Sleep for Your Child with Special Needs – Why It’s Crucial and How to Get More of It!
posted on parentingwithspecialneeds.org
Sleep is something that many children struggle with, but for children with special needs it can be an even bigger challenge. There are already so many things that need to be prioritized for your child (therapy schedules, doctors appointments, school schedules, to start), but here’s why helping your child get a few more zzz’s should be at the top of the list:
Sleep is crucial to brain growth and development
As important as it is to give your child lots of stimulation through therapy, sleep is a key factor for getting the best results! At night, your child’s brain is doing a ton of background work. In the deepest stages of sleep, the brain is moving all new information learned that day to “permanent storage”. Once it’s there, the brain goes through everything and keeps important information and throws out “junk” data. In the early morning, your child’s motor cortex is working overtime to make sure that gross motor skills are solidified. In addition, the brain is strengthening connections, nurturing new brain cells, and cleaning up. If the body has time to rest, the brain can become a well-oiled machine!
Sleep is vital for your child’s overall health
Kids that are differently abled get sick….a lot. But, children who sleep adequately can build up their defenses against colds, flus, etc. Studies have shown that sleep is crucial to improving immunity, and getting adequate sleep allows your body to produce the proteins needed to reduce inflammation and infection (see NCBI).