Autism Help: Some science behind sleep deprivation

The Hughes Brothers have come upon a great book, The Un-Prescription for Autism, and its wisdom lies behind much of our discussion here. We promise to review the book soonest.

But for now, consider these potentially inflammatory factors in your families struggle, night after night, to get more zzzzz’s.

A brief pause, please.

Our author and guide Janet Lintala operates the Autism Health Center in West Virgina (2401 S. Kanawha Street, Suite 106, Beckley WV, 25801 Phone: 304.255.2550). She earned a B.S. in Genetics from Ohio State University, and graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic, Salutatorian, summa cum laude, from The National University of Health Sciences, a postgraduate program near Chicago, IL. She is the mother of three boys with a variety of issues such as Asperger syndrome, Tourette disorder, OCD, anxiety and ADHD.

Autism Help: Why your child may not sleep at night: Reason #1

Acid reflux. Acid reflux, the perennial complaint of the Hughes Brothers, ever so slightly overweight guys who drink beer of an evening. But acid reflux does not jump immediately to mind as a cause of poor sleep patterns in sweet little children. Ms. Lintala’s rationale: the possibility explains many of a child’s behaviors, from staying super-busy throughout the day gritting of the teeth to putting off going to bed at all costs. At bedtime, as the child lies flat, stomach acid storms up through the esophagus with attendant burning and pain, leading to inevitable waking at night. Other clues that acid reflux might be a problem for your child: burping, spitting up, irritability, or falling asleep while sitting up.

Autism Help: Why your child may not sleep at night: Reason #2

Pain and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Another non-starter for most parents because, well, it just doesn’t make sense. Telltale signs, however, that this inflammation could be exacerbating bedtime problems – the child drapes her or his tummy over the arm of a couch or the edge of a table, or maybe the child seeks out a major pile of pillows or the side of a mattress from which to suspend the stomach. Even if your child goes to sleep quickly and easily but then awakens multiple times throughout the night, gastrointestinal distress could very well be the culprit. As a matter of fact, autism clinicians report a seventy-percent incidence of gastro pain, even ulcertation, among their patients.

Autism Help: Why your child may not sleep at night: Reason #3

Abnormal neurotransmitter or hormone levels. Ms. Lintala routinely runs lab tests if her basic protocols don’t restore normal sleep patterns. (The Hughes Brothers promise an immediate article on these protocols, the stuff of genius right there we assure you.) Often she finds high incidence of “excitatory neurotransmitters” that tend to keep the child awake. The Hughes Brothers will offer a medical definition of this term, and then quickly walk away. “When an action potential arrives at the synapse’s presynaptic terminal button, it may stimulate the release of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are released into the synaptic cleft to bind onto the receptors of the postsynaptic membrane and influence another cell, either in an inhibitory or excitatory way.” The good news here: nutritional supplements can help to counterbalance these abnormal excitations.

Ms. Lintala on her methodology.

“For the majority of my patients, healing the gastrointestinal tract is the key to restoring normal sleep patterns. Sleep patterns usually begin to normalize around the third or fourth week of our Basic GI Protocol, and is one of the happiest improvements for the families at our center. Pretty soon, Mom is smiling, looking rested and even wearing make-up again! And of course, nothing beats a good night’s sleep for your child’s health and happiness.”

The Autism Health Center has been remarkably successful. Please expect a wait for onsite patient care. Meanwhile – in her remarkable humility, her far-ranging perspicacity – Janet Lintala reminds us all, “We don’t offer quick fixes or miracle cures. Autism is so complex. There are no pat answers, but the center provides education and knowledge for the families.”


The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child