Autism and Sleep Hygiene

Sleep issues can be prevalent in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Common issues include delay in falling asleep, poor sleep quality and waking during the night.

Not getting enough sleep and poor sleep quality can have a negative impact on a child’s mood and self-regulation. Sleep issues not only affect the child but also the whole family.

If your child is having sleep difficulties, talk to your child’s doctor about getting a sleep evaluation to check for a sleep disorder or other medical condition.

Follow these guidelines to help your child sleep better:

  • Establish a bedtime routine to prepare your child for sleep by setting a consistent bedtime, including weekends. Bedtime rituals can include reading a story, bathing and dimming the lights.
  • Provide a calm environment and limit stimulation such as active play, exercise and electronics at least one hour before bedtime.
  • Consider your child’s favorite textures when choosing pajamas, blankets and toys.
  • For school-aged children, daytime naps should be limited, and no more than 20 minutes.
  • Keep your child’s bedroom temperature cool.

Implementing these tips consistently can help your child – and you – get a better night’s sleep and improve everyone’s wellbeing during the day.