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10 Tips to Help Your Child with Down Syndrome Sleep Better

Is your child anxious about bedtime? Are you struggling to help them settle for bed? Do they sleep in your bed? 

Poor quality of sleep can have an effect on the whole family. Research by Rebecca Stores found that children with sleeping problems had worse daytime behaviours throughout the day resulting in aggression, irritability and hyperactivity. It is not hard to imagine that their parents had really high-stress levels.

Another study from 2008 found that 66% of children with Down Syndrome fall asleep in their parents or sibling's bed, almost 20% woke up early and 40% wake up at least once a night. Let's try to understand and get to the bottom of the problem to improve the quality of your everyday life.

Children with Down Syndrome Might Experience The Following Problems:

  • Bedwetting at night
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Early morning waking
  • Gasping for breath while sleeping
  • Snoring
  • Trouble falling asleep

Your child might have breathing problems or frequent ear infections which will prevent them from getting a full night's sleep. So, if your child has sleeping problems, it's important to consult your doctor.

Once the medical causes are excluded, it’s time to look at behavioural issues. Let’s not forget that even if sleep is disturbed by medical conditions, improving the routine and sleeping conditions might still help your child sleep better.

Quite often children with Down syndrome experience sleep anxiety which means that they don’t find lying in bed relaxing; for them, it’s frustrating and stressful. This feeling also makes it harder for your child to stay asleep once they settle. It's important to not associate kids bedroom with negative emotions and their room should never be used for punishment.

Similarly, to children with autism and other sleep problems, it is important to create a good bedtime routine and sleeping environment.

Things to Consider In Your Child's Bedroom

  • It’s a good idea to lie down in your child’s bed and examine the situation. Is the bed comfortable? Are there any drafts? Can you hear people in the other room or noises from outside? Is the room quiet and calm or are there too many toys, colours, etc?
  • Bedwetting is often an issue in people of all ages with Down syndrome. It’s important to have a quality, fast-drying washable bed pads. Remember, that plastic mattress protectors can be crinkly, uncomfortable and most importantly - dangerous. They can cause sweating and are linked to asthma and other serious illnesses. The eco-friendly PeapodMats are really absorbent and guarantee a quick bed change to help with bedwetting.Girl sitting on the bed covered with PeadpodMat
  • Remove blinking lights and other distracting items, try using a blackout blind
  • Use a white noise machine or toy to block out other noises
  • Keep the child’s bedroom at an ultimate comfortable temperature
  • Let your child sleep with their favourite blanket or toy (but always stick to the safe sleeping guidelines for babies under 1 year old!)

Sleep problems in Children with Down Syndrome

4 Things That Will Help You Create a Successful Bedtime Routine For Children with Down Syndrome

1. Children need to know what happens during the day and night. Keeping to a set bedtime and waking time is crucial even at the weekends. A bedtime routine is also important so try to make them last the same amount of time every day. Because children can’t grasp the meaning of time, it might be a good idea to use a timer, pictures or graphs so your child can relate to them.

2. All toys should be out of sight at bedtime so your child is not encouraged to get up and play. It's OK for your child to keep their favourite cuddly toy for bed. 

3. The whole family should create a safe and relaxing bedtime so your child feels loved and doesn’t think they’re missing out on something.

4. Try to explain to your child why they shouldn’t wake other family members. You might want to hang a picture on your bedroom door with a moon which means it's still night time and your child should go back to bed. 

Family sitting on the bed with PeadpodMat

Creating a safe and calm sleeping space is crucial for a good night's sleep. While creating a successful bedtime routine it's important to consider all things that are important to your family. Setting a bedtime for 7 PM when one of the family members comes home from work at 6:30 PM is not going to work. It might take some time before you will see the results but perseverance is the key to success. 

Do you have any tips that made your bedtime routine easier? Let us know in the comments.  

Need Better Protection from Bedwetting? Click on the image to learn more!

ï»żPeapodMats Bedwetting Mattress Protector

Sources: www.intechopen.com, www.uhhospitals.org, www.sleephelp.org, library.down-syndrome.org, valleysleepcenter.com, www.tuck.com

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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I bought the large one for when my grandaughter came out of nappies, she is a fidgety sleeper and this has not move. I now have a second one for her little sister both are excellent. Saves my mattresses on new bed and stay in place for a comfortable sleep. Can’t Recommend enough. Brilliant!

Peapods are an absolute life saver. I have both the large and the medium.
With a urostomy it’s inevitable there will be leaks; just a fact of life.
Having one of these on the bed does away with the stress of airing the mattress etc when “a big one” happens.
It doesn’t feel clinical and thankfully doesn’t give that horrible sweaty feeling others do.
Amazing amazing amazing!

Hi GG, it's great to hear that you're happy with PeapodMats and that they take the stress away for you. Thank you for a great review. All the best, Team JOIZI

Absolutely incredible! We used to buy at least 2-3 new mattresses a year! This magical matt has saved us so much money. Never leaks and lovely soft towel texture. Highly recommend for mummy's or adults with incontinence issues.

Hi Aimee, thank you for your lovely review and recommending PeapodMats to others! It's great to hear that PeapodMat helped you save money on mattresses and you love its leakproof qualities! All the best, Team JOIZI

I purchased 2 of the medium sized Peapods (after a personal recommendation and then reading the excellent reviews) for my partners bed, she has incontinence due to early onset dementia. I am generally pleased with their performance and they have made life easier in this situation. However, usually a small amount of urine does pass through the Peapod with the result that I back it up with two layers of normal towels underneath to absorb this small excess. This system works well and the bed sheet always seems to be dry. It is for this reason that I have given 4 stars.
I would still say that they are worth the cost, obviously I alternate the two Peapods each night and am thinking of getting a third one as extra backup.

Hi David, thank you so much for your review and your lovely words about PeapodMats! Because PeapodMats are breathable (but leak proof) the water from urine may evaporate, causing the sheet underneath to feel cool to touch and giving it a damp feeling. Please also be advised that we generally recommend large size of PeapodMats for adults. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at hello@joizi.com.

After doing loads of research, we purchased a medium sized PeapodMat for my son who is still in pull-ups at night age 5 and a half! We're two nights in and there have been accidents both nights but the mat has worked - it didn't move around in the night and the sheet underneath remained dry so the matress is well-protected.

Hi Hannah, thank you for a great review. We're so happy to hear that PeapodMat has protected your little one's bed so well and stays in place all night. We wish you and your family all the best, Team JOIZI