Sleep Issues

Everyone knows that getting enough sleep can be a huge part of our effectiveness, functionality and mood.

But for those living with FASD, sleep disorders have been well-documented as a problem on a whole new level. Getting to sleep and staying asleep is very hard for them, and the lack of good sleep means that behavioural issues are elevated. Around 80% of parents and carers of children with FASD say their children have problems with sleep. These can include: 

  • Frequently waking up at night
  • Feeling scared at night 
  • Sleep walking
  • Problems settling 
  • Problems waking 
  • Problems understanding the concept of bedtime.

It's a big subject, but there are some basic tips which are essential, including avoiding pre-bed excitement, creating a calm quiet bedroom with low stimulus (no clutter), using ear plugs or headphones and heavy blankets. No screen time and calming music can also be helpful.

• We have curated some of the most helpful tips and combined them with our own kaimahi / staff's lived experience to created a Fact Sheet on 'FASD and Sleep' – click here to read.

• A June 2023 report by the Edmonton Fetal Alcohol Network in Alberta, Canada, was prompted by various recent studies and has some helpful strategies – click here to read.

• An Australian three-phase sleep study is underway (June 2023) to develop clinical sleep guidelines at the Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane. The first two phases of the study are underway, involving a survey for the parents of children living with neurodisability and the development of a sleep monitoring mat that gathers movement and sound data in a less invasive way than traditional methods.

The third phase will be a randomised controlled trial of different sleep interventions to treat chronic insomnia in children with neurodisability, evaluating which strategies are most effective. We'll keep you posted.

Read more here.