When you think of daily occupations for your child, does your mind tend to wander towards activities such as them getting ready in the morning, working on homework, participation in school, eating meals, etc.? Sleep may not come to mind, but believe it or not, sleep is a daily life occupation, and a very important one at that!
A good night’s sleep creates a good base for the day to build on and can cause children to have more energy throughout their day, improve their focus in school, improve cognitive functions, regulate emotions, improve behaviors, and more. While this all sounds fabulous, children with sensory concerns may find this whole sleep thing to be really tough and this may have consequences on their performance and participation in daily activities. Children with sensory concerns may have a hard time with the feeling of their bed (sheets, blankets), they may be bothered by the full or lack of darkness, by the feeling of their pajamas, may experience anxiety before bed due to their body having a hard time calming itself down after their day and more.
Fear not, our occupational therapists are here to help with bedtime routines, habits and patterns. Our occupational therapists are sharing some suggestions for helping your child get a better night’s sleep.
• Take a warm shower/bath. Do a lotion massage after drying off
• Journal before bed- write down any thoughts, worries, excitements, etc. that they could be thinking about while trying to fall asleep
• Quiet-relaxing activity- Drawing/ reading for 10-15 minutes before bed
• Breathing exercise in bed. Laying on back-inhale while counting to 4, 5 &6 (about 10 breaths each). You can do this with the lights off.
• End screen time 1-2 hours before bedtime
• Don’t eat too close to bedtime
• Wake them up at the same time and go to bed at the same time everyday
• Keep the bedroom free of clutter
• Utilize blackout curtains • Allow for white noise- such as a fan
• Use meditation techniques (can be found online)
If you are noticing concerns with your child’s sleep habits or have general questions, please contact Therapy OPS at 651-455-0561 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Disclaimer- Our therapist in the picture is not sleeping on the job, she is testing out different bedtime meditation routines 😊**