Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects the way people communicate with and relate to others, as well as how they experience the world around them. While most children with ASD have sleep problems at some point, it's not clear how many go on to have persistent sleep issues. Sleep problems in people with ASD may be related to medical conditions, sensory issues, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or other sleep disorders. Some studies have also shown a link between sleep problems in children with ASD and increased anxiety in parents.
In this article, we’ll discuss the issue of sleep problems for people with autism and learn how to help someone with autism sleep.
How to help someone with autism sleep
To help someone with autism sleep, it’s important to understand their condition and try different approaches to help facilitate a better night’s sleep. For example, you might want to consider these strategies:
Keep them active during the day
Make sure they get enough exercise during the day. Exercise helps burn off energy, which makes you feel tired and promotes deep sleep. It also can reduce anxiety and stress, which often interfere with healthy sleep patterns. If they are restless or hyperactive during the day, encourage them to take a break from screen time by engaging in activities that require some physical movement.
For example, see if you can take a walk together around the block, go for a bike ride on safe trails that don't have too much traffic or stop at a park to play and burn off energy. If you live close enough to walk home from school each day (and there aren't any safety concerns), consider encouraging your child's teachers to let him or her run free outside instead of sitting quietly at their desks until it's time for dismissal—even if this means losing some academic instructional time!
Create a suitable environment for them to fall asleep
Make sure that they get plenty of restful sleep each night by creating an environment conducive to restful slumber: Turn off all electronics before bedtime; turn off lights in rooms other than where he or she sleeps and ensure there aren’t any external noises to distract them. It’s also a good idea to consider getting the right bed to withstand outbursts if the person is prone to meltdowns.
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What is autism spectrum disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects the way people communicate with and relate to others, as well as how they experience the world around them.
ASD is often referred to as "autism", but it's actually one of three related conditions on the autism spectrum: autism, Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Although these conditions all fall under the umbrella of ASD, they vary widely in their symptoms, severity and treatment options.
In most cases, ASD begins in early childhood and lasts throughout life. The exact cause isn't known at this stage in research; however there may be a genetic component involved as well as environmental factors such as exposure to toxins or infections during pregnancy.
How does ASD affect sleep?
While most people with ASD have sleep problems at some point, it's not clear how many go on to have persistent sleep issues. Some research indicates that sleep problems in people with ASD may be related to medical conditions, sensory issues, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or other sleep disorders. Some studies have shown a link between sleep problems in children with ASD and increased anxiety in parents.
It's important to remember that sleep problems in people with ASD may be related to medical conditions, sensory issues, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or other sleep disorders.
Sleep problems impact carers too
When someone with autism has trouble sleeping, it can cause stress for everyone involved. Some studies have also shown a link between sleep problems in those with ASD and increased anxiety in carers. While this may be due to the fact that the person with autism often has sensory issues and needs their environment to feel safe and secure, it's still important for carers to get some sleep themselves.
Carers and those living with someone who has ASD are likely to feel guilty about their sleep problems, frustrated that they can't help them, anxious about their future and anxious about their own physical health and well-being if they don't get enough restful sleep themselves.
Don’t be afraid to seek medical guidance
The first step in helping people with ASD sleep better is getting a proper diagnosis. If they have autism, it’s important to work with their doctor to try to pinpoint any possible causes of their sleep problems and develop treatment options. Typically, doctors will recommend getting a medical diagnosis before considering behavioural treatments for autism-related insomnia.
If you need help finding an experienced doctor who can evaluate whether they have any sleep disorders or other disorders that could be contributing to his or her poor sleep habits, contact your GP or health specialist. They can provide support and advocacy efforts designed to help people with sleep issues live healthy lives.
As you can see, autism is a complex condition that affects many aspects of life. That said, there are ways to help them get more and better quality sleep. You can talk with their doctor about possible causes of sleep problems and develop treatment options together. If needed, you may also want to consider medications or other therapies that can help improve their quality of life as well as yours!