Tips For Your Sensory Kid to Help Them GET TO Sleep and STAY Asleep
I don’t have to convince anyone how important sleep is! Children may have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep—especially those with sensory processing issues. When sleep is difficult for the child, it ends up impacting the WHOLE family. I’m sure tired parents can relate that if your child isn’t sleeping, they will wake you up, and you won’t sleep either. How can we all function the next day on little to no sleep?
Sleep is one of the most important things we can do to improve our health and well-being. For our sensory kids, it is essential to get GOOD sleep because that is where their brains will rest and repair. The brain won’t be able to change if the body can’t shut down and sleep. Poor sleep negatively affects almost every area of functioning and development. The sensory input a child receives during the day will have little to no effect if the body is not well-rested from adequate sleep. Once kids’ sleep improves and their brains rest and repair, they function at a higher level, making it easier to learn, grow, and develop.
Tips to get your child sleeping
Be consistent. Pick a bedtime and stick with it. Also, say no to sweets and caffeine too close to bedtime because that will stimulate your child and their body into thinking that they should be awake, making bedtime that much harder on you and your child.
Try Rhythmic Movements daily before bedtime. These movements replicate the brain-and-body’s own innate system for development.Be sure to get training; we fully recommend MovePlayThrive.com’s Brain & Sensory Course. Learn more: see side panel!
Limit the electronics before bedtime. That means computers,tablets, television, and phones. That can be difficult because sometimes a T.V. show can be a part of the
evening routine, and that is fine. Just don’t let it be a part of your bedtime routine. Screens emit blue light that stimulates a part of the brain that inhibits the release of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps us get sleepy in response to darkness.
Check out your environment. Take a step back and observe your environment. Is the TV on too loud? Is music playing in the background? If there is a lot of noise and bright lights, that can be overstimulating. Change the environment to help calm your sensory child down. Limit the volume on the TV or provide headphones to your older kids. Dim the lights or use lamps. You can even play some soft, calming music you might hear in a spa. Remember, all of the noise and lights will impact your child’s sleep cycle, and those natural hormones like melatonin will have a more challenging time being released in their body.
Try Lycra Sheets. You can find compression sheets on Amazon. Here is one link (see link to the right). It is a super stretchy material where your child will feel super tucked in and snug. This can produce a calming sensation that will make your child sleepy and get them to sleep much faster!
Try a weighted blanket. You can find them on Amazon (see to the right). It is a blanket that has extra weight to provide additional pressure to your child. This pressure will help calm their nervous system and can be very soothing. A calm and relaxed child will help them get sleepy. Be sure to order the right size for your child’s weight.
Learn about Rhythmic Movements in MovePlayThrive's BRAIN & SENSORY FOUNDATIONS COURSE
The Brain and Sensory Foundations®
course gives you comprehensive training and is loaded with bonus resources. Guidance and support to ensure your success using neurodevelopmental movements. Empower yourself with tools for sleep, ADHD, sensory disorders, anxiety, speech,learning, self-regulation, physical challenges, and stress release. Powerful tools that spark transformation for all ages!
About the Author
Amanda Spielberg is a pediatric occupational therapist working in a District 75 school in Queens for the Department of Education. She graduated from Touro College in 2016 and has experience working with preschool and school-age children. She has been a Miss Jaime OT team member since 2018 but has known Jaime before she started her career in occupational therapy. She has observed and learned so much from Jaime, shaping the way she has navigated her career in OT so far. Amanda grew up being diagnosed with a learning disability and understands the struggles that children experience in schools today. This is why she is passionate about helping children succeed in all areas of development.