Sensory sleep needs
The issue of sensory input is a peculiar kind of a topic because sensory processing difficulties are wide-ranging and every child’s needs are unique and not always easy to identify.
Whether your child needs a high sensory input or has lower sensory thresholds, they may have trouble regulating their nervous system sufficiently to enable them to settle or remain asleep.
Children who need sensory input may benefit from heavier bedding or tighter bedclothes or maybe a soft toy or soft blanket to cuddle. Those children who need sensory deprivation may fair better with a room that is silent or containing a white noise that ‘drowns’ out any other noises that might be causing sensory difficulties. Some children with hearing and visual impairment find that total darkness in rooms can make them feel disorientated and having a night light switched on all night can help.
You may need to try a few different approaches to see what works for you and your child, something that works for one family may not work for another.
This information is aimed at families of children with autism and looks at how families can help their child to sleep well, however it applies generally to good habits about sleep.
National Autistic Society give information about sleep and sensory issues and some information about 'What We Can Do' including relaxation techniques to use to help calm. There is also a link to information about the sensory world.
This is a booklet about sleep produced as part of the Early Support programme together with Vicky Dawson of The Children's Sleep Charity. Here you will find information about how to develop good sleep practices and on understanding sleep patterns, the impact of sleep deprivation and causes of sleep issues.