Cerebral palsy and sleeping issues

Introduction: Everyone with or without c.p. has issues with sleep at one point in time. Some of us struggle with this problem more than others. We are going to discuss sleep issues in depth and what are some reasons this may be occurring, along with some tips on things to try to see if you cant improve those problems. We who live with cerebral palsy and our loved ones, family members and friends should consider learning medical steps to help us act faster in an emergency situation, such as cpr, seizure first aide, the heimlich maneuver. Lastly to take or make some “Me time” for yourself.

There is a variety of reasons a child even adults with c.p. have or struggle with sleeping issues. statistics shows us the 23 to 46 percent of the 17 million people who live with c.p., struggle with a sleeping problem. The issues vary from breathing issues, being awakend, bad dreams, hard time going to sleep, acid reflex, gerds to name a few. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4928749/

It is important to rule out any of these medical issues. Medical conditions that could contribute to your loved ones sleep problems could include, sleep apne, breathing issues, seizure disorder, anxiety, muscle spasms, stiffness in our muscles and joints. By ruling these medical reasons out can help us to find the best treatment for ourselves, our loved ones or those we care for.

What is one to do when its not you, rather your child that has difficult communicating to you what they are struggling with?

It is not always easy to know or tell if our loved ones are in pain, or struggling with sleep. Do we or can we tell what the signs, symptoms and triggers are that could help us as their caretaker to read them better? We as parents know our children, as they grow we learn their personalities, habits, triggers and so on. However, it can be hard to tell at times when your child is in pain for example, struggling with insomia, respitory issues. The truth is sometimes its hard for us to read our children. Other times is clearly evident, but what can you do to read the signs better especially when your loved one struggles with communication or possibly may be non-verbal?

knowing what our loved ones Q’s are that tell us something is not right can help in being proactive in their care.

Ruling out respitory issues, watching for signs of drooling is an indicator that there is a breathing issue occurring. By taking action to help with respitory problems if that is the case, can determine treatment action that needs to be taken, such as oxygen management to help with breathing issues. Research shows us the 86% of individuals with cerebral palsy struggle with some form of breathing issue that is linked with their cerebral palsy diagnoisis. https://www.cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/treatment/therapy/respiratory-therapy

Digestive issues for example are silent how to tell things to look for are unfortunately is different in everyone, because we with c.p. are all unique not one of us is exactly identical. What may work for one person will not necessarily work for the next person. Things such as anxiety, digestion, trouble breathing may all be difficult for our daughter or son to communicate to us. Especially if they have a high pain tolerance they may not realize they are experiencing pain.

You may hear respitory therapy or treatment referred to as oxygen therapy or oxygen management.

Things to look for when it comes to respitory and breathing issues are wheezing, rattling in the chest and lungs, restrictions in the airway, chocking, coughing, particles in the airway any type of obstruction. These are all interferences to someone getting a restful nigh sleep. https://www.cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/treatment/therapy/respiratory-therapy

Things that can be done to assist in sleeping issues. Setting a schedule and routine I believe is beneficial for anyone weather they are an abled-bodied person or not. Extra steps to help aid that routine can include, shutting off electronics 20 minutes or so before bed, meditation apps help me personally, (a free app known as lets meditate has 5 to 20 minute mediation sessions one can listen to.) Experts recommend a person exercise 30 minutes a day, I have found the best way for me to do this for myself is exercise 10 minutes 3 times a day. It breaks the exercise up and is not a stressful as doing a 30 minute session at one time. Just taking a few deep breaths before bed can help relax the mind and body.

It is ok to consider non-natural alternatives for sleeping issues.

Some people may need some help in forms of medications weather melatonin, muscle relaxers to help with the stiff muscles and spasms that one experiences. Also being aware of your caffine intake can help with sleep. https://cerebralpalsynewstoday.com/2019/02/12/trouble-sleeping-insomnia-tips-sleep/

For example, medications like flexeril, baclofen are a few muscle relaxers a professional may prescribe to help with relaxation. Stretching out stiff muscles can be effective before bed. As a parent I believe its important to find or discover the signs and triggers that our loved one struggle with so we can take faster action in being proactive in assisting them in their struggles.

Do not be hard on yourself, especially if medical issues get overlooked some medical issues are difficult to get noticed right away. Rather give yourself “me time”, take time out of your day to spend it doing something you enjoy. even if its 10 minutes. Take frequent breaks when you can.

The fact of the matter is not one of us is exactly identical. Each person is going to respond to treatment differently, even though, we have similiarities we are not 100% identical. Rather we are 100% unique. Realizing there are different types of cerebral palsy, which each one comes with a different set of issues that we struggle with. Educating yourself on the unique type of cerebral palsy your loved one has this is the key to effective proactive care. I personally have hemoplegia type c.p. which effects my left side.

Some of the different types include ataxic type, dyskinetic type, mixed type. Each type comes with a combination of different struggles. Examples are spasms, seizures, shaking, swallowing, balancing issues, scoliosis to name a few. https://www.cerebralpalsyguidance.com/cerebral-palsy/symptoms/

As I am a cna, I believe it vitially important for all people with or without c.p. to know basic first aide. To know the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, first aide for seizure disorders. I believe these are important especially when we have a loved one who lives with cerebral palsy. To be educated in seizure first aid could save or help someone. A lot of people do not know that you should place a person on their side while they are having a seizure, to prevent them from biting their tongue. A person educated in first aid could save someone and help keep one alive while waiting for medical professionals to arrive. My last tip is to get your loved one a medical identication braclet or necklace so if you are not right there this helps medical personal and first responders.

Recap: Does your child, loved one or yourself struggle with sleeping problems? Its important to rule out any medical issues that may be contributing to sleeping issues. Trying different remedies to conquor the problems at hand. Such as meditation, exercise, medications , shutting off electronics, creating a schedule and routine all help to settle the mind and help with restful sleep as does a well balanced diet. Taking action by providing necessary treatments such as p.t., o.t. and oxygen therapy, if apropriate. Understanding the types of c.p. your loved one has and learning first aide interventions in case of an emergency and providing yourself, loved ones with medical identification bracelets or necklaces for faster response time from professionals. Sometimes, c.p. is like a scavenger hunt trying to find answers to questions and issues, but it is not impossible. Keep searching for answers. Take “me time” as everyone needs a break, its important to take breaks when you have a minute to spare, weather it is a phone call, a cup of coffee or tea. Reading a book, meditation, a walk whatever you enjoy doing. It does not have to cost a thing to take time for yourself. Do not be hard on yourself just do the best you can. Contiue your journey with c.p. weather its you who struggles, your loved ones or someone you care for.

Author: My cerebral palsy life

I became a writer in 2010, then I pursued an education in health care administration. Working to get a medical coding certificate to add to my professional titles. I and my husband have 2 adult children, 2 dogs. I was a single mother of two for 18 years. I have personal experience in health care as a cna, mental health and raising children with developmental disabilities. I am an advocate for the disabled as I was born with cerebral palsy and have learned to overcome challenges in life. My motto is life lessons are to be teachable, to educate, share our skills and learn to understand others that we encounter on life's journey.

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