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10 Tips to Help Your Child with Down Syndrome Sleep Better

Is your child anxious about bedtime? Are you struggling to help them settle for bed? Do they sleep in your bed? 

Poor quality of sleep can have an effect on the whole family. Research by Rebecca Stores found that children with sleeping problems had worse daytime behaviours throughout the day resulting in aggression, irritability and hyperactivity. It is not hard to imagine that their parents had really high-stress levels.

Another study from 2008 found that 66% of children with Down Syndrome fall asleep in their parents or sibling's bed, almost 20% woke up early and 40% wake up at least once a night. Let's try to understand and get to the bottom of the problem to improve the quality of your everyday life.

Children with Down Syndrome Might Experience The Following Problems:

  • Bedwetting at night
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Early morning waking
  • Gasping for breath while sleeping
  • Snoring
  • Trouble falling asleep

Your child might have breathing problems or frequent ear infections which will prevent them from getting a full night's sleep. So, if your child has sleeping problems, it's important to consult your doctor.

Once the medical causes are excluded, it’s time to look at behavioural issues. Let’s not forget that even if sleep is disturbed by medical conditions, improving the routine and sleeping conditions might still help your child sleep better.

Quite often children with Down syndrome experience sleep anxiety which means that they don’t find lying in bed relaxing; for them, it’s frustrating and stressful. This feeling also makes it harder for your child to stay asleep once they settle. It's important to not associate kids bedroom with negative emotions and their room should never be used for punishment.

Similarly, to children with autism and other sleep problems, it is important to create a good bedtime routine and sleeping environment.

Things to Consider In Your Child's Bedroom

  • It’s a good idea to lie down in your child’s bed and examine the situation. Is the bed comfortable? Are there any drafts? Can you hear people in the other room or noises from outside? Is the room quiet and calm or are there too many toys, colours, etc?
  • Bedwetting is often an issue in people of all ages with Down syndrome. It’s important to have a quality, fast-drying washable bed pads. Remember, that plastic mattress protectors can be crinkly, uncomfortable and most importantly - dangerous. They can cause sweating and are linked to asthma and other serious illnesses. The eco-friendly PeapodMats are really absorbent and guarantee a quick bed change to help with bedwetting.Girl sitting on the bed covered with PeadpodMat
  • Remove blinking lights and other distracting items, try using a blackout blind
  • Use a white noise machine or toy to block out other noises
  • Keep the child’s bedroom at an ultimate comfortable temperature
  • Let your child sleep with their favourite blanket or toy (but always stick to the safe sleeping guidelines for babies under 1 year old!)

Sleep problems in Children with Down Syndrome

4 Things That Will Help You Create a Successful Bedtime Routine For Children with Down Syndrome

1. Children need to know what happens during the day and night. Keeping to a set bedtime and waking time is crucial even at the weekends. A bedtime routine is also important so try to make them last the same amount of time every day. Because children can’t grasp the meaning of time, it might be a good idea to use a timer, pictures or graphs so your child can relate to them.

2. All toys should be out of sight at bedtime so your child is not encouraged to get up and play. It's OK for your child to keep their favourite cuddly toy for bed. 

3. The whole family should create a safe and relaxing bedtime so your child feels loved and doesn’t think they’re missing out on something.

4. Try to explain to your child why they shouldn’t wake other family members. You might want to hang a picture on your bedroom door with a moon which means it's still night time and your child should go back to bed. 

Family sitting on the bed with PeadpodMat

Creating a safe and calm sleeping space is crucial for a good night's sleep. While creating a successful bedtime routine it's important to consider all things that are important to your family. Setting a bedtime for 7 PM when one of the family members comes home from work at 6:30 PM is not going to work. It might take some time before you will see the results but perseverance is the key to success. 

Do you have any tips that made your bedtime routine easier? Let us know in the comments.  

Need Better Protection from Bedwetting? Click on the image to learn more!

ï»żPeapodMats Bedwetting Mattress Protector

Sources: www.intechopen.com, www.uhhospitals.org, www.sleephelp.org, library.down-syndrome.org, valleysleepcenter.com, www.tuck.com

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 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 I’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. Haven’t had a wet night so far so I can’t comment on the absorption but the mat is great! Size is perfect for a fidget bum and doesn’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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