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Nightmares and night waking in a previously good sleeper, what to do?

(4 Posts)
FlyingFig Fri 23-Nov-12 09:43:35

DS, 7, from the age of about 2 has been a good sleeper (which has more than made up for 2 years of no sleep!).

His sensory issues have meant that he always insists on the room being pitch black and he likes the door shut, in order for him to wind down and fall asleep.

About 2 weeks ago he started waking up screaming, shaking and covered in sweat in the early hours, crying about 'pink sparks with nasty faces on' coming towards him. Some nights it's vampires trying to bite him. On 4 occasions he's either wet himself or has been about to, which again is not usual for him.

He struggles to settle and has started getting stressed at bed time, crying and begging not to have to go to bed. We've started to stay with him until he's calmed down, but he's still waking up. The last two mornings I've found him in the bottom bunk in the DD's room, curled up with DD1, unaware that he's even been up in the night!

SENCO has noted he's even harder to engage at school lately and his attention span is even worse than usual, however he's far less tearful at school than usual?

Really not sure what to do or if I should speak to GP? He's ASD, dyspraxia and has sensory processing issues. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

ProcrastinatingPanda Fri 23-Nov-12 09:54:17

We've got the same problem here with 5yr old DS. I've downloaded lots of sleep apps and calming music apps to his iPod and I put them in the iPod dock next to his bed. I've showed him how to easily put it back on if he wakes up and he sleeps with a torch too. We read nice stories like Winnie the Pooh before bed too and tell him it's so he will have nice dreams. It works some of time, but we've spent every night the last week with him in our bed.

Ihavenobum Fri 23-Nov-12 14:08:41

My ds 7, has always been up and down with his sleep (waking during the night or really early in the morning) I later realised it was at times when he was really anxious that he had similar to your ds, woke during the night screaming for me or was oblivious to me when I was sat directly in front of him - fighting invisible forces but we could not make sense of what he was telling us, it always seemed to be happening if he had a really tough day at school or if something he had seen/heard during the day had made him feel sad or scared him. I started to sit with him in his bed before he settled off, I don't really speak unless spoken to (but not in a defensive way..if that makes any sense)..listen if he has anything to say no matter how trivial it may sound, there have actually been times when he has asked me some pretty heartbreaking questions about things that have obviously been playing on his mind all day just because of something another pupil had told him about themselves eg that they have 2 mums (obviously parent had remarried) so my ds then spent the rest of the day stressing his dad and myself might split up and he would end up with 2 mums!! I would never of known about this if I hadn't started sitting with him...tried not to mention dreams at all because this seemed to make him think that he MAY have a bad dream which then stopped him from wanting to go to sleep, cuddles a plenty if thats what he wants to do. Now he wakes during the night and tells me he has had a bad dream but he doesn't seem to have the nightmares as before, and we are quite sure he is sleep walking but this only seems to last minutes and it is easy to guide him back to his bed with minimum effort (we have a safety gate at the top of the stairs which I have a bell on so I can hear if its being opened).

I don't know if it was purly coincidence that everything improved at school eg attention, progress after I started to sit with him or not but he asks every night so I will just continue to do this anyway and see what happens.

Ihavenobum Fri 23-Nov-12 14:17:29

Oh and an extra note..he seems to wake more often if we have left the heating on later than usual he gets too hot but never tells us this we just factored that in too.

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