I originally posted in Behaviour/Development but was then advised to try posting here for more advice.
4yr old DS who is possibly on the spectrum has started getting up during the night after sleeping through since he was months old. For the past couple of weeks he has gradually been getting up more and more and got up 12 times last night. He is also becoming more clingy during the day and screams at the slightest thing. He was sent home from nursery last week as he would not tolerate any of the other children going near him and his key worker thought he might be hanging for something but it now seems his behaviour during the day is down to his lack of sleep at night. We're at our wits end now. The broken nights are starting to take their toll on us and his screaming during the day just adds to it. We haven't got a clue how to tackle this. I've spoken to our health visitor but she just said it's a stage he will grow out of. Any advice would be brilliant.
has he seen a paediatrician yet? If he has then ring them - see what they advise, it maybe that they'll will prescribe melatonin to help him sleep. Is he going off to sleep ok? Is he verbal? Why is he saying he's up? Could he need a night light? I'm no expert in this but I think the HV is being a bit dismissive - 12 times in a night doesn't sound like a phase especially as he is already undergoing assessment and many children on the spectrum have issues with sleep. There are loads of sleep savvy posters on here, one should be along in a bit
He's seeing a paediatrican who I'm waiting on a call back from to explain test results from bloods so will ask then as not due to see him again until January.
He goes off to sleep ok. He wakes usually between 1am and 3am and either settles once been put back in bed or just keeps getting up and eventually settles after being put back to bed several times. He's not verbal so can't tell why he's getting up. Sometimes when he gets up he's happy and other times his crying and a few times he's been virtually asleep but is awake as responds when we go to him.
When dr phones talk to her about it or give her a call - as it's having such and effect on him in the day and you - maybe the melatonin is an option. Lots of mners use for their dc for some it works for some it doesn't. The other thing I would say is - has there been any changes about the time this started? At home or nursery setting - it could be a tiny thing but could have made him anxious - things like where he sits in nursery, things being moved around, change of pjs, bedding etc . If there's a trigger and you can find it then you might be able to reverse it or help him feel less anxious
Does he snore? Has he had any ear infections, jaw pain? I'd hold off on the melatonin because it doesn't sound that would be the solution at this moment. There could well be a medical reason for why he is waking up. Has he ever complained of head pain that you're aware of. My DS is non verbal, but I know when he is ailing as he looks pinched and drawn. Has the GP looked at him at all?
He doesn't snore but last week was lethargic as if coming down with bug but seems back to normal now apart from the sleep. Been trying to think of anything that has changed but can't think of anything. Before see his paed might get GP to give him once over to rule out infection etc.
@cats was hoping they were the flavoured pastel variety - oh we'll the search continues. I can pass those off as sweets - although dd wants to get in on the act and she wants sweets or derweets as she calls them, she 20mths so it's a nono @con - defo check in with the GP my ds had a virus that lasted weeks one day he'd be fine, then he was ill next day fine - I'm sure you know the drill
My son is 11 with Aspergers and OCD. He never slept through. Ever. Up to being 10 yrs old, a good night was him waking 2 or 3 times nightly. At its worst, he'd be up 8 or 9 +. He and I were exhausted.
A paediatrician prescribed Circadin which is slow release Melatonin. Your child is too young for intervention of this sort I expect but, a weeny dose of this (he prescribed 2mg.... I only ever gave 1mg as I didn't really want to give him anything) put him in to a sleep pattern that meant we both slept and were the better for it!!
Now, we have a supply for "emergencies" when he's really unwell with the OCD.