Many parents wonder about the best beds for their autistic kids. And, like so many other aspects of autism, the answer can vary widely. Autism is different in each autistic child, and their particular needs are unique. That said, however, selecting the right bed can make a world of difference for some autistic kids.
Why be particular about beds for autistic children?
Choosing the right bed is important for autistic children because sleep problems can be common. Research has shown that up to 80% of autistic children experience difficulties with sleep, including:
- Trouble falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Waking up too early
These sleep problems can have a significant impact on a child’s health, behavior, and overall quality of life.
Poor sleep can exacerbate symptoms of ASD, such as hyperactivity, irritability, and social withdrawal. It can also lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, which can negatively affect a child’s academic performance and social interactions. Sleep problems can also cause stress and exhaustion for parents and caregivers, who may also be struggling to manage other aspects of their child’s care.
Choosing the right bed for an autistic child may help to address some of these sleep problems. Let’s take a look at some of the primary types of beds for autistic kids.
What to look for in beds for autistic kids
When choosing a bed for an autistic child, there are several important features to consider.
The bed should be safe and secure, with no sharp edges or loose parts that could cause injury. The bed frame and mattress should also be sturdy enough to support the child’s weight.
The bed should be comfortable and supportive, with a mattress that is appropriate for the child’s size, weight, and sleeping position. An adjustable bed may be helpful for children who have difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position.
Many autistic children have sensory processing difficulties and may benefit from a bed that provides sensory stimulation. For example, a sensory bed may include features such as soft textures, gentle vibrations, or soothing music to promote relaxation and sensory regulation.
Size and space
The bed should be an appropriate size for the child, with enough space to allow for comfortable movement during sleep. It should also fit well in the child’s bedroom and not take up too much space.
Ease of cleaning
Depending on the child’s needs, the bed may need to be cleaned frequently. Consider choosing a bed with removable, washable covers or a surface that can be easily wiped clean.
Autistic children may be more prone to behaviors such as jumping or rocking, which can put extra strain on the bed frame and mattress. Choosing a durable, high-quality bed can help to ensure that it will last over time.
Bed recommendations for autistic kids
While the specific needs of the autistic child should dictate the best bed for them, here are four variations that our team has found to be very helpful.
Sensory beds, like the Cubby Bed, or the zPod, for example, are designed to provide sensory stimulation and promote relaxation, which can be beneficial for autistic children who have sensory processing difficulties or difficulty falling asleep. They may include features such as:
- Soft textures
- Gentle vibrations
- Soothing music
While these can be great beds for some autistic children, sensory beds can be expensive and may not be covered by insurance. Some children may find the sensory features overstimulating or uncomfortable.
Low-profile beds, with or without rails, are closer to the ground than traditional beds, which can be helpful for children who have a tendency to roll out of bed or have difficulty getting in and out of bed. They can also be more visually appealing to some children.
Low-profile beds may not be suitable for children who require a higher level of support or comfort, as they often have thinner mattresses and less support.
Adjustable beds allow for customization of the sleeping position, which can help to alleviate physical discomfort and promote better sleep. They can also be helpful for children with respiratory problems, acid reflux, or other health issues that may affect sleep.
Adjustable beds can be expensive and may require a separate purchase of a compatible mattress. Some children may find the mechanical movements of the bed distracting or uncomfortable.
Similar to sensory beds, tent beds can provide a controlled sleeping environment for autistic kids. And best of all, with the right accessories, nearly any bed can be a tent bed.
Tent beds are often designed to be comfortable and cozy, with soft bedding and cushions. This can help to promote relaxation and better sleep quality. They provide an enclosed space for children to sleep, which can be helpful for children who feel safer and more secure in a small, enclosed environment. This can also prevent wandering and falling out of bed at night.
Sleep is a crucial aspect of a child’s health and well-being, and it’s especially important for autistic kids who may already be struggling with sleep problems. As a parent or caregiver, it’s important to prioritize your child’s sleep and consider investing in a bed that meets their unique needs.
Choosing the right beds for autistic kids can be a challenging task, but it can make a significant difference in your child’s sleep quality, behavior, and overall quality of life.