Sleep insomnia is a common occurrence in many adults all over the world. In a research carried out in Britain, it was revealed that at least 62% of all adults experience
My son is a young adult with Asperger’s syndrome and, for years, has lived with complications associated with a normal sleep cycle. To aide in more normal, and restorative, sleep patterns for him, his doctors and I have developed a lifestyle that we hope he will adapt as he transitions into independent living. If you are the parent of a child with Asperger’s syndrome, it is important to not only understand the value of a quality night’s sleep, but to also help your child find ways to induce sleep and obtain the rest that is so desperately needed.
Implications of CoMorbid Health Issues
Sleep cycles in children with Asperger’s syndrome are often disrupted due to complications involving chemical imbalance, neurological deficiencies, and overall secondary stress-related factors. To encourage a restful sleep pattern, your child should first be tested for any other co-morbid health complications. Once clear of other comorbid health issues, then you can begin to address the insomnia and varying sleep cycles from an Asperger’s perspective.
Dietary Role in Sleep Cycles
To begin, it is important to first understand that children and adults with Asperger’s syndrome should eat a healthy diet and by that we mean a diet that is full of fruits, vegetables and minimally processed ingredients. Eating whole grains can be encouraged but care should be taken to monitor the amount of gluten intake. Because celiac disease and gluten allergies are common among AS adults and children, these can also impair sleep and cause a reverse effect on your efforts.
In addition to a diet and healthy eating lifestyle, exercise is also vital to the Asperger’s child who suffers from poor sleep habits. Unfortunately, because of the tendency to suffer from awkward social situations and social habits, many Asperger’s individuals will refuse to engage in group exercise or public exercise events. Instead, with the Asperger’s adult, you’ll need to encourage exercise in the home or try family outings that encourage regular daily physical movement. This can be very challenging for parents of children with Asperger’s’ syndrome but, with some structure, your child can be taught to engage in activities without thinking of them as exercise or fitness routines.
And, finally, be sure the child or adult, with Asperger’s syndrome, has a bedroom provided that is conducive to a peaceful night of sleep. Children with AS often enjoy doing things in solitude. What this may lead to is a bedroom full of activities that may impede the ability to focus on sleeping. So, be sure there is an activity room, away from the bedroom, in which your Aspie sleeps and engages in no other activities. In addition, keep all electronics out of the bedroom and keep the room as dark as possible at night. In doing so, you’ll find that your loved one, like my son, is sleeping more peaceful and for longer periods of time.
As the parent of a child with Asperger’s syndrome, I understand, firsthand, how challenging sleep habits can be. To mitigate my son’s own issues with sleep, I have incorporated these daily habits to further his positive health and to transition him into making better lifestyle choices. It is my hope that he will carry these lifestyle habits with him when he finally decides to live more independently.