Good Morning and Happy Tuesday!
Chloe was born a heavy sleeper. We had to wake her for feedings at night. She started having issues with napping and sleeping after her first birthday. At 15 months of age she stopped napping all together. She would just jump around in her crib, eventually breaking it. Then she started taking forever to fall asleep at night. She would just babble for hours! It has progressively gotten worse as she has gotten older.
Lack of sleep affects her in many ways. She has trouble functioning mentally, cognitive skills are affected, emotionally, more tantrums, and physically, very off balance. It is hard to watch. The big problem is she get extremely hyper. You would think she would take a nap or lay down on the couch. She does on rare occasions, but most days she is a whirlwind of movement.
I have read that 80% of children with Autism have sleep problems. Some can take Melatonin (The natural hormone that controls sleep) as a supplement. I tried this with Chloe when she was younger and it didn’t work. At 4 years old the pediatrician added a sleep medication. It has worked well for years, with just occasional waking up at night. The past year the medication dosage has been raised 2 times, but it just isn’t working anymore. Yesterday the pediatrician told me to add Melatonin to the sleep medication. It helped her go to sleep last night, but she was awake by 2 am. I will continue to try this until we can get an appt with a specialist, who can hopefully come up with a better solution for Chloe.
So what is it that keeps our children from sleeping? Some research says that their brains don’t produce enough Melatonin to regulate their bodies to know when to rest. A lot of children, with Autism, have gastrointestinal issues and have tummy aches or body aches that keep them from sleeping. Anxiety is even a factor. When Chloe had an EKG done 6 years ago, after she had a seizure, it showed her brain waves move at a much faster pace than is normal. I feel Chloe will eventually need a sleep study done to find out the exact reason.
One thing I need to do is after 6 pm is keep the TV off, turn off the lights and see if that helps regulate her brain into knowing its time to prepare for sleep.
One lesson I have learned is to NEVER tell Chloe if a special event is coming up. She will get over excited and not sleep until that event is over. Right now we are going through the roughest patch on no sleep we have ever had. We are on Day #10 of being just exhausted! I know it will pass, but its no fun right now. LOL.
Do any of you have sleep issues with your child? What works for you? Share in the comments.
Have a wonderful day