Autistic Child Keeps Falling Asleep?

Written By Autism Parents

A collection of parents navigating our way around raising children with autism

Autistic Child Keeps Falling Asleep?

All children with ASD have their unique challenges but what do you do if your autistic child keeps falling asleep?

Below we’ll look into why this may be happening and what you can do about it.

Autism and being tired

Raising children with autism can bring about all kinds of challenges. Sleep is often one area in which many parents struggle with.

One sleep related concern that parents may encounter is the tendency for their child to constantly fall asleep.

While it can be puzzling there may be some clear reasons for the behaviour.

Difficulties sleeping at night

Probably the most obvious possibility is that your child is struggling to sleep at night.

This may be something that you are already aware of or it may be more subtle.

Not all children when they wake at night make themselves known. It could be that your child lays in bed calmly, but awake never the less.

Autistic children can struggle to settle during the night due to heightened senses. Noises, gimmers of light and textures can all keep them awake.

This would beg the question however of how are they sleeping during the day.

Speculating it may be the consistent daytime noises which help a child relax. Almost like the everyday drone of life drowns out the sharp, sudden noises of nighttime.

Autistic child keeps falling asleep
There are many reasons why an autistic child may keep falling asleep

Using energy

Some autistic children like to move… a lot.

During the course of a day an autistic child can burn more calories than a neuro-typical peer.

Some like to jump, run, hop or even walk on tip toes. All of this is burning calories.

With that being the case it stands to reason that they may become tired during the day.

So that mid afternoon nap might be your child just recharging their batteries ready to start again when they wake.


Some autistic children have a very limited diet. In fact through speaking to parents like us, this seems to be the most common trait.

This limited diet could also be having an impact on your child’s energy level during the day.

There are articles littered all over the internet documenting the science behind it. But suffice to say, a ‘crash’ after carbs or sugar is common.

See this article here which we found on the topic.


As we know, routines can provide autistic children comfort and stability. Routines can develop for all sorts of behaviours and activities.

It may be therefore that your child has developed a routine of having a nap during the day.

This knowledge of knowing they have a relaxing snooze coming up may be comforting to them.

What can parents do?

Knowing what may be causing the problem is only half the battle. Learning how to intervene is another matter, here are some considerations;

Track your child’s sleep

If you think that your child is getting less than optimum rest overnight, it is worth investigating.

Digging out old baby monitors is one option but another is using a sleep timing app.

You may have to be creative in terms of leaving a phone in your child’s room but if successful these apps can provide lots of data.

They can summarise in total how much sleep they are getting and also how broken the periods of sleep are.

Tackle the sleep issue

We have a number of articles relating to autistic children’s sleep on the site. But to summarise there are a few options to consider.

Firstly you should make their bedroom as inviting as possible, this may include blackout blinds and weighted blankets.

You then can try and stick to a constant routine pre bedtime. The routine will be specific to you but as long as you stick to it, your child should respond well to the consistency.

Other options include adding something like a white noise machine or a fan. Sometimes a little bit of background noise can help a child to relax.

Speak to a dietician

If your child has an extremely limited diet you could speak to a dietitian about the situation.

Ideally if you could find a dietitian with experience of autism it may be beneficial.

They can assist with putting in place tactics to stretch your child’s preferred foods.

Tactics which have worked for us include letting your child be involved in the food process. This would include them coming to the store with you and helping to cook.

Sometimes if they feel in control of the process they may be more willing to try new foods.

Don’t rule out other conditions

We are not in the business of trying to scare our readers but sometimes we have to point out possibilities.

Any number of other conditions could be causing the fatigue in your child. Although it is likely sleep related, don’t rule out the possibility of it being something else.

Speak to a doctor and explain your concerns, they may put your mind at rest quickly.

Summary – Autistic child keeps falling asleep

Parenting an autistic child can be challenging, especially when faced with sleep-related concerns.

It’s important to remember that the relationship between autism and sleep is complex.

Also it’s important to note there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Approach this issue with patience, and a willingness to adapt strategies as needed.

With time, understanding, and professional guidance, you can work together to improve your child’s sleep patterns and overall well-being.

Good luck

About the author

A collection of parents navigating our way around raising children with autism.

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