Snoozling rooms

Recommendation 56
Satisfy sensory peculiarities and problems with a snoozling room

Chapter (theme)
Architectural spaces (time-out spaces)

Because of
sensory under- and over-sensitivity

In order to
satisfy sensory peculiarities which cannot be done justice in other ways.

Snoozling rooms are spaces in which in principle all senses can be addressed, while normally the opposite, low impact, is pursued. This is the case for the four other withdrawal spaces as mentioned in recommendation 54. Because in a snoozling room a broad array of sensory stimuli is present, there is the opportunity to harmonize or integrate several senses. Snoozling rooms – a contraction of the Dutch words for ‘sniffing’ and ‘dozing’, snoezelen – can also be called rooms for ‘multi sensory stimulation’.

In the parental home such a space can be optimally attuned to the sensory peculiarities of the individual autistic family member. So, for instance, one may take particular pleasure in contact with water, hence a bathroom can be designed to stimulate pleasant water-sensations, possibly in combination with music and/or color.

Most snoozling rooms contain smooth or soft objects, smooth or soft music, pleasantly moving objects such as water beds, pleasant colors and odors, etc. The idea is to have as many as possible senses function in an optimal manner; the assumption is that sensory integration is thus stimulated.
Snoozling rooms may certainly be effective for people with high sensory thresholds. In those cases stimuli can be enhanced: loud music, bright colors, rough materials.

Many are capable of communicating their sensory needs and if not parents will be fairly able to estimate these. In other cases instruments are available which can determine the so-called ‘sensory profile’.

There are no established rules or models for the design of a snoozling room, but there are many examples.

Finally it should be noted that by far the most experience with snoozling rooms is gathered around old people with dementia, but that effect-research was unable to prove any effects until 2002, even though this therapy is applied world-wide and features in countless textbooks. The application to autism is much more scarce; we are not aware of scientific proof of its effects. For the time being we have to rely on impressions and anecdotes.



Dunn, W. (1999). Sensory Profile user’s manual. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.
On the website World Wide Snoezelen much on snoozling rooms is brought together.
unable to prove any effects
According to Chung JCC, Lai CKY. Snoezelen for dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2002;4:CD003152.