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Sleep Better! A Guide to Improving Sleep for Children With Special NeedsRead More
By Vincent Mark Durand
When children have recurrent sleep problems, they and their families must deal with negative effects on behavior, mood, social interactions, physical stamina, step-by-step, “how to” instructions for helping children with disabilities get the rest they need. For problems ranging from bedtime tantrums to night waking, parents and caregivers will find a variety of widely tested and easy-to-implement techniques that have already helped hundreds of children with special needs – especially children with autism, Tourette syndrome, and cerebral palsy.
1. Establish a Regular Routine
Establish a regular routine that includes going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Maintaining a consistent sleep-wake cycle is the key to better health overall.
2. Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep Every Night
Determine the amount of sleep you need by keeping track of how long you sleep without using an alarm clock for a week. Maintain this “personal” sleep requirement.
3. Go to Bed When You Are Sleepy
If you have difficulty falling asleep or wake up shortly after going to sleep, leave the bedroom and read quietly or do some other relaxing activity. Avoid overly bright lights as this can cue your wake cycle.
4. Develop Sleep Rituals Before Going to Bed
Do the same things in the same order before going to bed to cue your body to slow down and relax.
5. Avoid Stress and Worries at Bedtime
Address tomorrow’s activities, concerns, or distractions earlier in the day.Read More
Overview – The Pursuit of Sleep
In 1996, the American Medical Association recognized sleep medicine as a specialty. That date belies the importance and interest in sleep that has been going on essentially since time began. It is difficult to determine even an estimated point in time when an interest in sleep occurred. Likewise, it is nearly impossible to pick a date, person, or event that points to the beginning of sleep research. Would it include the discovery of opium, a widely offered treatment for insomnia in ancient Egyptian times (~1300 B.C.) and the first hypnotic medication used? Or would the history of sleep medicine begin much later with Hippocrates’ theory of sleep in Corpus Hippocraticum (~400 B.C.)?
The advances in medicine over time have contributed significantly to the understanding of sleep and sleep research.Read More