Sleep Training for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Sleep consulting for kids with cerebral palsy

Sleep troubles affect up to 46% of children with cerebral palsy. Sleep disturbances can happen for a number of reasons:

• Digestive issues, like constipation or reflux

• Muscle tightness, or looseness

• Pain and discomfort

• Seizures

• Sound hypersensitivity

• …or any combination of these issues.

Many children with cerebral palsy have difficulty getting a restful night’s sleep, and often it is parents that need to make sure that their child is attended to. It’s very possible that the first few months of your child’s life were the toughest, and you had to be close by at all times. But now, you want your child with cerebral palsy to sleep with better quality and more independently.

For your child with cerebral palsy, a good night’s sleep is vital — this is the body’s time to rest and allow for tight muscles to relax, even for a few hours. It is also vital for your child’s brain growth and development. During sleep, the brain is making the neural network stronger and taking all the information learned that day and putting it into “permanent storage”. For children with motor issues, sleep is the brain’s time to make new motor abilities rote. Your child is working hand to make gains in manual competence and their movement — sleep is the time for these gains to be solid. If your child is missing out on good quality sleep, the brain is not getting the time it needs to rest, restore, and organize.

Unfortunately, little is given to parents when it comes to recommendations to improve sleep hygiene, or with regards to natural remedies for their child. Often, medical professionals simply prescribe medication, like muscle relaxants, to these children. However, many families find that even this does not always yield results. For parents who are looking for holistic alternatives, there are very few sources out there. This can leave any parents feeling frustrated, confused, and unsure where to turn next.

Regardless of diagnosis, I believe that every child has the potential to have a great night’s sleep. I see your child for who they are and tailor your child’s sleep program so that you have an easy to follow guide, plus recommendations with regards to nutrition, physical activity, and sensory techniques that can help your child on a neurological level. When all these are integrated together, your child can rest easier.

My goal is to give parents the tools and guidance they need to make a great night’s sleep happen in the most holistic way possible. Parents get step by step instructions on how to get their child sleeping independently, for longer stretches, and waking up rested the next day. Changing anyone’s sleep takes a lot of work and consistency, but your child with cerebral palsy needs this! Sometimes, all it takes is having someone keeping you accountable and guiding you in the right direction.

If you’re ready to get your child with cerebral palsy sleeping better, contact me to book your first assessment call!