sleepwhisperer podcast019 – Sleep & Children with Special Needs with Dr Vaishnavi Sarathy
Sleepwhisperer Podcast

019 – Sleep & Children with Special Needs with Dr Vaishnavi Sarathy

Dr Vaishnavi Sarathy is a Functional Nutrition Practitioner, a TedX speaker and Podcast Host. She is passionate about giving kids a fair chance at life through nutrition that sustains them, food that prevents autoimmunity, nutrients that boost brain function, and
a digestive system that works with a thriving microbiome. That also means an equal education and assuming competence regardless of appearance. 

Vaish is a Functional Nutrition Educator, with two Masters and a Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry! Her life changed when her son was born with Down Syndrome and was later diagnosed as being Autistic. She explored conventional options for the first 4 years of his life including occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, communication therapy, horseback riding and doctors. Every practitioner she met told her that genetics could not be helped, and that she must resign to having a child who would experience extreme intellectual delay with minimal chances at life! She decided to train herself in nutrition. She knew how every kid could learn and that labels were mostly for the convenience of the system. Her son is 13, he does algebra, he writes poetry, and yes, he is still non-speaking! She believes that an equal accessible education and sound nutrition are the birthright of every child!

In this episode, we dive into: 

“Sleep & Children with Special Needs”

  • Vaish’s journey with her son who has Down’s, Autism & Cerebral Palsy. The impact of disability and denial and the resultant loss of time to acceptance of his ability to thrive.
  • Is sleep poor for children with disability? What is seen typically? Is it that they cannot fall asleep at all, or struggle to stay sleeping or do they have an unnatural rhythm? What are the four primary reasons why children with disabilities struggle with sleep?
  • What are some of the practices that have not worked? 
  • What is the popular sleep nutrient that may actually make sleep challenges worse in children with disabilities? When it comes to sleep supplements, can method of usage actually make sleep worse?
  • You cannot even diagnose a child with learning disabilities if the child is not sleeping well. Sleep is critical. Is it the other way around as well, where poor sleep increases symptoms and behaviour challenges and learning? Where do you try and break that vicious cycle? 
  • What are some of the practices that have worked more often than not? Does Dr Vaish see some sort of a pattern? Does she find herself intuitively knowing what will work at a specific time? How can other parents tune into that intuition?
  • What can parents actually do to support their child’s digestion? 
  • How does Dr Vaish see sleep playing a big role in managing special needs in terms of symptom challenges, behaviour patterns, learning and more?
  • What is the best sleep food plate for children with special needs that is sleep supportive? What is on that plate? Is there a difference between animal based and plant based diets for children with disabilities? What are some speciality diets for children with disabilities?
  • What is the idea behind low carb diets for children with disability?
  • What is the best tool to use for better sleep for children with disability?
  • Dr Vaish’s mantra is assume competence. What does it mean for a parent to assume competence?
  • If sleep is the new medicine, then …………

Here are the links mentioned on the show:

1)Rhythmic Movement:


For more on Dr Vaish Sarathy, you can follow her:





-For more on Deepa, The Sleep Whisperer, be sure to follow her on Instagram @mysleepwhisperer and @phytothrive_yogini, on Facebook Deepa Kannan. You can also mail Deepa at [email protected] or find her at

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Book Acquisition by HarperCollins India

Here’s that exciting news I spoke about to coincide with the one year anniversary of The Sleep Whisperer Podcast! Writing a book and becoming part of that magical group of authors is a dream!

Three years ago I wrote a book which I titled Sleep Whisperer, looking at sleep from a very in depth perspective, and tying together the cutting-edge science of functional medicine and eastern ancient wisdom. The story of how I wrote that book is indeed magical and a mixture of spiritual guidance and astrology(by my spiritual guide and mentor Shyam @himalayan.yogi ). It’s also been a lot of sacrifice and hard work during times that were stressful, challenging and testing in all ways.

The journey of the book from concept to acquisition is also a magical path which I will share much later. For now, I’m just humbled, grateful and quite simply excited to announce that the book has been acquired by Sonal Nerurkar @sonal_nerurkar of @harpercollinsin HarperCollins India! Sonal’s faith in the book has been unwavering and I’ll forever be grateful for it. I can’t wait for the final book release next year!

None of this would be possible without the trust, hard work, dedication and patience of my most beautifully warm literary agent Jayapriya Vasudevan @jayapriyavasudevan of Jacaranda Literary Agency. I cannot put into words what her belief in the book and being my warrior for it means to me.

I’m also deeply grateful for the dear colleagues and mentors who have made contributions to the book. That is a surprise for later! You can follow everything about the sleep podcast and book at @mysleepwhisperer

Thank you Universe!❤️ #bookstagram #book #functionalmedicine #functionalnutrition #books #harpercollinsindia #author #authorsofinstagram #authors #writer #writersofinstagram #writing #writerscommunity #nutrition #sleep #sleeplessnights #sleepaid #sleeping #sleepingbeauty #insomniac #insomniaproblems @phytothrive_yogini @himalayan.yogi

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