By Peter Manley
We all love our children, and naturally, we want the absolute best for them in body, mind, and spirit. Part of what’s best for your child, of course, is getting a healthy amount of sleep. When your child gets the amount of sleep he/she needs, he/she will be energized, positive, and ready to start the day when they wake.
If your child has ADHD or Asperger Syndrome (ASD), he or she naturally may have a harder time falling asleep. Because of this, you have to pay a little more mind to make sure they’re being set up for sleep success.
If your child is having a hard time sleeping at night, you may notice one or more of the following:
- He/she has a hard time settling down for bed.
- He/she can’t turn his/her brain off to fall asleep.
- He/she wakes up throughout the night due to restlessness, which further interrupts sleep.
The good news is that even the smallest improvements in sleep can help your child in the long run. In fact, several studies have shown that even getting thirty more minutes of sleep can help your child have an easier time focusing and behaving in school.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your child’s sleep, we’re here to help. Below you’ll find five effective tips to help your child with ADHD or ASD relax and enjoy a better and more restorative sleep.
1. Develop a consistent schedule
In an effort to create a healthy routine for your child, sticking to a consistent schedule will help your child’s brain naturally relax and unwind by a certain time. Following the concept of a consistent schedule, plan a nightly routine for your child as well, such as when to eat, bathe, brush teeth, read, and so forth. The thing is, children with ADHD or ASD benefit from a routine more than other children. Help your child get in the mode of bedtime with consistency.
2. Make exercise a daily habit
For all children but especially children with ADHD or ASD, exercise is extremely helpful in getting a good night’s rest. As a general rule of thumb, aim to make sure your child gets at least an hour of exercise every day. To make exercise fun, try doing activities as a family or having your child do something he/she loves, such as sports or exploring nature. In addition to helping your child sleep better at night, this will also keep them in good physical shape.
3. Set up your child’s room for ideal sleeping conditions
Kids who have ADHD or ASD are especially sensitive to even the smallest disturbances, including light and sounds. To block out the sounds of the neighborhood or the house, try turning on white noise audio to block the other sounds out. You can download an app, play a video from YouTube, or simply run an air purifier in their room.
As for light, try to keep your child’s room as dark as possible. Aside from turning off all lights and closing your child’s bedroom door, one of the best ways to eliminate light in his/her bedroom is by using blackout curtains. Having too much light at nighttime can mess with your child’s melatonin production, which leads to an even harder time getting sleep.