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Sleep Strategies for Kids with ADHD and Autism.

Updated: Apr 10

Sleep is a vital component of every child's life, but for those with ADHD and autism, it can present a significant challenge. The return to school adds an extra layer of complexity to the already intricate puzzle of pediatric sleep. In this blog post, we'll delve into the insightful tips shared by Dr. Funke Afolabi-Brown on our podcast, focusing on establishing restorative sleep patterns for children with ADHD and autism.

The advent of a new school year can disrupt sleep schedules established during the more relaxed summer months. Dr. Funke underscores the importance of understanding the impact that a lack of sleep can have on academic performance and mental health. For neurodiverse children, it is crucial to gradually adjust their sleep schedule before school starts to prevent sleep deprivation. This gentle shift can be done over a month, or more immediate changes can be made for those who are less sensitive to schedule disruptions. Dr. Afolabi-Brown mentions three different methods: a gentle, medium, and cold turkey approach to adjusting sleep times, each tailored to fit different levels of sensitivity in children.

Establishing a bedtime routine can be a challenge for many parents. However, she highlights the significance of a calming routine that signals to the child that it's time to wind down. A sequence involving a light snack, hygiene practices, and quiet bonding activities can be highly effective. Dr. Funke suggests that visual schedules can also be beneficial, especially for children with autism or ADHD, providing a sense of control and predictability.

In our podcast conversation, the physician also shares exciting news about her upcoming telehealth practice, specializing in pediatric and young adult sleep conditions. This practice promises accessible expertise and support for families navigating the complexities of sleep-related issues.

Lastly, the conversation touches on the importance of parents' sleep health. Dr. Funke encourages parents to prioritize their own rest, not only for their well-being but also to model healthy sleep habits for their children. She recommends incorporating a routine for themselves, including mindfulness practices and a focus on gratitude, ensuring they are the well-rested role models their children need.

In conclusion, the podcast episode with Dr. Funke offers invaluable advice for parents seeking to enhance the sleep of their neurodiverse children. From understanding the importance of sleep for academic success to establishing routines and seeking support when needed, parents are equipped with a toolkit for crafting calm evenings and restful nights.

Remember to follow Restful Sleep MD on social media and visit for more tips and support in this journey towards better sleep for your child and yourself.

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