Sleep Difficulties (Children with CP)

1 in 5 children with cerebral palsy have a sleep disorder.

Children need good sleep for:

  • growth and development
  • general health
  • energy for daily activities
  • mood and well being
  • social and family interaction
  • memory and learning
  • attention and concentration

There are a range of contributing factors, including the muscle spasms associated with cerebral palsy, other forms of musculo-skeletal pain, and decreased ability to change body position during the night. Epilepsy is also known to disturb sleep and is likely to predispose to sleep disorders. Blindness or severe visual impairment can affect the timing and maintenance of sleep through their effect on melatonin secretion and the lack of light perception.

Some areas that may help your child’s sleeping difficulties are:

  • Having a calming routine before bedtime
  • Having a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Getting enough sunlight during the day
  • Having a sleep during the day
  • Exercising during the day, not late at night. Ask your physiotherapist to help you find exercise activities that suit your child’s interests and abilities
  • Finding the right sleeping position for your child. We can provide information on good sleep positioning, specialist beds and bedding.

More information

Sleep issues can be addressed in various ways, so seek help from your therapist or general practitioner. For more information on services near you that can help please call 1300 888 378.