Has ASD impacted the sleep situation in your house? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-09-2011, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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How did it impact?  How did you handle it?


I'm fast approaching the breaking point with the sleep situation here, but I don't know how much of this problem is due to the ASD, and how much is just pure toddler stubbornness.  If it's stubbornness, I'll deal with a few nights of screaming to break some of these habits, but if it's ASD, then I suspect I'm going to need some better strategy to deal with it. 


He's still waking at least twice a night, and many nights will be up for an hour or more each time.  At least a few times a week he doesn't go back to sleep at all after the 2nd waking, and that just starts my day off *really* badly (like today he was up somewhere around 5).  We theoretically night-weaned back in September, but in reality that didn't last at all - since now he'll ask for milk (or cheese, or grapes, etc.) in the middle of the night, and I don't have it in me to deny him that if he is truly hungry.  If I do deny him something he asked for (like if I tell him the milk bottle is empty, or say no when he asks for boobies), then he'll scream and a full-blown tantrum will ensue.  And I suppose at that point I may as well get up and start the coffee pot because nobody's getting back to sleep (even DH can hear him at the opposite end of the house). 


So, in your experience, is this just toddler-dom?  Or is some of this related to the ASD?  We don't even meet with the ABA therapist until next week, so I can't ask them yet, and I don't know how much longer I can hold out. 

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Old 12-09-2011, 07:16 PM
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Yes!!!! When DS turned 2 he stopped sleeping through the night (he turned 2 in March), it was almost immediate. Before that he would sleep 7am-7pm no problem! Unless he's extremely tired it will take him hours to fall asleep. I hear him upstairs in his crib now, bouncing around and laughing hysterically to himself (I admit I have to laugh sometimes at that lol) for at least 90 minutes now. Then he usually wakes in the middle of the night and does the same, or sits and talks (gibberish) to himself, or head bangs. This has impacted us greatly, because we have a 3 bedroom house and 3 kids. The original plan (before all this happened) was to move him into his older brother's room to share with him once DS3 was born. Obviously we can't do that because he'll keep DS1 up, so DS3 is still in our room. Because DS3 is in our room, dh sleeps on the couch so he doesn't get woken up because he works all the time (DS3 still gets up to nurse).

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Old 12-10-2011, 08:04 AM
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Its ASD most likely. I have 3 kids on the spectrum and my Dh is also. ALL have sleep issues. It is very common with ASD. We ended up having to use meds because it never got better. Also behaviors are worse when kids (and adults LOL) are tired.

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Old 12-10-2011, 05:36 PM
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Our DD's sleep issues were 1) failure to fall asleep at a reasonable time - not before 11 or midnight (despite good routines/good sleep hygiene), and 2) middle-of-the-night waking. She wasn't tantruming or demanding anything; she was just up playing around, but because she climbs and is generally dangerous unless supervised, we still had to be awake to listen to what she was doing and get up and intervene if necessary.


We eventually started using melatonin and that has helped. She gets 1 mg around 7:30 - 8 pm and goes to sleep within a half hour, and generally stays asleep all night (past two weeks she's been night-waking again - she did have an ear infection but I think it's also time to increase her melatonin dose - they can develop a tolerance for it).


Good luck - hope you figure something out that works for all of you. Everything's better when everyone's well rested, and the converse is true: everything's rougher when everyone's sleep deprived. 

Mama to my talkaholic DS (Oct 2003) and my climbaholic DD (May 2007).
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:14 AM
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ASD and ADHD (which you didn't mention but is an issue for us) are both disorders that are typically accompanied by sleep issues. Ds takes time-release melatonin each night; occasionally I also give him a short acting melatonin in the middle of the night if something disrupts his sleep and he doesn't fall back asleep shortly. Melatonin also comes as a liquid if your ds is too young for pills. You may want to eventually consider a sleep study if : Getting A Sleep Study. Sleep for Kids - Teaching Kids the ...


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Old 12-20-2011, 10:13 PM
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My 3 year old DS hasn't received his formal diagnosis yet, but the evaluator told us it looks very much like Aspergers.


His problems include bedtime struggles, not being able to fall asleep, getting extremely hyper and uncontrollable when someone says "it's bedtime" and staying up very late and waking early.


We have tried everything from bribing him to locking the door and telling him to stay on his pillow. Tonight it took us 3 hours to put him to bed.


We use the homeopathic remedy "coffea" which seems to help sometimes.


eta: oh - and when he does fall asleep, he is all over the bed all night long.


It's getting ridiculous.

Wife to - Mama to DS 6/08 and DS 9/11
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:55 AM
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We're in the same boat right now - DD is 5 and we are starting to look into a diagnosis, but we very strongly suspect ASD. I normally start trying to get her to bed around 10pm, and she finally goes anywhere from midnight to 5am. We're using benedryl right now to try to medicate her into sleeping, per her pedi's recommendation. It helps some - without it she can go nearly 2 days without sleeping at all. 



I'm at my wits end for ideas to get this child to sleep - when she is up I pretty much am up, and I need my sleep too for health reasons.

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Old 12-22-2011, 04:33 PM
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My son has Aspergers and has struggled with sleep his whole life. My MIL, who we suspect is also affected by ASD, too has significant insomnia.


We use a tablet of melatonin from Trader Joes at bedtime each night which dramatically improved that part of the picture. He still wakes at night, but at 8, he reads or draws or plays with Legos on his own. We were at a science museum yesterday and were playing a "mind race" where you are supposed to relax and a sensor on your head moves a ball. The winner is the one who can move the ball to the other person's side by being very relaxed. I won both games. My DS said "That's probably because I don't sleep so well." Poor kiddo. :(

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