Sleeping is a key element of 24-hour postural management. A well supported sleep, in a symmetric posture can reduce the build-up of pressure points, increase comfort and contribute to an undisturbed night's sleep.Parent Hub
Sleep positioning systems tend not to be as routine as other forms of equipment like seating systems, standing and walking frames. However, this does not make them any less important.
On average, children spend approximately 42% of their time in a sleeping or lying position, which when left unchecked, is a substantial time to go without postural management.
Whilst the child does not need to maintain the body upright against gravity, gravity and tone can still pull the body into asymmetrical and destructive postures. Over short periods of time, these postures can be comfortable, however due to the child’s inability to frequently reposition themselves during the night (think about how much you might toss and turn at night), these postures can lead to muscle shortening and contractures.
Introducing a new sleep position can be difficult for some children, particularly for older children who may already have a preferred position to sleep in, or whose body shape has changed with time. In fact, when first setting up the device, it might not be possible for your therapist to achieve the desired posture right away, as often such a drastic change in position can be intolerable.
Sleep systems are typically designed to allow you to continually adjust the supports, so that you can adjust over time to reach the optimum position. This will help your child to become comfortable with the device, without rapidly changing from the posture they have become used to.
Where a child struggles to tolerate supports or a new posture, we recommend introducing the positioning system slowly over time. For example, you might encourage your child to spend short periods in the device during the day, or only attach additional supports once they have fallen asleep. Likewise, where additional supports such as straps are required, sometimes it can be beneficial to attach or adjust these after the child has fallen asleep, if possible.
Got questions about supported sleeping? We've gathered some of the most common questions to help you.
A sleeping system is designed to be used as part of a 24-hour positioning programme. As a general rule, anyone who cannot change their position in bed voluntarily, or only with great difficulty, can benefit from a sleeping system. This includes users with high tone and involuntary movement.
The answer to this question can differ from person to person. The supine position is the easiest way to achieve a supported, symmetrical position. However, not everyone will tolerate a sudden change. If this is the case, we recommend choosing a time of day when there is a higher level of supervision to spend times in supine, and to use side lying at other times.
If in doubt, you should always discuss this with your medical team.
Most children will eventually sleep all night in a supported sleeping system. However, it may take several months to acclimatise them to their new sleeping position and get the best of it. Some users may only tolerate the system for a few hours at a time, but it's important to remember that two hours per night is equal to 730 hours of night time postural management.
There are no strict guidelines on the type of mattress required for a supported sleeping system like the Leckey Sleepform. However, we recommend a mattress that is of good quality and meets the appropriate standards.
It is difficult to provide a definitive answer to this, as the answer will be unique to each user. Around five years would be a good lifespan for the fabric components.
Recent studies have showed that both dynamic pressure mattresses and turning beds can be used in conjunction with supported sleeping systems.
When combining your supported sleep system with a dynamic pressure mattress, it is important to make frequent inspections of the skin to ensure that there is no skin breakdown.
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The Firefly range of portable products are all about participation. These posturally supportive products are clinically sound, practical and fun, ensuring children with additional needs can take part in everyday life. As well as products, Firefly facilitates an online community where advice and experiences are shared between parents, therapists and charities.