Unfortunately, many children with autism suffer from different sleeping problems such as having trouble falling asleep and waking up more often, early morning awakenings, and superficial sleep. Lack of sleep or lack of deep sleep can worsen different symptoms such as rage attacks, ADD, memory problems. Moreover, when the child is not sleeping, the rest of the household does not get to sleep either, and that causes a lot of suffering to the entire family.
In order to prevent the symptoms from getting worse and to improve the quality of sleep, you first need to understand the different reasons that can cause sleeping problems.
These reasons might include:
- A lack of the amino acid tryptophan, which is essential for melatonin production.
- Problems in the biological clock, which increases the melatonin secretion during the day and decreases it during nighttime.
- A lack of vitamin B12 production and conversion to its active form-methyl cobalamin as a result of defective methylation processes.
The possible treatment methods will include:
- Treatment with melatonin-sleep hormone to speed up the falling asleep process and continuous sleep.
- Usage of Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Zinc which form the building blocks to serotonin production that eventually turns into melatonin.
- Taking B12 in its active form helps to increase deep sleep in stages three and four.
- Raising the levels of magnesium and calcium which are minerals that have a calming effect.
- Taking the amino acid GABA.
- Taking herbal medicines that can help you wind down to sleep, such as Verbena, Hop, Passiflora, and Melissa.
Additionally, for children with autism, it’s recommended to avoid foods with caffeine during the evening hours such as Coca-Cola, cocoa, because caffeine suppresses the production of melatonin and damages the quality of sleep.