http://ow.ly/iCJe8 The secret to getting enough sleep: FSI Faculty Member Patty Tucker’s interview with CBS New 3/4/13
4 SLEEPING TIPS FOR BABIES AND FAMILIES ONE EXPERT (DR. SASHA CARR) WEIGHS IN ON ADJUSTING TO A BETTER SLEEP SCHEDULE FOR DAYLIGHT SAVINGS AND BEYOND.
Day Light Saving – So what do we do with our Teens? http://ow.ly/iCpTX
RT @fsiinstitute: Taking a poll here: Do you believe that this product would Lull your child to sleep or inhibit your child from… http://t.co/wcCK4l4m
RT @fsiinstitute: “Some wonderful sleep advice given to Todays Parent Magazine Readers by Alanna McGinn, an FSI Certified Infant @… http://t.co/Z5hpKm4x
Tags: autism, children with autism and sleeping problems, helping children with autism sleep, on the spectrum
During the first few months of life, babies ease into a normal cycle of sleep and wakefulness. They gradually reduce the number of daytime naps and start sleeping for longer periods of time at night. But some children continue to have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night, and the problem can persist long after children start school.
Sleep disorders may be even more common in children with autism. Researchers estimate that between 40% and 80% of children with autism have difficulty sleeping. The biggest sleep problems among these children include:
difficulty falling asleep
inconsistent sleep routines
restlessness or poor sleep quality
A lack of a good night’s sleep can affect not only the child, but everyone in his or her family. If you’re bleary-eyed from night after night of waking up with your child, there are a number of lifestyle interventions and sleep aids that can help.
What causes sleep disorders in children with autism?
Researchers don’t know for sure why autistic children have problems with sleep, but they have several theories. The first has to do with social cues. People know when it’s time to go to sleep at night thanks to the normal cycles of light and dark and the body’s circadian rhythms. But they also use social cues. For example, children may see their siblings getting ready for bed. Children with autism, who often have difficulty communicating, may misinterpret or fail to understand these cues.
Another theory has to do with the hormone melatonin, which normally helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. To make melatonin, the body needs an amino acid called tryptophan, which research has found to be either higher or lower than normal in children with autism. Typically, melatonin levels rise in response to darkness (at night) and dip during the daylight hours. Studies have shown that some children with autism don’t release melatonin at the correct times of day. Instead, they have high levels of melatonin during the daytime and lower levels at night.
Another reason children with autism may have trouble falling asleep or awaken in the middle of the night could be an increased sensitivity to outside stimuli, such as touch or sound. While most kids continue to sleep soundly while their mother opens the bedroom door or tucks in the covers, a child with autism might wake up abruptly.
Anxiety is another possible condition that could adversely affect sleep. Children with autism tend to test higher than other children for anxiety.
What kind of effects do sleep problems have?
Not getting a good night’s sleep can have a serious impact on a child’s life and overall health. Research has shown that, in children with autism, there is a connection between lack of sleep and the following characteristics:
increased behavioral problems
poor learning and cognitive performance
But your child isn’t the only person affected. If he or she isn’t sleeping, there’s a good chance you aren’t either. One study shows that the parents of autistic children sleep less, have poorer sleep quality, and wake up earlier than parents of non-autistic children.
How do I know whether my child has a sleep disorder?
Every child needs a slightly different amount of sleep. In general, these are the amounts of sleep children require, by age:
Ages 1-3: 12-14 hours of sleep per day
Ages 3-6: 10-12 hours of sleep per day
Ages 7-12: 10-11 hours of sleep per day
If your child regularly has difficulty falling asleep or wakes up repeatedly throughout the night, it might be a sign of a sleep problem. To know for sure, make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician. The doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist.
It can help to keep a sleep diary for a week to track how much and when your child is sleeping. You can share this diary with your child’s doctor and any specialist involved in treatment.
How can I help my child sleep better?
Sleep medications should only be used as a last resort with children. There are a number of lifestyle changes and natural sleep aids that can improve sleep time and quality in kids with autism:
Avoid giving your child stimulants such as caffeine and sugar before bed.
Establish a nighttime routine: give your child a bath, read a story, and put him or her to bed at the same time every night.
Help your child relax before bed by reading a book, giving a gentle back massage, or turning on soft music. Avoid television, video games, and other stimulating activities just before bedtime.
To prevent sensory distractions during the night, put heavy curtains on your child’s windows to block out the light, install thick carpeting, and make sure the door doesn’t creak.
Ask your pediatrician about giving your child melatonin just before bedtime. This dietary supplement is often used as a sleep aid to help people get over jet lag. It may help normalize sleep-wake cycles in autistic children who have sleeping issues, and research done so far finds that it’s safe and effective.
Try bright-light therapy. Exposing the child to periods of bright light in the morning may help regulate the body’s release of melatonin.
Original Reprint: http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/helping-your-child-with-autism-get-a-good-nights-sleep
Richdale AL. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 1999; vol 41: pp 60-66.
The National Autistic Society: “Sleep and autism: helping your child.”
Meltzer LJ. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 2008; vol 33: pp 380-386.
Andersen IM, Kaczmarska J, McGrew SG, Malow BA. Journal of Child Neurology, 2008; vol 23: pp 482-485.41.085610 -73.524317
For children at all ages: When the sleep structure is solid and there are well defined cues and sleep practices kids feel safe, secure and stable (my positive three s’s). When we lack these things in our sleep routine kids feel scared, in-secure and unstable (my negative three s’s)41.085610 -73.524317
Brief Naps: Good News!
During my nap study, I divided all children into 5 groups based on the total duration of naps at 6 months of age. Those in the briefest nap group had a mean total duration of naps at 6 months of 2.3 hours and the range was 1-2.5 hours. By 9 months of age, the mean total duration of naps had increased to 2.7 hours. So hang in there and expect your brief napper to sleep longer during the day.
But in all the other four groups, the mean total nap duration decreased during this time. This suggests that among about 20% of babies there is a slower maturation of day sleep rhythms. I do not know if post-colicky babies (about 20% of all babies) are over represented in this briefest nap group but I suspect that this is the case. What are your thoughts?
Another piece of good news, by 19-21 months of age when about 80%-90% of babies are taking a single nap, those babies who had been in the briefest nap group have a mean nap duration of 2.2 hours which is similar to the babies in the other 4 groups.
A new study suggests that if mom is depressed, she’s more likely to wake her baby up in the middle of the night, even if the baby is fine. Experts say if that happens occasionally, it’s not a problem.
But if it happens often, it can lead to developmental issues.
In the study, published in the journal Child Development, researchers at Pennsylvania State University observed 45 families over the course of a week. The children ranged in age from 1 month to 2 years. Moms were asked questions about a variety of issues from how they were doing emotionally to the baby’s sleep patterns.
Cameras were also installed to watch how the moms interacted with their babies in the middle of the night.
Here’s what they found: Moms who had higher levels of symptoms of depression were more likely to respond to minor sounds, wake their baby up and nurse them (even if they weren’t hungry) or pick their sleeping child up and put them in bed with them.
It can be a vicious cycle.
“The more sleep you lose, the more likely you are to feel depressed,” says lead author Douglas M. Teti, a professor of human development, psychology and pediatrics at Pennsylvania State University.
But before you blame the moms, Teti is quick to point out there are many other things at play, including family dynamics.
“What happens at night with the baby is a function of other things,” he says. Martial strife may be one of the issues. If things aren’t great with dad, “moms may want the contact comfort and the emotional security,” says Teti.
But for that comfort and security, other things may be sacrificed.
Studies have found children who consistently don’t get a good night’s sleep have a harder time regulating their emotions.
And moms (and dads for that matter) who don’t get a good night’s rest may be less sensitive to their child’s needs and they may not set proper limits.
A consistent lack of sleep can make it hard for kids to bond with their parents – and the wider world.
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Check out this article siting 3 of our Family Sleep Institute graduate certified sleep consultants recommendations!!!!!March 28, 2012 at 11:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: certifi, certified sleep consultant, Dr. Sasha Carr, family sleep consultant, family sleep institute, Jennifer Metter, Kerrin Edmonds, sleep consultant, traveling with baby
Grappling with sleep issues on (and after) a big trip
We’ve been home from our most recent vacation for about 72 hours now, which means our little girls are suffering from what I like to call the post-trip Sleep Slog.
R, the baby, is totally off her game. Predictable 40-minute naps have devolved into random two-hour benders. Even worse: she has been awakening for her first feeding around 11:30 p.m., only five hours after she goes down for the night (previously she’d hold out until at least 2 or 2:30 a.m.).
L, our toddler, has it even worse, resisting naps all together, then fighting bedtime by jumping out of bed an average of 11 times per night. She’s also waking up at ungodly hours—the first morning it was 4 a.m., yesterday it was 4:30.
(Sadly, I am neither joking nor exaggerating.)
Unfortunately these troubles are par for the course; we travel a lot, and whenever we get home, it takes a while for the girls to get back into the swing of things. Add to this the troubles they usually have sleeping on the road in a different room and under different environmental conditions, and…well, let’s just say we grown Villanos have brewed through a lot of coffee around here lately.
Determined to get to the bottom of this phenomenon, I reached out to a number of sleep experts for their take on what I (and therefore you, dear readers) can do to avoid this debacle the next time around. Here’s some advice:
- Stick to the schedule. Kids are creatures of habit, which means that keeping them in step with their biological sleep rhythms is key. If they’re itching to stay up later than usual, make a concerted effort to get bedtime back to normal. “Most parents mistakenly believe that if their child is up late he or she can make it up by sleeping in the next morning, or take a long nap later on,” says Jennifer Metter, a certified family sleep consultant in California. “Unfortunately that is rarely the case.”
- Stick to the set-up. Metter added that parents always should aim for sleeping arrangements that tactically mirror those at home. In other words, unless you co-sleep at home, avoid sharing a king-sized hotel bed with your kids. If options are limited, request a cot for your toddler, or fashion a makeshift “bed” out of couch cushions. If there’s no way around a co-sleeping arrangement, arrange pillows strategically to preserve the spirit of separate sleeping quarters.
- Pay attention to details. Try your best to recreate a comfortable sleep environment, too. If your child relies on a sound machine in his bedroom at home, shell out a few bucks for a white-noise app for your Smartphone (I use BlackBerry, and swear by this one from TMSoft) and use it on the road. Dr. Sasha Carr, a psychologist and sleep expert in New York City, suggests that parents also consider bringing an improvised room-darkening kit by using a dark bedsheet with big hairclips for temporary curtains.
- Bring totems. Most kids have special blankets, stuffed animals or other totems in which they find ultimate comfort. For my daughter, (as much as I wish it were an Ansel Adams photograph or Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”) it’s Minnie Mouse. Kerrin Edmonds, another family sleep consultant in California, says it’s important to bring these items with you when you hit the road. “Things may be different, but at least they’ll have that one familiar thing to take to bed with them,” she notes.
The bottom line: On the road, the whole sleep thing ain’t easy. No matter how well you plan ahead, no matter how diligent you try to be, after a vacation your children will experience some degree of adjustment. To deal with this, Edmonds preached that parents should practice patience. “As long we expect it, re-adjusting won’t be bad, just like Daylight savings,” she said. “As soon as you’re home, jump right back into your normal schedule and supplement with early bedtimes until you have caught up on your children’s sleep debt.”
What techniques do you deploy when you’re traveling to minimize disruptions to your kids’ sleep? Please submit suggestions and insights in the comment field below.