It is common for children with autism spectrum disorder to have sleep problems. These problems can include difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently, and moving around a lot in their sleep.
What causes these problems?
It is thought that these sleep problems are most often caused by
abnormalities in some of the chemicals that are present in the body and brain like melatonin, serotonin, and GABA. There are also behavioral and environmental reasons for sleep problems, which means that some of the problem can be accounted for by the time/place/surroundings/people involved in sleep time for these children.
What can you do to help your child with autism to sleep better?
The first step is to take a look at the way that sleep time is taking place. Is there a calm down period, a quiet and darkened space for sleep? If you are still having challenges, it is time to seek professional help. Sleep is absolutely critical for healthy development. Good sleep can improve behavior and other challenges that may arise in children with autism.
Dr. Paul, a board certified child psychiatrist, can help you identify the sleep issue and create a plan to help your child sleep better. You can schedule a free consultation here to see if your child is a good candidate for this approach.