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10 Tips to Help Your Child with Autism Sleep Better

Does your child take hours to settle down to sleep? Is your child frequently waking up at night? Are they waking everyone in the household up early in the morning?Ā 

Insomnia is a problem that many children with autism and their families face. Children with autism find tiredness a lot harder to cope with and it can lead to an escalation of challenging behaviours including hyperactivity, aggressiveness and tantrums. Even paediatricians do not fully understand the underlying causes of autism sleep disorders,Ā but a few simpleĀ adjustments to theĀ bedtime routine can make a big difference.

Here are our top 10 tips to help you and your child get the sleep you deserve.Ā 

1. Create a bedtime routine and follow through - every day!Ā Children with autism areĀ calmer and more settled if they know whatā€™s happening next. Itā€™s a good idea to sit down with a child, talk through the routine and use pictures or stickers to represent each activity. The simpler, the better. It could be something like this: Bath, book, quiet time, bed. Let your childĀ choose the place to stick the chart so it is always available for themĀ to check.

Children with autism bedtime routine chart



2. Ensure there are plenty of activities during the day. Many parents report that spending a lot of time outside has a positive impact on their child's bedtime routine.Ā 

3. Make sure the room is dark and calm. All stimuli should be kept to a minimum.Ā 

4. Avoid using scratchy pyjamas or sheets.Ā 

5. Children with autism might find potty training at night uncomfortable. If your child wets the bedĀ at night, make sure you are well prepared for bed changes in the middle of the night and remain calm. This can be particularly challenging if your child refuses to wear a nappy. The most convenient and safest bed protection, in this case, would be washable bed pads -Ā PeapodMats. TheyĀ absorb the liquid quickly reducing the childā€™s discomfort. If your child has colour preferences, itā€™s worth stocking up on the same items. This will reduce the stress and irritation in the child. While it might not sound important right now, imagine having a favourite blanket and someone taking it away from you to replace it with a different one. You wouldnā€™t be happy, right? For a child with autism, those emotions are a lot more intense!Ā 

Boys sleeping on the bed covered with PeapodMat



6. Keep the house quiet. Try avoiding using the washing machine, dishwasher and other appliances. If itā€™s street noise or neighbours waking your child up, try using white noiseĀ during the night. People of all ages use white and pink noise to help them sleep. It ā€˜blocksā€™ the other background noises, helping your child to concentrate on falling asleep and if played all night through, it reduces the chances of waking up. There are reports of white noise helping people with autism settle during the day when surrounding noises become too much.Ā 

7. Avoid giving sugar before bedtime.Ā 

8. No screen-time before bed. It is recommended to limit this to at least an hour before bedtime.Ā 

9. Help your child to relax. You might already know what helps them to settle. It could be a bath, massage or quiet time.Ā 

10. If the child comes to your room, early in the morning, try hanging a picture of a sleeping star on the door so your child knows that it is still time to sleep.

Most importantly, try to get some sleep yourself. Looking after children is exhausting and challenging. If you are struggling, seek medical help to ensure there is no medical reason for your childā€™s sleeping problems.Ā 

We hope these tips help you and your child. Is there something else that helps your little one settle at night? Share your tips in the comments.Ā 

Family sitting on the bed covered with PeapodMat

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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Buy it!

I WISH Iā€™d found this sooner. I have an 8 yr old boy that still has accidents at night and sleeps in a top bunk. I did NOT want to put him back in some sort of nappy, and this is the best solution. This has now saved me completely waking up during the night.

Amazing

We haven't started braving night time with no nappies yet - BUT we currently have this on the sofa so any "accidents" dont absolutely ruin it. Wow, my sofa is soft and comfy and any misshaps are sucked up without damaging the fabric. It doesn't slip (like the puppy pads we tried) and is obviously way way more environmentally friendly (Greta would be proud). No nappy nights actually seem like a less daunting prospect with this bad boy on our team. Top marks Peapod, defo recommend.

Hello EC,
We're happy to hear that PeapodMats protect your sofa, don't move and make night time potty training a less daunting prospect!
Thank you for your feedback and all the best,
Team JOIZI

Good product

Wanted to get this as son is sometimes wet at night and wanted to protect the mattress and it does

Hello Jenny,
It's great to hear that you're happy with your PeapodMat and it protects the mattress!
Thank you for your feedback and all the best,
Team JOIZI

So I ordered the large as my daughter still co-sleeps in my bed with me and she fidgets so much in the night! I received my mat last week and put it straight onto my bed. Havenā€™t had a wet night so far so I canā€™t comment on the absorption but the mat is great! Size is perfect for a fidget bum and doesnā€™t move in the night or make noise and the material is soft and comfy!

Hi L L,
We're happy to hear that your PeapodMat doesn't move or make a noise and it's soft and comfy!
Thank you for your feedback and all the best,
Team JOIZI

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