nightmares/night terrors and autism, maybe asthma? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 08-10-2008, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wondering if anyone else is dealing or has dealt with this. Our 3 1/2 year old son is waking almost nightly, 4-6 times a night most of the time with crying out, sobbing, calling "mamma, mamma, I need help!" or "mamma, oh no, are you ok?" etc. He has very limited receptive language abilities and also expressive speech delay so it's hard to know for sure. This has been going on for several months now. From what I have read online it's helpful to maintain a consistent bedtime and limit stress as much as possible. He usually goes to sleep around 10 PM, and waks anywhere from 8-9 AM most of the time. He occasionally will sleep a little later and does not nap during the day. I have not been able to successfully move this bedtime any earlier - he will just play and talk in bed until he falls asleep, still around 10 PM. I do try to keep the stress minimal in his life, but he seems to struggle with a lot of anxiety and I have read this is common in kids with hyperlexia. I'm not sure how to help him with this beyond trying to improve his understanding of situations as much as possible.

This does seem to worsen when he is having more trouble with his asthma, but appears to be happening regardless unless I'm missing more subtle asthma symptoms. He is on maintenance inhaled steroids daily and also singulair.

We do co-sleep and have his entire life. We have a family bedroom and while it's helpful to be right next to him so I can help him quickly, it is also very disruptive to everyone's sleep, including our older son who has a seizure disorder and is at higher risk of seizures with sleep deprivation. I'm exhausted getting waked up by both of my younger sons, since the baby still wakes up 3-4 times a night as well most nights.

Has anyone else dealt with this? Did you find something that helped??

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#2 of 11 Old 08-10-2008, 11:44 AM
 
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One of my dds had terrible night waking for awhile, with no apparent reason, and as with your son her language was so limited she couldn't help us figure it out. It did eventually settle down.

My other dd had some terrible trouble sleeping on certain asthma meds. Have you checked the listed side effects for his inhalers? Dd slept much better once we found a better medication for her.
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#3 of 11 Old 08-10-2008, 12:53 PM
 
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I might have a solution for the oldest, at least. He's seven years old, so maybe he could get his own room just for his safety? You could also blame it on his age, if you like. It wouldn't be too far from the truth, I'd think in another year or two, he'd WANT to move!
At any rate, increased seizure activity is definitely a safety issue, and realistically, it sounds like he's the only one who CAN move.
(And ftr - I co sleep with the baby and have NO issues with it. The only reason we don't co sleep with BOTH kids is because Brendon HATES it. So this is so NOT a bash on co sleeping, even though I realize it might come across that way.)
Once you get the oldest to safety (meaning he can sleep through the night again without interruption) you can focus more on the little guy. For that, I have NO clue - maybe snuggle with him (except when you're feeding the baby)? My baby Hypatia will sometimes act like she wants to wake up because she thinks she's alone, and a hand on her chest is enough to calm her.
I'm afraid that's the best I've got - my oldest is almost two, and we haven't hit nightmares yet!
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#4 of 11 Old 08-10-2008, 12:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aridel View Post
One of my dds had terrible night waking for awhile, with no apparent reason, and as with your son her language was so limited she couldn't help us figure it out. It did eventually settle down.

My other dd had some terrible trouble sleeping on certain asthma meds. Have you checked the listed side effects for his inhalers? Dd slept much better once we found a better medication for her.
DUH! I am a MORON! Steroids are NOTORIOUS for that, and you said he's on a steroid inhaler!
Maybe it's his meds, in which case, I retract - keep that snuggly oldest boy in your bed as long as you can!
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#5 of 11 Old 08-10-2008, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks aridel and shadowlark! I was not aware that the inhaled steroids could aggravate this. I will check with his ped about it.

We won't be moving any of the kids out in the foreseeable future. I do hope it gets to the point where we feel our older two would be safe in a separate room but with the seizures and the asthma it won't be happening anytime soon. Fortunately (?) our oldest seems to want to be in our room. He does sleep in a separate bed (pushed up against ours) and likes his own sleeping space but is also autistic and developmentally appears at about a two year old level so I think will be content in with us for a while yet. He did have his own room until he started having seizures a little over a year ago but seemed so happy when we brought him in with us I felt bad for having him in a separate room in the first place.

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#6 of 11 Old 08-10-2008, 01:53 PM
 
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hi, just wanted to pop in and say that in my time as a nurse, i saw many people have bad reactions to steroids. some couldn't sleep, and some became extremely anxious or emotional. some seemed affected even by very low doses. did this all happen before your son started using an inhaler? if so, it's probably not related. if it's only been after starting the inhaler, i would definitely talk to your doctor about switching his meds. good luck! sounds like you deserve some sleep!
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#7 of 11 Old 08-10-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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nak

only have a quick second but i wanted to say that nightmares are a known side effect of Singulair.

be back later to discuss more.

martha
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#8 of 11 Old 08-11-2008, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much to everyone!! I talked to our ped this morning and we are stopping the singulair. If things don't improve over the next week or two I'll ask about the pulmicort, but he's been on that for a couple of years now I think so I'm more suspicious of the singulair. Crossing fingers now! And hoping we don't see worsening asthma control ...

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#9 of 11 Old 08-11-2008, 03:47 PM
 
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From the below website:
http://www.drugs.com/singulair.html

Singulair side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
skin rash, bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness;
mood or behavior changes, anxiety, depression, or thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself;
tremors or shaking;
severe sinus pain, swelling, or irritation; or
worsening asthma symptoms.

(BTW -- we had awful problems with nightmares when ds was on Zyrtec. They immediately went away when I pulled him off of it.)

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#10 of 11 Old 08-11-2008, 03:57 PM
 
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I also wanted to add this website -- It's how I figured out that the Zyrtec was the problem with ds. You may want to read the comments for Singulair or anything else that your health care practicioner wants to prescribe.

http://www.askapatient.com/viewratin...name=SINGULAIR

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#11 of 11 Old 08-11-2008, 05:45 PM
 
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Good luck - I hope the Singulair was the culprit. It sounds like you have a doctor willing to listen and that definitely helps figure out these issues!
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