As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Suggestions for Better Sleep

After you have your child’s bedtime routine down pat, and you have some ideas on how to help your child to sleep through the night, how do YOU get a better sleep? This information is to help children (and their parents) get the sleep they need and catch some Z’s.

Catching some Z's

1. Sleep only as much as you need to feel refreshed during the follow day. Restricting your time in bed helps to consolidate and depend your sleep. Excessively long times in bed leads to fragmented and shallow sleep.

2. Get up at the same time each day, seven days a week. A regular wake time in the morning leads to regular times of sleep onset, and helps to set your “biological” clock.

3. A steady daily amount of exercise helps to deepen sleep. Exercise should not be taken too close to bedtime; plan to finish by 7:00 PM.

4. Insulate your bedroom against sounds that disturb your sleep. Carpeting, insulated curtains, and closing the door may help.

5. Excessively warm rooms may disturb sleep; keep the room temperature moderate.

6. Hunger may disturb sleep. A light snack at bedtime may help sleep, but avoid greasy or “heavy” foods.

7. Avoid excessive liquids in the evening to minimize the need for nighttime trips to the bathroom.

8. Avoid caffeinated beverages, especially in the evening.

Random FAQ: How much milligrams of caffeine are you drinking?

  • Coca-Cola (8 oz) contains 23 mg
  • Diet Coke (8 oz) contains 31 mg
  • Pepsi (8 oz) contains 25 mg
  • Diet Pepsi (8 oz) contains 24 mg
  • Sprite (8 oz) contains 0 mg
  • Jolt (12 oz) contains 70 mg
  • Red Bull (11 oz) contains 80 mg
  • Starbucks, tall (12 oz) contains 375 mg
  • Starbucks, grande (16 oz) contains 550 mg

9. Avoid alcohol especially in the evening. Although alcohol helps tense people fall asleep more easily, the ensuing sleep is fragmented.

10. The use of tobacco disturbs sleep.

11. Don’t take your problems to bed. If necessary, plan some time earlier in the evening for working on your problems or planning the next day’s activities.

Random FAQ: Write down whatever is on your mind. Many people have difficulty falling asleep because they can’t stop reviewing the day’s events or thinking about all they have to do the next day. By writing down these thoughts, you will be able to stop worrying about them and rest knowing that you do not have to try to remember anything for tomorrow. Keeping a bedtime journal and reviewing it later will also help you identify your primary sources of stress as well.

12. Train yourself to use the bedroom only for sleeping and sexual activity. This will help condition your brain to see your bed as the place for sleeping. Do not read, watch TV, or eat in bed.

13. People who feel angry and frustrated because they cannot sleep should not try to stay in bed. This often makes the problem worse. Instead, turn on the light, leave the bedroom, and do something different, like reading a boring book. Don’t engage in stimulating activities such as watching television or working on a computer. Return to bed only at your regular time the next day, no matter how little you slept.

Thanks for reading,

Information from Vanderbilt University Medical Center
© Vanderbilt Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Drs. Malow and McGrew

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