Disturbed sleep patterns or sleep deprivation will affect most autistic people at some point throughout their lives but, thankfully, there are a range of tools and techniques that both individuals and support workers can utilize to minimise sleep disruption in autistic homes in London.
So, if you are associated with any organisation that support people with autism and you’re looking for some sleep-promoting advice, here are some of our top tips and suggestions.
Why might an autistic person struggle to sleep?
There are a variety of reasons why autistic people can often have problems falling or staying asleep. Some of these reasons can include:
– Feelings of anxiousness that make it impossible to relax
– Difficulty winding down ahead of going to sleep
– Irregular melatonin levels, which is the sleep hormone that helps to regulate sleep
– Sensory issues, such as an increased sensitivity to the light emitted from screens or sounds that may be distracting or upsetting
– Issues resulting from food sensitivities, which can cause discomfort
– A sensitivity to caffeine, which can affect sleep
How can support workers help to promote more positive sleep patterns?
Create a comfortable sleeping space
Bedrooms should be tailored to the needs and preferences of every individual to ensure it is a comfortable space that promotes healthy sleep. This might include installing black out blinds, using relaxing essential oils to scent the room, or placing night lights around the room.
Create and stick to a bedtime routine
Although this may not always be possible, the benefits of a bedtime routine are numerous. This may include having a warm shower before bed or doing some gentle yoga to help the mind to wind down ahead of sleep.
In addition to establishing a specific bedtime, as the blue light emitted by smartphone screens and laptops can impact the body’s natural production of melatonin, limiting screen use before bed can also help to promote a healthier sleep pattern. Taking a warm bath or shower really can help to induce sleepiness, as can a warm drink and relaxing activities such as reading or colouring.
Maintain a sleep diary
A sleep diary is an excellent tool to track and identify unusual or disturbed sleep patterns. It can also help to highlight specific factors that are contributing to sleep deprivation and determine the effectiveness of any strategies being used to aid sleep.
Sleep diaries can also be shown to social workers or GPs and will help them to understand the extent of the sleep issues and the effect it is having on daily life.
Want to support people with autism in London?
If you’re interested in supporting people with autism, there are autistic homes in London that will allow you to make a genuine difference to people’s lives every single day. From helping to promote healthy sleep patterns to encouraging the development of key life and social skills, this rewarding opportunity is right here waiting for you.