Sensory seekers and sleep

La - posted on 12/07/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )




Does anyone have a young child that is constantly sensory seeking? What has helped them calm down at night to fall asleep and stay asleep (other than medications)?


Dori - posted on 12/14/2010




Give them enough vestibular input, but not too much. Once past the line, they'll be too far gone. We used to take a sensory (weighted) blanket and roll Jack up like a burrito, cuddle a minute, then roll him out of it. Set the expectation that you'll do this 2-3 times and that's it. The pressure from the blanket and cuddling provides the input. Ankle weights help calm, too. Mine has worn them in certain classes when he's wound up. Travacor Jr and a Magnesium cream or oil can be rubbed on their back before bed, too. Similar effect as Epsom salts in the bath. Check out and work with your OT. This helps them understand their "engine", identify when it's high, low or just right. Then they practice different ways to move from high to just right. Fabulous program!!! My son did this when he was 6-7 and can regulate himself 97% of the time. Get his melatonin level checked by your DAN Dr, as they need this to sleep through the night. Always check biomedical issues, as this is the main issue w/ a lot of autistics, ADHD, sensory, etc. Good Luck to you!

Annette - posted on 12/08/2010




I lay down with my child and spoon him. With my arm draped over his body I gently but quickly rock him. Within 5-10 minutes he is asleep.


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Diane - posted on 12/28/2010




For my son early on, he would have night awakenings at least 3-5 nights per week, where he would want to get up and watch videos, play with toys, and act as though it was the middle of the day instead of night. Made me crazy, and extra tough to do my mom duties the following day. We found that a diet high in phenols (dark fruits and their juices, beef, many spices, to name a few) helped increase the sleep issues. Yeast contributed as well. Once we greatly reduced his phenol intake and addressed yeast, sleep normalized. For more info:

THE “POOP” PAGE (addresses yeast too):

diane in TN, just a mom, not a doc

Monique - posted on 12/18/2010




We used a weighted blanket and that worked for about a year. After that he wouldn't sleep in his bed so I jury rigged a bed in the space btwn his actual bed and the wall and it took me 2 yrs to get him back into the bed (thank goodness for bed tents) and that worked for another 2 yrs. His sleep habits or lack there of had gotten so bad that I eventually had to medicate him to get him to sleep the night and it turned out to not be a bad thing, we're all better for his good night's rest. His 12 now and has been sleeping through the night for 6 yrs now. Hope this is helpful.

Emma - posted on 12/18/2010




My daughter has a fibre optic christmas tree in her room that she can't reach but can see and this seems tom help at bedtime christmas or not!! Also a teddy that plays a tune when I put her in bed.

Lanae - posted on 12/17/2010




If your child has a toy that plays music that they are attached to let them have it in bed. My DS Timothy will play the music over & over again until he falls asleep, then if he wakes up during the night he will play it again to put himself back to sleep. He sleeps 11 hours at night at 6 years of age. I hop that this will work for your DC too.

[deleted account]

Our bedtime routine pulls from the following menu:
- "cover me up" - we bury him in blankets, stuffed animals, pillows
- "throwing time" - a few minutes of flinging stuffed animals all over the room
- seeing how high he can jump on the couch
- pillow fight - he doesn't hit back, he just likes to get whacked with pillows as hard as we can manage

After all that, he passes right out. Good luck!

Clare - posted on 12/17/2010




my son has always had a fleece blanket and milk at bedtime and listens to music aswell, but also stories audio books have saved me hours of grief but sometimes they stimulate his mind and cause problems it depends on how busy he seems before bed depends on whether i put on music or a book/story.

Tracie - posted on 12/14/2010




We are sleep limited here as well.
He does have many blankets on his bed and pillows. This allows him to move around with some heavier weight on him, or less if he needs it. Nor does he sleep very long. Now that he is 11, he can keep himself quietly entertained until sleep inspiration happens again, which is early morning until about 6 AM.
What I can say is, This too shall pass, one way or another.
It has been something we have dealt with since he was about 2. The more I let go and relax, the better he does. P.S. At one time we were so desperate, we did try everything including medication to try to help him sleep. I personally believe these magnificent children are part of a 'new age' of children who among many of their talents, do not need a big amount of sleep. Much Love to all!

Claire - posted on 12/14/2010




Hi, I have two children that have needed sensory stuff. The first he is now 14 and still finds it hard to sleep and wind down. We used alsorts and in the end we found that listening to talking tapes he would wind down and listen lying in bed. Harry Potter was fantastic as he would listen over and over to the books and take in the whole atmosphere. He now has an amazing knowledge of Harry Potter!

My daughter, we shower, dry off with the hairdryer, dry hair and warm pj's with the hairdryer! then she has to routinly kiss our boys before bed, then me and my husband. We then turn on her little star lights around her bedroom (christmas lights) leave her radio on low and sit out on the stairs until she sleeps. This used to take ages, she now goes off in minutes.

Christi - posted on 12/14/2010




My son goes between seeking sensory and avoiding it at all costs, it's really a day to day thing. After almost 2 years of him struggling to sleep, I cleared with his doctor for him to take the completely natural sleep aid Melatonin. We tried routines, cuddling, baths, soft music, no music, ect. and nothing worked. It helps him get comfortable and sleep through the night and is completely safe to use every night. I take some myself if I have trouble sleeping. It has also helped tremedously with his night terrors. It's found in the herbal supplements area at any supermarket! We crush it and put it in his milk about 30 mintues before bedtime and it helps him stick to a schedule and sleep soundly without drugging him.

Leona - posted on 12/14/2010




min goes from 60 to sleep in like ten minutes he goes so much for so long he is exuasted when he goes to bud but we do have a consistent routine every night

Sheri - posted on 12/14/2010




Weighted blanket helped my son sleep through the night for the first time. Bed tents were cool too.

User - posted on 12/08/2010




Hi Laura,

A weighted blanket with different flaps on the edge that they can fiddle with might be helpful.


Judi - posted on 12/08/2010




Routine, Social story, lycra tube around the bed that they can crawl into. Dummy (pacifier), routine, routine cuddle, routine, big cuddles, warm bath with lavender, camomile, and mandrine oil in the bath. Big sensory session before bed. Too tired to think anymore sorry

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