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Autism and Sleep: Strategies for a Better Night’s Sleep

Updated: Jun 9

By Taylour Arami

Sleep impacts the well-being and health of every individual, particularly for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Many children with autism experience sleep challenges, which can affect their mood, behavior, learning, and overall quality of life. Understanding these challenges and implementing effective strategies can significantly improve sleep for children with autism, providing them and their families with the rest and rejuvenation they need. This blog explores common sleep issues faced by individuals with autism and offers practical tips for fostering better sleep habits.

Understanding Sleep Challenges in Autism

Children with autism may face various sleep-related challenges, including frequent awakenings during the night, difficulty falling asleep,  early morning wake-ups, and less overall sleep. These issues may stem from a range of factors, such as sensory sensitivities, anxiety, difficulty understanding and adhering to bedtime routines, or underlying medical conditions.


 Strategies for a Better Night’s Sleep

  1. Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine Creating and maintaining a consistent bedtime routine can significantly aid sleep. The routine should be calming and predictable, with activities that help the child wind down. This could include a bath, reading a book, or listening to soft music. The key is consistency and predictability, which help signal to the child that it’s time to sleep.

  2. Create an Autism-Friendly Sleep Environment Take measures to ensure the sleep environment is comfortable and conducive to sleep. This might involve adjusting lighting, reducing noise, or incorporating weighted blankets if they provide comfort. Changing the environment to fit the specific needs of children with sensory sensitivities is crucial.

  3. Limit Stimulants and Screen Time Reduce exposure to stimulants such as sugar and caffeine, specifically in the hours leading up to bedtime. Additionally, limit screen time from devices like tablets, smartphones, and televisions, as the blue light emitted can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

  4. Incorporate Physical Activity into the Day Regular physical activity can improve sleep quality. However, it’s imperative to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as it can have the opposite effect. Try to schedule any intense activities earlier in the day.

  5. Consider Dietary Impacts Be mindful of how diet might affect sleep. Some foods and drinks can be stimulating, while others can promote sleep. Working with a nutritionist and other healthcare providers can help you identify any potential dietary adjustments that might improve sleep.

  6. Address Anxiety or Stress Children with autism may experience anxiety or stress that can interfere with sleep. Techniques such as mindfulness and relaxation exercises, help to alleviate these feelings and promote better sleep. In the event that these techniques are unsuccessful, a mental health professional or another provider may provide more successful support strategies.

  7. Consult with Healthcare Professionals If sleep problems persist, consulting with a healthcare provider may be beneficial. They can help identify any underlying medical conditions affecting sleep and provide appropriate interventions. Consulting your ABA therapist may also be helpful.

  8. Sleep Tracking and Adjustments Monitoring sleep patterns provides valuable insights into what helps or hinders sleep. Keep a sleep diary or consider using a sleep tracker to gather data to help you make informed adjustments to sleep routines and strategies.

Conclusion

While sleep challenges are common in children with autism, implementing targeted strategies can make a significant difference. By understanding your child’s unique needs and creating a supportive sleep environment, you can help improve their sleep quality, which in turn can enhance their overall well-being and daily functioning. Remember, even the smallest changes can lead to significant improvements, and a good night’s sleep is within reach with the right approach and support.


For more resources and specialized strategies on supporting individuals with verbal autism, consider exploring “Verbal Autism Pro,” a platform dedicated to providing insights, tools, and community support for enhancing communication and quality of life for those with autism.


Verbal AUTISM provides the most practical app that makes it easier for children with autism to speak as well as providing all the tools needed to effectively teach. Available on Apple App Store and on Google Play Store.

Taylour Arami is an esteemed co-founder alongside Amir Arami of Verbal AUTISM and Verbal Academic Support, an innovative educational app designed to support individuals with communication challenges. Her passion for enhancing the educational experiences of those on the autism spectrum and with similar needs is evident in her dedication to the app’s development and outreach. With a background in education and technology, Taylour brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the team, ensuring that Verbal apps remain at the forefront of educational innovation. Her expertise in curriculum design and instructional technology has been instrumental in creating an app that is not only user-friendly but also deeply impactful in its ability to tailor learning experiences to individual needs.Taylour’s commitment to the cause is personal and profound. Working closely with users, families, and educators, she actively seeks feedback and ideas to continually enhance the app’s features and usability. Her vision is to create an inclusive learning environment that acknowledges and celebrates the diversity of learners, empowering them to reach their full potential. Beyond her with the Vebal brand, Taylour is an advocate for educational equity, participating in discussions and initiatives that aim to provide equal opportunities for all learners, regardless of their communication abilities. Her work with Amir Arami is not just a professional partnership but a shared journey of commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals who benefit from their app. As a credentialled Special Education teacher, with a M.Ed. in Special Education degree, Taylour Arami’s influence in the field of educational technology and her unwavering support for the community she serves make her a respected figure and an inspirational leader. Her efforts, in tandem with the Verbal Academic Support team, continue to break new ground in creating accessible, engaging, and effective learning tools for individuals with unique learning needs. Website: https://www.verbalautism.com/

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