> The Beesley Buzz: Sleep - or rather lack of!

Sleep - or rather lack of!

Our son with Asperger's, now 9 years old has never been a good sleeper. He dropped his day naps completely as a baby when he was 15 months old whilst all the other babies we knew were still having one or even two naps a day.

He always struggled to settle to sleep even before that point. He slept well for the first 2 weeks of his life and from there on sleep was a struggle!

He struggles to fall asleep and then wakes up early. He used to wake a lot in the night and then not manage to re-settle. Thankfully that has improved a bit but it is the getting to sleep that is the big problem, combined with the 5.30am starts and then being non-stop on-the-go all day.

There is a question on the forms you fill in pre-diagnosis which says something like "is your child always on the go as if driven by batteries?" and I could not describe it a better way myself. However little sleep he gets, it doesn't seem to impact his energy levels (I guess I wish I was like that then perhaps I wouldn't mind so much about his lack of sleep!)

A few years ago his paediatrician offered him a prescription for melatonin but when I read the information leaflet that came with the prescription there were so many warnings about it not being tested in children that we decided to hold off.

Now I have got to the point that I feel we really really NEED to try something - they won't now issue the prescription without first going through the process of keeping a sleep diary and then a further discussion with the doctor. The principle of that I don't mind at all - but it is just frustrating that he had already been accepted as needing it previously but because we chose not to, he then 'fell off' the list and we are having to start all over.

We complete the final day of the sleep diary tomorrow yet I have no idea what the outcome will be. Perhaps they will think that he gets enough sleep because he is full of energy all day. Perhaps they will agree that it is not enough sleep compared to other children his age.

If they do issue the melatonin prescription will I go ahead and try him on it or will I chicken out again? Last time he seemed so young to go onto any medication, perhaps I will feel he is old enough now.

I would love to hear from anyone who has tried melatonin for an ASD child or has made the deliberate decision not to. Any other sleep tips based on what has worked for you would also be most welcome.



8 comments:

  1. Small dose of melatonin here has made a huge difference - combined with a very low dose of anti anxiety medication and a new approach :)

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    1. thanks - it's good to hear. We'll see what the doc says but I like to hear other peoples experiences too. xxx

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  2. You should ask on the home ed group, as I know at least one child takes it. Rx

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    1. good idea. I spoke to one mum at one of our workshops before who had a lot of success - hence re-considering it for J. x

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  3. With my eldest son I refused all medication, I found as he got older he would still wake but disturb me less. I was lucky though because he rarely left his room during the night so I knew he was safe. He's 25 now and still doesn't sleep through the night!
    With my 7 yr old daughter I have still chosen not to medicate her. She only wakes when in pain so I'm not sure medication is right for her. I really wish she didn't wake so early in the morning though.
    For some people though, medication is the best option. Sleep deprivation is horrible.
    It is a personal choice.

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    1. thanks for your thoughts Anne, I'm still not sure either way - but have been encouraged to hear from people who it has worked for as well as those who have managed without. xxx

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  4. Try Bigelow's Sweet Dreams Tea. It has the smell of Juicy fruit gum and works really good. Rx works best though but this maybe worth trying before any medications. Safer too.

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    1. thanks for the tip Sarah - will look into it! We are still awaiting an appointment with the consultant to talk about this - there are such long waiting lists here!

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