Improving Your Child’s Sleep

A Nurse Practitioners Note on Sleep

Michael Ann Vaughn is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, specializing in Pediatric Primary Care. She completed the LEND Fellowship (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) through UW to focus on her passion for working with children who have ASD and neurodevelopmental disorders. She earned her BSN from Montana State University in Missoula, MT. Her nursing experience includes working at Valley Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

She is excited about the opportunity primary care offers to improve the health and lives of children and their families by providing support, resources and medical attention.

Adequate sleep is a necessity for the physical and mental growth and development that is taking place throughout infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Unfortunately, it is not always easy for a child to get the recommended amount of sleep.

The proper amount of sleep can positively impact:

  • Behavior
  • Attention Span
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Mental and Physical Health
  • Developing habits that will benefit the child throughout their life

Too little sleep can negative impact the areas listed above.

Tips to Improve Sleep:

  • Routine, Routine, Routine
  • Having the same schedule of events leading up to bed time and a consistent bedtime are extremely helpful
  • In the morning, praise the child for going to bed well the night before
  • Give a child a 30 minute warning when bedtime is approaching
  • Sunshine and physical activity during the day

Bedtime Routine Ideas:

  • Visual schedule of the routine
  •  Calming activities like a bath
  • No TV or screen light at least 1 hour before bedtime
  • Read to your child before bed (this also improves their language development!)
  • Sing to your child
  • Soothing sounds, white noise

Questions? Every child is unique in sleep requirements and sleep struggles. If you are concerned or would like to discuss other ideas to improve your child’s sleep, I would love to spend time discussing how we can best help your child.

Sleep Resources:, Autism SpeaksWebsite,,


  1. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Recharge with Sleep: Pediatric Sleep Recommendations Promoting Optical Health. June 13, 2016. Accessed October 15, 2018.
  2. Toddler Bedtime Troubles. December 6, 2011. Accessed October 15,2018.
  3. Weiss SK, Malow BA. Strategies to Improve Sleep in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Parent’s Guide. Autism Speaks and Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health.

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