It is not uncommon for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to have sleeping problems. People Sleep with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are often hypersensitive to noise; this can make it difficult for them to get to sleep and also for them to remain asleep throughout the night. Sleep is essential for us all each night to help our body repair and maintain our overall health and fitness of our mind and body; evidence suggests that sleep deprivation can greatly intensify autism characteristics for someone with ASD.
White noise has been used as a coping strategy for people who suffer from sensory problems, including those who have a high level of sensitivity to noise, proving beneficial for times of sleep and promoting moments of calm when the person is awake throughout the day.
Sleep Deprivation and ASD
Sleep deprivation can be a common problem faced by individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their family members.
Noise can become overwhelming rapidly to those with ASD due to increased sensitivities of the sense perceptions of sound and light. Research suggests that a certain measure of white noise, music, or other ambient and relaxing sounds such as the ocean or rainfall can help create a distraction in people’s brains to help them remain focused and calm.
White Noise and ASD
People of all ages have been using & recommending White Noise Sound Machines in Australia and worldwide to achieve a better, more restful night’s sleep for many, many years.
White noise has many uses, whilst the majority of people use it to help block unwanted noise so they can sleep; white noise is also often used for office areas to create privacy, but more recently, white noise has proven to be very beneficial to many people who have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The sound of a fan, air-conditioned, air purifier or white noise machine can help to act as a buffer to block unwanted sounds and assist the brain in switching off so they can get to sleep.
Each person with ASD is different, but research shows that some or all of the following techniques may be useful strategies to put in place to help your loved one get a much-needed good night’s sleep.
Preparing for Bed with ASD
Helping your child relax and to prepare for sleep each night is so important; this time before bed needs to be a vital part of your daily routine.
The following suggestions may help assist a child, especially one with ASD, in knowing that it is time for bed.
People with ASD can easily become stimulated by sound and or activity, especially before bed. It is good to have some quiet time to slow down the mind and body at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Keep your voice soft and slow and turn down any additional background noise such as televisions in another room. This moment could be a great time to read aloud a calming book and keep expressions down to avoid alertness peaks.
No Stimulants Before Bed
It is unwise for anyone to add more stimulation to their bedtime routine than necessary. This includes the use of caffeine, sugar, or other food types that may increase energy, especially taking into consideration the use of electronic tablets, smartphones, etc. Blue light from phones, tablets, televisions, and computers can suppress melatonin levels; melatonin is a hormone that your brain produces in response to darkness and helps signal to your brain that it is time for sleep.
Keep Bed for Sleeping
Doing this helps your mind and body acknowledge the bed and your bedroom as a place for rest; it’s also another great cue to signal that it is time for bed.
Keep Light to a Minimum.
People with ASD can be sensitive to light, so keeping the bedroom nice and dark helps make it easier to fall asleep. Make sure you have light-blocking curtains to keep street lights, the moon, and the sun in the early hours of the morning from shining in to wake. Keeping the room in complete darkness will help provide a room more conducive to sleep, so if possible dim all lights from bedside clocks, hallways shining under the bedroom door, etc. We know of many people who love to wear a Sleep Mask to help block light for sleeping; this also adds another sleep cue and is done as part of your sleep routine.
Use White Noise
Sound machines generate soothing white noise and mask unwanted sounds to create a sense of calm and relaxation. The white noise or sound machine being switched on also aids as another instant “sleep cue.”
Put on a Humidifier with Lavender
Having the beautiful sweet aroma of calming lavender misting into the air throughout the bedroom is a great signal that it’s time to sleep. Lavender has been shown to promote calmness and wellness and is often used for meditation, massage, and sleep. It doesn’t have to be lavender; you can use whatever aromatherapy oils you like; whatever your person’s favourite fragrance is fine. It can also help reduce stress & anxiety.
A nice, soothing massage can be very calming and relaxing before bedtime. It doesn’t have to be a massage with oil; it could just be lightly brushing your child’s skin gently with your fingertips, nails, or with a hairbrush or backscratcher, or softly tickling their face or forehead. Massage and being touched triggers the release of positive hormones that can help you feel calm, give you a sense of well-being and reduce anxiety.
Develop a regular sleep routine and try not to alter this when and where possible. Brushing teeth at last half an hour before bed, then some quiet time in bed perhaps with reading a book out loud, then turn off all the lights, switch on your white noise machine and humidifier, gently massage or run your fingers on your child’s back, arm or head.
White Noise and ASD in the Daytime
People use white noise to aid them in achieving a more restful sleep but to help with concentration during the day; it has proven very beneficial in the home and at school, especially for people with ADS.
There are so many ways to try to sleep better at night. White noise has been a proven way for millions of people to help them sleep better for many years. Yogasleep (formerly Marpac) invented the very first white noise machine, The Dohm, in 1962, to help people worldwide sleep better. Yogasleep has since released several other quality sound machines over the years, such as the wish White Noise Machine and Rohm Portable White Noise Sound Machine. We stock a great variety of white noise machines, including the Sound + SleepHi Fidelity sound machine that plays 10 different sound options and has a 3.5 mm audio connector for use with headphones or speakers, and the Alpha portable white noise, which is another portable white noise machine that does not require batteries and the LectroSound Multi White Noise Machine.
The Whish is a multi-sound machine, which means it plays several sounds in addition to white noise. So you may find that you prefer rain sounds, ocean waves, or the whoosh of a running fan to help you sleep. The Rohm is a nice small portable unit so can easily be taken on holidays, used in the car, or moved from room to room.
The Dohm, considered the best sleep sound machine worldwide, is still one of our bestsellers! If you want a hand to work out which is the best white noise machine for you, please give one of our friendly team a call on 1300 556 366, and we’ll only be too happy to help.