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sleep

(16 Posts)

Sleep has started to become a problem once more for ds (8 with ASD).
He is historically very adverse to finding solutions (ie changing things even when things are not actually working). I thought maybe a process approach might work so maybe starting by making a big poster about what stops people from sleeping. I will make it quite visual so that he is attracted to it but I wont actually point it out to him. I will start by putting up a few ideas like noise with maybe a fireworks graphics etc. I will just try to casually mention if he has any ideas he can let me know and I can add them. If this works then slowly but surely I can use it to lead to maybe finding solutions to the ideas that are up on the board. We could then maybe do a day chart of what we tried, how he slept and graph it (he will like this bit if I can get to it)
Does this sound doable, achievable or totally stupid? Any other ideas?

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:44:51

Do you know why he cannot sleep?

No that is the problem, he complains he cant sleep, keeps us awake but is totally resistant to finding out why and what we can do about it which is why I thought about the process approach rather than sitting him down and talking about it which he will just not do.

mrslaughan Tue 20-Nov-12 09:33:30

is it sensory? DS used to have trouble settling to sleep, but once we got his sensory issues more modulated things got dramatically better - plus with investigating the sensory stuff, I tried a heavy blanket. If I remember rightly, if they have trouble with proprioception, the understanding where they "are" is difficult, the weighted blanket "grounds" them, gives them a good sense of where they are in space.
You can buy weighted blankets, but we just use a cotton king size blanket folded over until its DS size - is that worth a try?

thanks I think we have the sensory covered, he does have a similar arrangement to you in that we use two heavy blankets in lieu of a weighted one. I do wonder about light as he will not sleep without light since the earthquake (we are in NZ and had a big quake 2 years ago and life has never been quite the same.
But unless I can get him talking about it I won't be able to narrow down the problem.

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 09:55:48

Yawning, things i have tried with ds in the past, which have helped (they are not helping at the moment as ds is extremely stressed and not sleeping until about 4am, if at all at the moment)

Adding structure and routine to his day.

Visualation and relax techs (ds says, he cannot switch his brain off)

Bedtime routine, with visuals ie what we do leading up to bedtime.

Writing his worries down, once a day

and Melatonin to reset his body clock. I find it becomes a circle, he doesnt sleep of a night, then sleeps during the day, then cannot sleep of a night even if wanted to. So we have used Melatonin for a month, to 'reset' his body clock.

I have now tried part one. I put Why Can't I Sleep as a heading and then
Too much light and too much noise as starting ideas.
Ds has already come up with
Hunger
Need quiet play
Learn to relax
Earlier bedtime
More exercise
Fantastic. I am going to leave it a couple of days to see if we can add to it and then we can try the solutions part (this was always going to be the big area of resistance as he doesn't like trying new things eg if we think hunger is an issue then actually trying to have something filling and sustaining before bed will be new and therefore resisted...we shall see.
Claw thak you...I think the visualation and relaxation techniques could hopefully become part of the solution. I have thought about Melatonin, I have been trying Tart Cherry for a good couple of weeks (Slipped it into his drinks so he is actually unaware of it) but that has had zero effect. Will keep it up my sleeve if all else fails

mrslaughan Tue 20-Nov-12 19:41:01

I am a nzer living in the uk... Are you in chch? We were in wanaka for the first big chch quake - it felt pretty bloody big in wanaka, I can tell you!
Have you tried b12?
I don't think you will be able to by melatonin in NZ (unless the rules have changed) I used to travel a lot for work, and used to by in on my way through LAX.

claw4 Tue 20-Nov-12 23:02:08

Yawning, hunger was one of ds's too, so he has a bedtime snack, being scared of the dark was another, that he wouldnt admit to for ages. Also 'scary' dreams, were making him literally too scared to sleep. As well as being anxious about school the next day and worrying about what had happened that day in school too.

Sounds like your ds is doing great at expressing why and your plan is working, good luck smile

auntevil Tue 20-Nov-12 23:28:52

Yawning, I have family in chch. They have 3 NT and 1 SN DC.
One of their NT DDs is still having terrible sleep problems since the quake. She is of a similar age to your DS and in daylight hours is perfectly capable of discussing her thoughts rationally, but at night time, rationality goes out of the window.
Where they are, there are still so many visual reminders for her of what might have been. They are back in a house where their side of the road was damaged - but survived, and the other side of the road has gone, it's deserted. It's hard to estimate the effect on a young mind of having felt relative security and now to have visual reminders of impermanence.
As you know, there are frequent 'rumblings' and this might also remind her.
I don't know what is on offer in NZ such as CAMHS as we have over here, but is it worth getting your DS talking about his fears in the daytime with someone that isn't family and doesn't have a vested interest in getting him to bed and to sleep at a certain time?

HotheadPaisan Wed 21-Nov-12 07:59:11

Huebner's What to do when you dread your bed might help?

tell me more HotheadPaisan, is it a book???
Thanks for all the responses. DS is under something called CAFlink rural which may be similar to CAMHS I think. He doesn't do talking about stuff usually at all which is why it can be a real issue to solve anything that is a real issue if you know what I mean. I am very proud of him though he has added more to the poster including screen time close to bedtime (he can still see it in his head).

DS is pretty ok about the earthquake in general, he needs information so where we are the one that had the biggest effect was the first one in September (7.1) which was centred very close to us (the one that killed a lot of people and totaled the city was the following Feb and was 6.3 and much further from us). We sat in the dark with a torch with a book about the earths plates while the world rocked and rolled under us and he was fine. The only real fear effect for him has been the dark because that earthquake we lost power and it was 4 in the morning and he was in the top bunk which was bucking around and very hard to climb down when you couldnt see anything and nothing was staying still. He now not only insists on a night light but the full on proper light ( I have tried to explain that if the power goes out again that it won't actually be helpful but rationality doesn't really come into it) However having the full light on can't be helping the going to sleep issue. That said it is not something that has as yet been added to the Why Can't I Sleep chart.

HotheadPaisan Wed 21-Nov-12 09:47:17

Yes, it's a book, practical, CBT-type stuff for his age, will be on Amazon. It just might help for him to read with you and realise there are others who feel like this and there are some things you can do about it.

SallyBear Wed 21-Nov-12 09:50:49

yawning. Your poor boy. sad it's terrible having an anxiety about something as natural as going to sleep. I'm assuming that the CAF people have put you in touch with a psychiatrist to talk to him about this traumatic experience and to find therapies to help alleviate his fears. I really hope that he gets through this.

ChristmasTreegles Wed 21-Nov-12 10:06:10

Not sure what to tell you for solutions. We struggled with DS2's sleep patterns (or rather LACK of sleep!), and finally gave in to giving him Melatonin. We're still toying about with it, as he has liquid in the evening as well as timed release capsule (powder mixed in food). We're still not sure about the timed release as we suspect too much of it may be in his system in the morning (not enough to keep him asleep, but enough that he feels he needs to "rev up" - read that as act manic all over the place). But at least the Melatonin is getting him off to sleep in the evening.

thanks Sally, he has had the opportunity to talk about his experience but doesn't really want to and as I say he really seems ok with it as long as he can keep his light on. I don't actually think that the two are related as sleep has only really become a big issue again in the last couple of months and all the earthquake stuff (including the light being on) was a while ago.

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