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Most children with sensory issues have trouble sleeping. When they can't sleep, neither can their parents, especially mom! Sleep deprivation then trickles down, affecting their day and affecting yours. My youngest son struggles with sleeping and sensory issues. I want to share what I have learned over the years and give some tips that have helped our family.
Your child may have poor sleeping patterns if they:
Children vary with their sensory issues and how it affects them. Some struggle to sleep due to over-stimulation from the day. Others struggle to sleep due to under-stimulation from the day. My advice is to keep a journal to notice your child's pattern.
Some characteristics of sensory issues, and tips on how to "handle them", are the following:
If your child...
1. Doesn't like the feeling of pajamas (or other specific clothes):
2. Doesn't like the feeling of sheets:
3. Gets upset when bathing or showering:
4. Wants to sleep next to someone:
5. Wants stuffed animals or pillows piled on top:
6. Changes positions throughout the night:
7. Must have complete silence when falling asleep:
8. Dislikes the taste of toothpaste:
9. Looks around the room when trying to fall asleep:
10. Complains that the room is too bright (even with lights off):
It also helps to develop a sleep routine for your child. Here are some recommendations that have worked for us:
1. Eat dinner early - about 2 1/2 hours before bed time (this will allow for digestion).
2. Play hard for about 45 minutes before you start the "quiet bedroom" routine.
3. Brush teeth. This is usually not a favorite for most kids, so do this first.
4. Transition to the "calming routine" by dimming the lights and playing classical instrumental music. We use the Alexa for the music.
5. Take a warm bath. Showers can be very stimulating because each stream can feel like a pin prick. If bath time causes problems, then do this step in the morning or before dinner.
6. Read a book together in bed for 20-30 minutes (2-3 books or a chapter book).
7. Sing 1-2 songs. I have a lullaby that I created that I sing to my son, then to all his babies (stuffed animals).
8. Essential Oils. Put a drop of Cedarwood essential oil on neck or behind ears lobes (or use a diffuser). Make sure to use a high quality brand, I prefer Young Living. Most people like to use Lavender, but when I would use it on my son for sleep, it would cause nightmares. It may have been a coincidence, but we switched to Cedarwood instead and it worked for him. (My Young Living referral member number is 12117672)
9. Say a prayer. We recite a scripture (Psalms 4:8), then thank God for our day and blessings.
10. Hugs and Kisses
I hope that these suggestions work for you! And YES I do all of these, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It does take a big chunk of my evening and it does make it hard for my son to have sleepovers, but it is what has worked. I want to add that some nights he still struggles to fall asleep. And I have to go back to square one and keep a journal of what he did and what he ate, until we find the trigger. It is crucial for my son to get a good night's rest!
Remember that each child is different, so you will have to do a "trial and error" until you find what works best. Keep a journal of what you are doing and the outcomes. As their parent, we have to be their advocate and detective to find the best possible solution to their needs. If you have other tips that work for you, please feel free to share!
Author: Debbie Garza
I am a Jesus loving wife, homeschool mom of 2 boys, love to travel, and I'm always looking for ways to earn extra income and work from home. We strive to live a Joy and Valor life, all for the glory of God. With this website, I will share our journey, things that we've learned along the way, and anything that may be useful to empower you to be the best version of yourself.