If your child has ADHD or ASD, you know well that getting them to sleep can be a challenge. But did you know that poor quality sleep may be making their symptoms worse? In fact, many parents have found that getting their kids to sleep better actually helps manage the symptoms of their ADHD or ASD. Read on to learn more about why regular sleep matters for children with ADHD and ASD, and how you can improve your kid's bedtime routine so they get better quality rest.
Improves cognitive function
Sleep is a critical part of learning. Children with ADHD and ASD are often inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive because their brains don't have the proper amount of sleep. Without enough sleep, your child's brain won't be able to process information as efficiently or consolidate memories effectively. Sleep also helps with forming new connections between neurons (brain cells), which may help improve attention span, executive function and memory in children struggling with these issues.
Helps regulate emotions
Sleep is important for children with ADHD and ASD because it helps them regulate their emotions. When you're well rested, you feel calm and relaxed. This can help your child with ADHD or ASD to feel more in control of their emotions and make decisions that are less impulsive.
Sleep also helps children with ADHD or ASD to experience positive emotions like happiness, joy and excitement through the day-to-day activities they do during sleep time like dreaming about something fun they did earlier in the day or seeing something exciting happen in their dream (such as flying).
Reduces hyperactivity and impulsivity
Research shows that sleep deprivation is a major factor in hyperactivity, impulsivity and other symptoms of ADHD. It also plays a role in ASD-related behaviors like aggression, tantrums and mood swings.
Sleep deprivation can cause children to act out by:
- Acting aggressively toward others
- Having temper tantrums
- Lashing out at the slightest provocation (for example, when someone brushes past them on the sidewalk)
Boosts physical health
Sleep is a time for the body to repair itself. It helps with metabolism and weight management, which can be especially helpful for children who have ADHD or ASD. Sleep also helps the immune system by producing antibodies that fight off infections like colds and flu.
Improves daytime functioning
Improves concentration and attention
Improves memory and recall
Improves school performance
Improves social skills (e.g., peer interactions)
Reduces hyperactivity and impulsivity
Reduces anxiety and depression symptoms
Tips to improve kids’ sleep
Create a sleep routine.
Make sure the bedroom is dark, quiet and cool.
Ensure that the bed is comfortable for your child to sleep in (this can be especially important for kids with ASD).
Avoid eating too close to bedtime as this can cause heartburn or indigestion which will disrupt their restful slumber.
Keep screens out of bedrooms: televisions, computers, tablets and smartphones all emit blue light that stimulates brain activity preventing people from falling asleep quickly--especially children whose brains are still developing!
Establishing a wind-down routine can help you relax before bed. Such routines may include reading, taking a warm bath or listening to calming music.
Good quality sleep has so many benefits for children with ADHD or ASD, making it worth the effort to get them to sleep well.
Sleep is one of the best ways to improve the quality of life for children with ADHD or ASD. Sleep has so many benefits for children, making it worth the effort to get them to sleep well.
Alongside these helpful tips, we at My Spectrum Heroes offer evidence-based supplements designed specifically for children with autism and ADHD to support your child's sleep journey.
It's a natural hormone that tells your brain when it's time to sleep. When used under supervision, it can help your child maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle.
Super Mag Powder
A key mineral supporting relaxation, improving sleep quality, and aiding behavioral and emotional regulation.
Calm and Focus
This supplement is designed to support focus and attention, which could be beneficial for children with ADHD or ASD during the day and may also help with establishing healthier sleep patterns.
Getting your child to sleep well is a long-term goal and one that will take time. But the benefits of good quality sleep are so important that it's worth investing in your child's health by making sure they get enough rest each night.