Sleep disturbances

It’s easy to believe that bad sleep patterns are connected to conditions like Cerebral Palsy, but like everything connected with Cerebral Palsy, there is little or no information out there to clarify or confirm our thinking.

Sleep disturbances can be a common childhood problem, but is particularly problematic in children who suffer with neurological problems such as Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, learning difficulties and autism spectrum disorders, as well as for those children who suffer with visual impairment, possibly because children with these kind of disorders have difficulty recognising and attuning sleep cycles to those of the outside world.

If a child has those difficulties, what makes the adult sleep any better?

As adults we tend to have other problems that contribute to bad sleep patterns including stress. Scientists believe that melatonin a hormone in the brain that is produced by the pineal gland, works to treat sleep disturbances in children brought about by neurological conditions.

Although the body naturally produces melatonin, the body goes on to produce more melatonin at night, so helps to promote better sleep for those who struggle to stay asleep. For this reason scientists have been using melatonin in the treatment of children with sleep disturbances.

To date, little research has been done on the drug. Various tests have been carried out at a large Paediatric clinic and whilst melatonin has significantly improved all aspects of sleep in those children tested, with 93% recording significant benefits, there still needs to be more research on the drug itself. It would be helpful to make the connections though.

It would be good to find out how many people out there do struggle, for us to share views. It would be lovely to hear from you, please get in touch.


10 Jul, 2010

8 thoughts on “Sleep disturbances

  1. I think sleep disturbances cross all boundaries of physical and emotional backgrounds. It’s a problem that I’ve been battling since early childhood. I think it’s great that studies and strides are being made because over the counter sleep aids are too strong.

    1. I haven’t personally used over the counter sleep aids, but my father has from prescriptions he has been given over the years for his own sleep problems. I think you are right in what you say. They can be habit forming too.

  2. My whole family is plagued with sleep problems and no one can come up with a remedy that works for everyone. I have tried melatonin and found that it did help with falling asleep, but I still kept waking through the night. I have sleeping pills but avoid them until I am so exhausted, I don’t feel there is any other way to get a good nights sleep.

    1. I don’t take sleeping pills myself Lisa, but I do try herbal remedies to sleep. Passiflora is one such herbal remedy that is used to help one sleep… herbal remedies are not habit forming.

  3. I have had sleep problems for a long time. It was one of my diagnosing criteria for CFS/FMS. I have tried melatonin and at first it helped but the dosage was to strong and I ended up having hallucinations really bad one night, so the pills went straight to the trash. That was when it first came out on the market and the dosage wasn’t fine-tuned. I’ve also been on prescription meds and they eventually quit working. so now I take nothing. When I get to sleep at home I make sure the room is cool. I also spray lavender on my pillows and I have a real cushy mattress topper. Sometimes I’ll have a cup of chamomile tea or sleepy time tea by celestial seasonings. I don’t remember having sleep problems as a child, just since I’ve gotten the CFS/FMS. I had a sleep study done and my problem is that I have “P” waves which means I have pain while I sleep and don’t get into the REM sleep that we need. So sometimes I’ll take my pain meds at night if its been a bad day and I sleep a little better. I would love to know of some other natural remedies others have used that have worked.

  4. thanks for the information. this interested me not only because of my insufficient sleep lately, but throughout my life. I have a variety of the problems you described above. CP, epilepsy, and visual impairment- knowing that maybe they contribute to the matter makes me think twice about it. Not to say they are entirely to blame but possibly a factor is something to think about in any event.

    1. LeAnna, knowing what your sleep problems relate to, may help you find alternative solutions possibly through supplements. I take alternative remedies to help with my sleep that work on individual problems relating to my CP. There will be people out there who can help.

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