Techniques to Improve Sleep Patterns of Children with Tourette Syndrome

Children who suffer from Tourette Syndrome can have a high likely-hood of having difficulty falling asleep at night.  This can be due to the comorbid condition of Sensory Integration Dysfunction.  Listed below are several strategies to explore at night to assist with the sleeping process.  Before completing any of the listed, please follow up with your Occupational Therapist to ensure that these strategies are best for you.


  • Provide deep proprioceptive input with products/techniques such as:
    • Weighted blanket
    • Extra soft pillows
    • Body Sox
    • Heavy quilt
    • Vibrating pillows or mattresses
    • Relaxing techniques such as therapy ball massage prior to bedtime


  •  Create a calming environment:

***Be cognizant to which strategies decrease arousal versus strategies that stimulate.  Everyone can be effected differently, so it is best to recognize which strategies work best for your kids***

  • Calming music such as nature sounds, white noise and/or relaxation CD’s
  • Use calming scents such a lavender, vanilla, ginger, lemon or chamomile
  • Use various calming techniques for visual sensitivity such a dim lights, bubble tubes, small fountains or lava lamps


  • Perform heavy work activities prior to bed


  • Avoid stimulants prior to bedtime
    • Sodas after school or dinner time
    • Loud or stimulating activities (including tablets, phones, etc.)


  • Create a bedtime routine
    • Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule
    • Similar activities prior to bedtime
    • Use visuals



About the Author


Heather Simpson, OTR/L

Heather Simpson graduated with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science with a minor in Early Education from the University of Florida in 2007. Following…

Read all articles by Heather Simpson, OTR/L