Mothering Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI ladies,

DS has ASD and bedtime is a nightmare. I need some help. Every night we go through a 30-60 minute screaming session until DS is so exhausted that he falls asleep.

We have had the exact (and I mean exact) bedime routine for two years. Bath, books, bed. We use a timer and it doesn't help at all. I have tried classical music, massages.

We have had to put a lock on his bedroom door (which makes me feel like the worst parent ever), otherwise he would never stay in his room.

He wakes up screaming in the middle of the night at least once a week so I go and sleep with him on his floor (he won't sleep in his bed). He wakes up screaming in the morning.


Ideas? Thanks, Kerri DS- 7/21/03, DD 3/16/06
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Not sure if my advice will help but I figured it couldn't hurt to tell you how we deal with our 3 year old AS son when it comes to bedtime.

Let me just say that we used to have it easy when it came to bedtime. At 8pm we would head to the bathroom for the brushing of the teeth and the washing of the hands/face. We would then go into the bedroom to close the blinds and place DS in his crib. No fuss - once DS was in his crib we would exchange "night-night" and then I would leave his room and head back to the living room for some "me-time". DS would usually babble away and entertain himself until he fell asleep (usually within 30 minutes). Then everything changed...

In December DS began refusing to enter his bedroom after dark. For a couple of nights he was fine with the bathroom routine but even that became difficult because he knew it meant that we were then going to enter his bedroom. Everything came to a halt and there was no getting him to go near the end of the house where his bed and bath is located. The only way he would go to sleep was when DH or I held him while we sat on the couch - it usually took about 5-10 minutes for DS to be sound asleep and then we would transfer him to his crib.

After a couple of weeks we decided that the best thing for us would be to allow DS to fall asleep when he decided he was ready to fall asleep - after finishing the bathroom routine. Now we leave the bathroom and head out into the living-room instead of DS's bedroom. Usually around 8pm DS will climb up on the couch and snuggle up to DH or me while we watch TV or read - he's sound asleep in a matter of minutes. There are times when DS is awake until 10 or 11pm but we just let him do his thing until he's ready for sleep.

DS still sleeps in a crib - we tried the toddler bed conversion and that was a HUGE mistake, lol. He kept walking out of his room everytime he awoke. He's content to hang out in his crib for an hour after he wakes in the morning - he doesn't seem to have the desire to climb out (the side is lowered should he decided to try) and he doesn't seem to mind the fact that he wakes up in his crib even though he fell asleep with mommy or daddy.

I hope my babbling helps you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,001 Posts
I don't know if my advice will help either, because I'm sure this is not the case for all kids with ASD, but DD's sleep woes are related to two things: yeast and imbalanced neurotransmitters. Both are verified by lab tests.

The yeast causes her to wake up in the middle of the night. We keep it under control with grapefruit seed extract as needed, Candex (anti-yeast enzymes) and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. These measures also help with numerous other aspects of her behavior.

For the imbalanced neurotransmitters, which cause her to be unable to calm herself down from being stressed, we still have not got that under control completely, but a supplement of GABA/L-Theanine helps. This is OTC and often marketed as a natural supplement for calming stress. Lately we've been giving her 1g of melatonin with magnesium before bed and that seems to be helping too. Lately we're doing okay at night but still having to discourage even short daytime naps because she wakes up disoriented and screaming. Luckily she doesn't seem to need daytime naps anymore. I have suspected in the past that some sleep woes might be related to undiagnosed silent reflux as well but have never been able to verify that suspicion. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,775 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by krissi
I don't know if my advice will help either, because I'm sure this is not the case for all kids with ASD, but DD's sleep woes are related to two things: yeast and imbalanced neurotransmitters. Both are verified by lab tests.
krissi, what tests determine an imbalance of neurotransmitters?

Sorry to hijack but my dd sounds like your ds eandasmom. We have an upcoming DAN doc visit (and it can't get here soon enough).

The only advice I can give is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet thing. This has helped us somewhat but dd still is having MAJOR problems with sleep. Since our appt. is not until October (
), I'm ordering tests on my own for now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,001 Posts
Quote:
krissi, what tests determine an imbalance of neurotransmitters?
We did the NeuroSelect profile on this page:
https://neurorelief.com/index.php?ma...ansmitterTests

The only thing I don't like about it is that the company that does this test uses the results to push its own overpriced supplements. But for DD, all except one or two of the neurotransmitters measured was severely out of whack from the reference range...as in five to ten times the upper limit for what was normal. (The way it was explained to me was that elevated urinary neurotransmitters reflected a deficiency or an inability of the body to process them correctly or something like that...I forget the exact mechanism.) Our DAN ped suggested the GABA/L-Theanine supplement as a way to address the ones that were causing the most problems and we're hoping the rest will eventually normalize as we heal her gut and improve vitamin absorption.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,389 Posts
OK, I'm not really saying anything new, but have you tried sleep meds? Lord knows they don't always work and then some do and some don't and some work for a while--- it can be a pain, but it can give you some relief for a while at least. Sometimes they'll only work to help them fall asleep and they still get up in the night, but at least you've solved one problem.

We went through hell with the bedtime routine from about age 3 or 4 to age 6. The we got sleep meds temporarily to deal with a side effect to another drug and IT WAS A MIRACLE. If I would have known we could have had those before I would have asked for them.

One of the pp's mentioned letting them fall asleep when they want to and obviously that only works if they will EVER go to sleep on their own. DH used to lay with dd until she fell asleep and it was 2 hours (sometimes more) of screaming, hitting, talking, and crying. There was nothing you could do to help. She now takes Clonodine to go to sleep and Trazadone helps her stay asleep. One of my friends gives her kid sudafed to get him to sleep. He still wakes up screaming sometimes, but at least he will actually fall asleep at some point. One of his parents always have to sleep with him too.

Our dd has always slept with us, so that's not the issue----just the actual sleeping part is the issue.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,186 Posts
I feel your pain, mama. Btdt. What really helped was having a very specific bedtime routine that starts the same time every night, and plays out the exact same way, no variation. On restless nights we give him .5mg of melatonin (it doesn't work when we're out of town...as you can see by my other post...lol...but at home it's lovely), hylands calmes forte 4 kids tabs, and use a weighted blanket. The room is dark and cool, there is a nightlight, and we play the same soft music every night while I rock him to sleep.

Like I said, it doesn't work well when we're out of town, but at home he sleeps through the night about 4-5 nights a week and goes to sleep in about 45 minutes after I start rocking him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,714 Posts
I also have a DS w/ASD. He is now 5, and bedtime is much easier than it used to be. He was a sleep-fighter for a loooonnnggg time. For my DS, the problem was the inability to regulate daily rhythms, to recognize the feeling of being sleepy and to understand how to get himself to sleep. He was physically, neurologically unable to self-soothe.

We do lots of regulation games during the day, such as having him match my pace as I walk faster, slower or start hopping. When he is excited we have have a calming routine. At bedtime I lie down next to him (sometimes I still have to drape my arms over his arms and legs to prevent him from thrashing himself awake at the point of falling asleep) so that he can hear my heartbeat and breathing slow down with his heartbeat and breathing -- the ultimate regulating tool. It usually takes about 20 minutes or more for him to squirm around, get comfortable, go to the bathroom one last time and snuggle in again before he will be ready to sleep -- even when he's super exhausted. To trigger a natural melatonin response, DS is outdoors for a few minutes every day at noon, and when it gets close to bedtime, we shut off most electric lights and let the house get dark gradually -- it usually takes about 60 minutes for DS to get sleepy in the darkening house before we even try to go to bed.

Because severe separation anxiety has been a problem for DS since birth, I believe that it's important for him to fall asleep wrapped in love and security, and to wake up with those same feelings. We have a king + twin bed arrangement, so he can sleep in his own bed while resting in the knowledge that we are always near. He still wakes up in a panic sometimes, looking for me.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top