Good sleep isn’t just about getting to sleep, it’s also about staying asleep and getting enough good quality sleep to get through your day. All children, including children with special needs, require enough good-quality sleep for growth, development, and learning. It can be difficult for parents of kids with special needs to get their children to sleep, resulting in sleep deprivation for everyone. So, how much sleep does your child need? And how can you help your special needs child get a better night’s sleep?
How much sleep does your child need?
Sleep is such an important part of your child’s day, allowing their body and mind to rest and repair. It’s often just as important as having a balanced diet and enough activity time for kids of all ages.
How well your child sleeps has a major impact on their overall quality of life. When kids get adequate quality sleep it has been proven to improve:
We often take sleep for granted when our kids are getting enough of it, and it isn’t until they’re deprived, and we notice the effects, that we think about it. So, how much do they need?
As a rough guide:
- Pre-schoolers should be aiming for 10–13 hours’ sleep a night
- Primary school children should be getting about 10 hours
- Older children at least nine hours
Studies show that kids are getting less sleep these days than they used to. Parents are now combating a range of things that are affecting their sleep schedules such as:
- School activities
- Busy schedules
With less time to focus on sleep, it’s critical children with special needs get the most of their down time. But what can you do to help this happen?
How to improve sleep quality
How long it takes a kid to fall asleep, and settle back to sleep when they wake at night can depend on many things such as:
- What they do before they get into bed
- What time they go to bed
- What they need to get to sleep
- Where they go to sleep
- What they do during the day
Kids with special needs often require extra support getting to sleep and staying asleep. Establishing a healthy bedtime routine and setting up a safe and comfortable sleep environment is the first step in giving you peace of mind, and them a better night’s sleep.
1. Set up a bedtime routine
Having a regular bedtime routine, which starts around the same time each night promotes healthy sleep patterns.
For younger children this might include a bath, story then going to bed. For older children, the routine might also include a chat about their day and some alone time relaxing in their bed before lights out.
Kids with special needs might need some extra support in their bedtime routine such as:
- A picture chart showing each step in their night-time routine
- Putting on pyjamas
- Brushing teeth
- Going to the toilet
- Giving consistent cues
- 30 minutes before bedtime doing quiet activities like reading in the lounge
- 15 minutes before bedtime cleaning teeth and going toilet
- Using a sticker chart or verbal praise for successfully completing the steps in their bedtime routine
Predictability is essential for kids with special needs as it helps them feel safe and secure as you prepare to settle them for the night.
2. Set appropriate and regular bedtimes
Kids with special needs often require slightly more structure in their life. Having regular and appropriate bedtimes is vital in achieving healthy sleep habits.
To work out what time your kid needs to go to bed, you need to:
- Work out what time you want your child to get up
- Work out how much sleep is optimal for their age
- Figure out how long it takes for them to get to sleep
Keeping a diary of your kids' sleep patterns for a week is a helpful way of seeing how much sleep is being achieved, and whether any changes need to be made.
3. Set up a safe, comfortable sleep environment
Setting up a safe and comfortable sleep environment is essential for:
- Helping children get to sleep
- Helping children stay asleep or resettle
- Helping you relax when they are asleep
The first step in setting up a safe and comfortable sleep environment is choosing the right bedding. There’s nothing worse than getting your child to sleep only to sit worrying that they will wake because they are tangled in sheets, they have kicked their sheets off, or fallen out of bed.
A Zip Sheet is a fitted bed sheet with a flat top sheet sewn to the base, with zips on both sides to make it easier to get both in and out of bed, while keeping your child covered and secure all night.
Zip Sheets patented; kid friendly design means no more:
- Kicking sheets off
- Waking up tangled
- Falling out of bed
You can rest assured that your child is safe and secure while they get their much-needed sleep.
What’s better, kids Zip Sheets are ventilated so you don’t have to worry about over heating either. The cot sheets have vents either side of the base, and the larger kid’s sizes have vents at the base, providing ample ventilation for those warmer nights.
Ready to improve your child’s sleep?
If you dream of your kids covered and sleeping peacefully through the night, our kids bed sheets are for you. With a range of colours and sizes available, there is something to suit every child’s needs. Now’s the perfect time to order your Zip Sheets and help your child get the sleep they deserve.