SPD and sleep problems

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2006
SPD and sleep problems
Sun, 02-15-2009 - 4:00pm

hi all. i'm new to this board. i have a 2 1/2 year old son (and a 6 month old son), but i'm starting to think my 2 1/2 year old has some sensitivity issues...his are a lot to do with being overstimulated by things and being constantly in motion. he has a constant need for stimuli. some of his other issues have to do with shying away from stimulation though.

anyway, his main issue that is causing us concern right now is his sleeping pattern...rather lack there of. i think he has issues with going between sleeping and waking, however at this point, he's only been diagnosed with sleep terrors -- which he's had since he was very very young (like 3 months...which is extremely young for those types of things). anyway, i'm more than suspect that his issues go beyond sleep terrors, but like i said, at this point it's the only "diagnosis" we've gotten.

i was just wondering if anyone else here has problems with their child's sleep problems, and if so, how it relates to SPD...and what sorts of issues you have. i'm trying to figure out what's wrong with him, and i'm just wondering if i'm starting to finally look in the right direction.

thanks in advance :)


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-05-2003
Sun, 02-15-2009 - 4:16pm

My 2 year old has sleep issues, he is not diagnosed he is being referred currently to a neuropsychologist with a suspician of SI.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-15-2007
Sun, 02-15-2009 - 10:25pm

Hi Bryany,

Welcome to the board! I don't think I'll be much help since I'm an adult w/ SPD, but since you mentioned your son has sleeping problems I was just curious about a few things. For example, from reading your description it sounds like your son might be a sensory seeker since he is constantly in motion, where he has to take in so much stimulation that it probably burns him out so to speak. I have a close relative that's the same way. He's w/ constant stimulation to the point that he burns out from it at starts shying away too, its almost like his body shuts down.

I was also wondering what his sleeping arrangements were? (i.e. in his own bed, crib, or w/parents) since some kids can't take stimulus change or sleeping w/ others. I was just curious because as a child I was and still am very light sensitive to the point that I still can't sleep w/ a light on in my room and I can't stand to sleep w/ someone else in the room especially if they sore. I'm so sensitive to noise at night that I feel like I have to concentrate on being asleep if that makes sense??.

Waking up was and is still of course a problem. For instance, I feel that most others can just hit the alarm, flip on the lights and move about their day. Where I on the other hand, have to work into being awake as sunlight and bulb light is just way too blinding. For example, I can't turn the lights on right away I have to wait at least a good 15 mins before turning them on so I can take what I'm seeing. If its a sunny day and sunlight comes in I have to add an extra five minutes. My light sensitivity was def. a problem when I was younger around 4-5 as my mom used to blind me w/ the light so to speak while waking me up at the same time and I just couldn't take the stimuli.

What worked for me as I got older was using a tap light in the opposite end of the room from where my bed was since the light wasn't that bright or stimulating. So waking up wasn't as traumatic as the over head room light.

Also, since your son is still young, I wonder if a crib blaster might help. Not sure if he's a light or heavy sleeper but some of my friends who have kids that have a hard time w/ waking and sleeping still use their child's crib blaster to help soothe them to sleep and help wake them up. The main one they use is the Fisher Price Aquarium--the one that makes the aquatic noise. I'm not sure but I think it has some type of night light on it or in it? They told me that they turn the vol. of the blaster up just notch to help wake their kids up naturally versus shaking them awake which makes them a bit more aggravated.

Like I said, I'm not really sure if my advice is going to help you. But I thought I'd give it a shot just in case. :) GOOD LUCK!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-09-2009
Sat, 02-21-2009 - 9:45am

My daughter has night terrors since she was very young also.



iVillage Member
Registered: 02-22-2009
Sun, 02-22-2009 - 1:14pm
We havent tried it yet but I know other moms who swear by a weighted blanket for helping their kids sleep.


Avatar for ssjump
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Mon, 02-23-2009 - 11:17pm

Check out the book :"Sleepless in America. Is your child misbehaving or missing sleep"

For us, it had many answers to "why" though not too many new answers for how to help. Knowing the "why" helped though.

For us, it took getting tonsils out to realize how bad of a sleeper DS was. Those tonsils came out and his sleep habits changed drastically. I had no idea how bad things were for him (Guilt for me). It would be worth checking out with an ENT, and I would suggest one that deals with children.

We struggle with other issues too, but once DS started sleeping better, lots of other issues got better too. (The more you sleep, the better you behave, the better you regulate, the better you learn....it was amazing)

Good Luck!