Five Sensory Processing Disorder Bedtime Tips
There are a million reasons bedtime might feel like a battle with your kids. But if your child has SPD, things get even trickier. Itchy sheets, harsh air conditioning, seams in their pajamas… For kids with Sensory Processing Disorder, the list of things that interfere with a good night’s sleep can be long and complicated.
The good news? With a little trial and error, you and your child can nail down a bedtime routine that eliminates distractions, soothes sensory overload, and finally helps them–and you–get a good night’s sleep.
What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory Processing Disorder, also called SPD, is when a child has difficulty managing sensory information. Regulating sensory input is challenging for individuals with SPD, who can experience undersensitivty, oversensitivity, or both.
Symptoms of SPD can include:
- Easily startled by loud noises
- Distressed by bright lights
- Frequent meltdowns
- Strong reaction to scents
- Doesn’t enjoy physical contact like hugs
- Difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking
- Sensitive to clothing materials, tags, seams, etc.
- Very particular about food textures and flavors
SPD looks different in everyone, and no two people experience it the same way. But SPD often disrupts sleep, leading to grumpy mornings and difficult days.
How Does SPD Affect Sleep?
Sensory Processing Disorder can make a smooth bedtime feel like an impossible dream. Sensitivity to lights, sounds, smells, and textures can keep kids awake all night long, frustrating both parent and child.
It can be challenging to determine exactly what is keeping your child awake because there’s a good chance they don’t know. Listen carefully to your child the second, third, and fourth time they emerge from their bedroom. Are they hot, itchy, or pulling at their clothes like they’re too tight? Things you might have no trouble snoozing through could be wreaking havoc on your child’s sleep.
Tips for Building an SPD-Friendly Bedtime
If your child struggles to get a good night’s sleep, launch an investigation into potential distractions, stressors, or interruptions. Walk around their room at night and try to observe any recurring sounds, outside lights, chilling drafts, etc. Check the following items to see how they might affect your child, and use the info to build an SPD-friendly bedtime routine.
Experiment With Their Pajamas
Snug clothing can cause several issues. The fabric might be coarse, the seams might be itchy, or your child might get too warm. Try a loose t-shirt made from a soft material. Turn the clothing inside out to see if seams might be the source of your child’s discomfort.
Check Their Blankets and Sheets
Some kids kick their sheets and blankets off the bed every night. If this is the case, try removing them and using only a thin, lightweight blanket. Other kids are the opposite and benefit from a sensory compression blanket that offers deep pressure therapy throughout the night.
Play With Their Lighting
Some children will need complete darkness to fall and stay asleep. Something as minor as light coming in under their door could keep them tossing and turning. Other kids need the right amount of light and can benefit from a night light or soothing light display on their bedroom wall.
Try An All-Natural Supplement
Certain all-natural supplements can safely and effectively help your child get a good night’s sleep. Sensory Scout’s NeuroDream supplement was designed with sensory kids in mind, and it’s a 100% natural option for improving their sleep quality.
Safe for both children and adults, NeuroDream’s key ingredient is melatonin–a naturally-occurring hormone that helps control the sleep-wake cycle. These vegetarian gummies have been shown to help kids fall asleep and stay asleep, improving not only their nights but their days as well!
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Bring the Noise (Maybe!)
For some children, the ticking clock or the voices from the downstairs TV have been the culprit all along. Other times, it’s too quiet. Some sensory kids find sweet sleep success with fans, white noise machines, or peaceful nature sounds that soothe them into a relaxed dream state.
Conclusion: Sensory Processing Disorder and Sleep
Sleep can be a massive struggle for kids with SPD. And that means parents suffer, too. But there’s always hope! Sensory Scout is here with community feedback, helpful blogs, and sensory-friendly products to support your child’s sensory journey at every stage.
It might take a while to get to the bottom of your kiddo’s bedtime woes, but once you do, you’ll both be reaping some pretty dreamy rewards. In the meantime, hop on over to our Facebook Group and see what other parents might have to say on the subject!