Supportive sleep routines | World Autism Awareness Day

Sleep plays a crucial part in our everyday lives, from the mood you are in, to the physical health of your body - a healthy sleep routine is a connecting factor in happiness and wellness. However, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ rule when it comes to a good sleep routine as we are all unique. This Autism Awareness Day we aim to provide parents with a supportive guide to help autistic children and adults around the globe to sleep better each and every night.

 

Why is autism awareness important?

Every year on April 2nd, autism is brought into the spotlight to raise awareness and build recognition of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Supporters come together to share personal stories, provide support and build acceptance for people with autism through educational talks, fundraisers and by providing opportunities for autistic people to experience a world without limits and judgement.

What can I do to help my autistic child fall asleep more easily?

Research has shown that sleep disorders and disturbance are more common in autistic children who have repetitive behaviours and rituals. If these rituals are not completed, the child may become anxious and restless - with a reported 80% of autistic children suffering from sleep disturbance, it is important to understand and build healthy bedtime routines at an early age that can be continued into adulthood. 

Thanks to Autism Awareness Day, families, parents and careers have shared the most successful tips for maintaining quality sleep throughout the whole night!

1. Create a calm environment 


Adapt the room to reduce sensory sensitivity by using blackout blinds to block out distracting lights and remove unwanted items in the bed which may cause disturbance during the night. A single storage bed is a great solution to help you easily store away the abundance of teddies and toys in your children’s room. 

2. Set a sleep/wake routine


Try to maintain regular bedtimes and morning alarms on both the weekdays and weekends to build a solid routine.

Autism bedtime routine

3. Build sleep associations 


A regular bedtime routine helps to establish associations with sleep which can also support the child with falling asleep alone. This is one of the most effective ways to help reduce sleep disruption, as your child can fall back to sleep with ease if woken up during the night. For example, the low sound of the tv playing in the background or photos of your child asleep in the bedroom will help to build recognised sleep associations. 

4. Daily exercise is key!


Getting enough physical activity during the day can make a big difference to the quality of sleep. Outdoor activities such as a family walk or running around a park can also help in absorbing enough natural light to induce sleep. 

All children are different but by adding these simple steps into your nighttime routines and adapting them to your family life, you can enjoy the simple pleasures of a good night’s sleep!

 

Share your most helpful bedtime routine tips and tricks with the Aspire community over on our Instagram - @aspirestoreuk