Struggling To Get To Sleep With Tourette Syndrome

19 May 2023

One mum explains her son’s struggle with settling to sleep and how our Sleep Service helped.

Struggling To Get To Sleep With Tourette Syndrome

19 May 2023

One mum explains her son’s struggle with settling to sleep and how our Sleep Service helped.

Sleeping boy

Our Sleep Advice Service is there to help your child – and you – get a good night’s sleep. In this post one mum explains the issues they were dealing with and how, even when you think you’ve exhausted all options, we are able to help.

Tell us a bit about your son

L is 11 years old and loves gaming, particularly FIFA and Roblox. He also loves teddies and his bed is full of them. His favourite teddies are his penguin ones, which he has a relatively large collection of. He also enjoys playing football and supports Tottenham Hotspur. His favourite player is Son Heung-min. L dislikes loud noises and hates cheese.

L has ADHD and Tourette Syndrome. This affects him and our family life in many ways but particularly affects us when it comes to sleep. L battles with restlessness because of having ADHD which in turn increases his tics. It can take a long time for him to settle to sleep and this causes him a lot of upset before he does.

Why did you decide to contact Cerebra’s Sleep Advice Service?

I asked for help after a routine visit to the Autism and ADHD specialist nurse where I spoke about L being unable to settle to sleep as an issue. She recommended I self-referred for some sleep advice to see if there was anything extra I could be doing at home to help him. At this point, L was suffering from his tics for around a year and they had been affecting his sleep most nights since they started.

It was after speaking to L’s teachers about his struggles with sleep that they said there could be a link between his tics and sleeping and maybe it was the sleep routine that needed to be managed rather than just focusing on his tics as the main issue. All of this advice prompted me to reach out and contact Cerebra.

What support did you receive?

After completing a self-referral form, I was contacted by one of the Cerebra team and also sent a sleep diary in the post. Once I sent the diary back, the team were able to gain a better understanding of L and the issues we were having at home. I was then contacted to arrange a sleep consultation where one of Cerebra’s Sleep Practitioners, Pattie, contacted me as scheduled to talk through the sleep diary and discuss it in more detail.

Pattie gave me lots of great advice and recommended things to try that hadn’t even crossed my mind before. I thought I had exhausted all options but was willing to get some advice just in case and I was surprised at some of the things that were recommended to me. It just goes to show that it is worth reaching out for help, even if you think you have tried it all.

Pattie recommended that I followed L’s own sleeping schedule to help reduce the stress of him trying to settle. For example, before I spoke to Pattie, his TV would be turned off at 9.30 pm and his story CD would be turned on. For reference, L has listened to the same story CD every night since he was 3 years old. Until 11-11.30 pm, L would really struggle to sleep and his tics would then increase because he would become so stressed by not being able to sleep. After the sleep consultation, I decided to move his sleep time to a bit later to see if it would help and although it may be late, I now turn his TV off at 10 pm and he listens to his CD later. This has really helped Lucas settle as I find he is more ready for bed at 10. When he needs to try to sleep he finds it a lot easier, his tics are reduced and he often falls asleep well before 11 pm.

In addition to all the advice given on the phone, I received an email with all the things I could try to help L with his sleep. After a few weeks, Pattie called me again to discuss how things were going and asked if there was any other support I needed.

What difference has our support made?

Although the issues with L’s sleep haven’t completely gone away we have been able to reduce the stress around bedtime which has made it a lot easier for us. L now focuses on self-soothing and even if he struggles to sleep, for that short while he will try and relax and make it easier for himself. I now know I have tried everything I can to help my son sleep so I am not left wondering if there’s something more I could be doing to help him.

I highly recommend reaching out to Cerebra for sleep support for your child if it is something you are really struggling with. The process of getting help was very easy and I didn’t have to wait long to receive support.

Take a look at all of our sleep information here.

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