredictable sleep patters. Routinely, these youngsters are up at all hours going to bed late in the evening and often are up throughout the night. The result of this haphazard sleeping produces parents who are troubled and irritated from sleep deprivation and can also heighten the child's sensitivities where the child has sensitivities to noise, to touch, tenancies to become distracted easily these consequently are aggravated. It becomes a tortuous cycle for both parent and child. Below are some proposals as offered by our support community to help your child -- and you -- improve and more restful sleep : 1 ) Provide activity in the waking hours : Has your son or daughter been physically active enough during the daytime? Providing the opportunity for vigorous activity during the waking hours not only helps offer a natural chemical balance within the body thru the release of endorphins, but also helps healthy exhaustion helpful in inducing sleep. This vigorous activity should be 2-3 hours prior to the planned bedtime. 2 ) Decaffeinate and curb sugary foods : Is your youngster having caffeinated drinks or sweets in the evening? If this is the case try eliminating these or at a minimum keep them in the earlier part of the day. If you serve them, keep deserts for dinner to more natural sugars such as fruits. Proteins are also recommended for the evening meal rather than high starch foods ; try to avoid additives like MSG too. 3 ) Try melatonin : Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by animals and people. Most frequently utilized by adults for jet lag, melatonin supplements help adjust the circadian clock to environmental cycles and is commonly used to regulate the sleeping patterns of many children with ASD and ADHD as they frequently don't appear to produce enough naturally for themselves. While not an FDA-approved drug, it is available in most health food stores and is often endorsed by naturopaths. 4 ) Wind down the noise : Calming down the environment in the household can also help transition to child to bed. An hour before bedtime, try closing down some of the stimulation that excites : turn of the TV and computer games, put on some calming music or no music at all. Turn off some of the lights signal that a time for rest is coming. 5 ) Give a warm bath : They're not only for Saturday nights nowadays. Try making a warm tub part of the pre-bedtime routine. This too can have a relaxing effect. 6 ) Create a routine and stick to it : Taking heaps of naps in the daytime? While a quick controlled sleep (20 mins or thereabouts though not longer) is okay, try to limit longer naps and napping close to bed time. Build a routine using the aforementioned methods, set a regular bedtime and then stick to it. This helps set an expectancy and regularity that children in general, and those with ASD particularly, can find comforting. By: Brian Field1 Article Directory: If you've other suggestions as to how to build sound sleeping routines, please post yours here as well. Sleep well! Brian Field is the co-founder of the Autism Support Network, a free global online community - with members from over 212 countries - connecting families and individuals touched by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with each other, providing support and insight, and serving as a resource guide for treatments, strategies and therapies.

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