Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Night Issues...so very common in our little guys

Owen used to have amazing sleeping habits, he would usually go to bed around 8pm, walk upstairs himself with his blankie and go right to sleep. Since roughly a year ago, things have changed, for the worst.

I can not complain too much about his sleeping patterns, he is a deep sleeper, he loves to sleep in, with only one issue - it is getting him to sleep. Owen does not like to be alone at night, he likes to know someone is beside him.. and the cuddler in me loves every part of it. Some of the problems we are facing with Owens sleeping issues are -

*actually falling asleep at night
*over stimulated at night
*hates seeing his dad go to work on midnights
*waits for me to get home from afternoons
*still likes to nap in the afternoon
*is scared to be alone
*will sleep in sometimes till 11am!

We have spoken to some of Owens therapists on his team and our Doctor about his poor sleeping habits, and a common suggestion is Melatonin. "Sleep disturbance is common in childhood, and is particularly problematic in children with neurological problems such as learning difficulties, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders and epilepsy, as well as children with visual impairment (partial or complete). This is probably because these children have difficulty recognising and attuning their sleep cycle to the outside world's sleep-wake cycle. ".

"They found that the melatonin significantly improved almost all aspects of sleep in most of the children and around 93% recorded significant benefits. The average number of hours sleep that the children had each week increased by around 10%, from 54 hours/week before taking the melatonin to 66 hours/week while taking the melatonin. The number of interruptions to sleep each week decreased by 50% from an average of seven interruptions per week before taking the melatonin, to 3.5 interruptions while taking the drug. Also, the number of hours of interrupted sleep decreased by 45%, from nine hours awake each week during a sleep interruption pre melatonin, to five hours per week while taking melatonin. "

Ryan and I have always been against giving Owen anything, and not that we are ever against anyone giving their child anything, but we thought it would be a last resort for Owen. We still are on the fence about this, and again, want to leave it as a last resort. I really want to try and get Owens sleeping back to what it used to be, and do it in time for when he starts school in September. So now, for the next 5 months, my goal is to get Owen in bed by 8:30pm :)

Tonight I am pleased to say - 8:30pm :) no nap :)

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