Care & Maintenance of Cerebral Palsy: Bathing, Toilet Training, Dressing, Feeding &
Nutrition, Play, Fitness, Seizures, Sleep, Suctioning, Hearing, Vision and Teeth
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral PalsySleep Cerebral Palsy Cerebral Palsy

The parents of any infant look forward to the time when the baby sleeps through the night. It’s an important milestone for the parents and allows them to get a better night’s rest. Children with Cerebral Palsy like all other children are born with varying abilities to calm themselves, to go from an alert state to quiet states and then to sleep. Some children are good sleepers and some are not, regardless of their disabilities.

Almost three-quarters of all infants will sleep for 6-7 uninterrupted hours a night by the age of 6 month. If an infant wakes up, it is usually because they are uncomfortable – badly positioned, hungry or wet - and need someone to respond and soothe them back to sleep
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Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy

Some children are good sleepers and some are not, regardless of their disabilities.

Almost three-quarters of all infants will sleep for 6-7 uninterrupted hours a night by the age of 6 month. If an infant wakes up, it is usually because they are uncomfortable – badly positioned, hungry or
wet - and need someone to respond and soothe them back to sleep.
Setting routines and rituals (reading a story; having a relaxing bath; the firm touch and warmth that comes from being swaddled or held; music, lullabies, or slow, comforting talking; slow, rhythmic rocking, having a glass of milk or juice) not only make it easier to establish a regular bed time regime, but make it easier to calm a distressed infant in the middle of the night.

As children with CP or other physical disabilities, get a little older a fear of separation can develop because they feel helpless to get up and reach their parents should they need to. Reassurance that you check on them frequently during the night may reduce their anxiety. Some families have found the use of an intercom or baby monitor helpful when the child understands that the parents can then hear them and respond should the child need them at night.

Children with a form of Cerebral Palsy, in which they are hypertonic and very stiff or spastic, may find that they get into a position that is extremely uncomfortable. If they are unable to move themselves out of an uncomfortable position, they are probably not going to sleep well if at all. Trying to be sure that they start in a position when they go to bed that minimizes and reduces the spasms.

Sometimes drugs are used to aid sleep. Drugs in this group depress brain functions: in smaller doses they are used as sedatives (to calm patients down) and in larger doses as hypnotics (to send patients to sleep). They are all habit forming so that patients may quickly become dependent on them. This can be made worse by an increase in restlessness at night when the drug is withdrawn. Tolerance can develop and the side-effects may include anxiety, irritability, and depression. They may impair learning, affect concentration and produce confusion. There are more natural and gentle alternatives that can be tried such as chamomile or lemon balm tea and oil of lavender or a sachet of lavender flowers, which have a calming effect.

Hospitalization often has a negative effect on a child’s sleep. While in the hospital, their sleep pattern is disrupted by the lights, noises, monitoring, tests, shots, other children, etc. Once they get back home, reestablishing the normal bedtime routine will help them restore their sleep pattern.

Parents of children with cerebral palsy often wonder what kind of bed is best for their children. A crib is a safe place for a young child, and will probably be the best sleeping option for the first two or three years. After this age, you may want to think about a sleeping arrangement that will increase your child’s self-esteem and help him to foster bedtime independence. There are items like removable side rails that can offer almost as much protection and restraint without the baby-like feeling of a crib. If you keep your child in a crib too long, you may be promoting the “baby” image, when your child may actually be at a much older developmental age in all areas but movement development.

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Care & Maintenance of Cerebral Palsy: Bathing, Toilet Training, Dressing, Feeding &
Nutrition, Play, Fitness, Seizures, Sleep, Suctioning, Hearing, Vision and Teeth