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Sleep Deprivation Among Parents of Special Needs Children

Parents who are providing in-home care for their special needs children suffer from higher incidence of sleep deprivation than do parents of children who do not have special needs.  This article will cover children’s special needs that may cause parental sleep deprivation and the potential solutions to address them.

Children’s Special Needs that May Cause Parental Sleep Deprivation

The special needs of children that may cause parental sleep deprivation are many and varied.  These special needs typically fall under the following categories:  special needs that make it difficult for children (and parents, as a result) to fall or stay asleep, special needs that require sleep-interrupting provision of care, and special needs that create safety worries that keep parents up at night.

Children’s special needs that make it difficult for children (and parents, as a result) to fall asleep and/or stay asleep include:  ADHD, antisocial personality disorder, autism, bipolar disorder, breathing-related sleep disorders, cancer (i.e., adverse reactions to chemotherapy), circadian rhythm sleep disorder, delusional disorder, dyssomnia, insomnia, nightmare disorder, paranoid personality disorder, parasomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychoses, sleep terror disorder, and sleep walking.

Children’s special needs that require parental sleep-interrupting provision of care include:  AIDS, cancer (various forms), and other critical or life-threatening conditions that require ’round-the-clock monitoring or administration of medication.

Children’s special needs that create safety worries that keep parents up at night include:  antisocial personality disorder, bipolar disorder, breathing-related sleep disorders, cancer, conduct disorder, delusional disorder, depression (particularly when coupled with suicidal ideation), hemophilia, hyperactive sexual desire disorder, paranoid personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychoses, pyromania, and sleep walking.

Solutions

Solutions to address parental sleep deprivation associated with children’s special needs that make it difficult for children to fall asleep and/or stay asleep include:  proper medication for the children’s special needs; appropriate equipment to monitor respiration, heart rate, and/or other medical statistics and alert parents as needed; counseling for the children; a night-shift nanny to watch children while parents rest (such nannies can be found through Nannies4hire.com); dimly lit bedrooms with no televisions or other distractions that may keep children awake; silence; soft and slow melodic music; comforting fragrances; soft and comfortable bed fabrics; comfortable bedroom temperatures; and a proper pre-bedtime diet (i.e., limiting evening sugar intake).  Additionally, parents may consider alternate sleeping arrangements for their special needs children.

The primary solution to address parental sleep deprivation associated with children’s special needs that require parental sleep-interrupting provision of care is a night-shift nanny qualified to watch and medicate children while parents rest (such nannies can be found through Nannies4hire.com).

Solutions to address parental sleep deprivation associated with children’s special needs that create safety worries that keep parents up at night include:  a night-shift nanny to watch children while parents rest (such nannies can be found through Nannies4hire.com);  appropriate equipment to monitor respiration, heart rate, and /or other medical statistics and alert parents as needed; parent participation in special-needs-specific support groups; and counseling for parents and children (separately).

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