My 5 year old daughter (suspected ASD) is having nightmares. This has been going on for a few weeks now, so we are all pretty sleep deprived. She insists on coming into our bed (normally prefers her own space), which then results in our 3 year old (who would sleep in our bed every night if he could) waking up and insisting on coming in too. Last night I told her that she should stay in her own bed, and she was utterly distraught, crying and saying that she was too scared to sleep and only didn't have bad dreams when she slept with us. Anyone been through this and have any tips? She doesn't read yet (my escape from nightmares at her age), but I have got her a decent bedside light, plus have made her a weighted blanket. We have decided that we will put her to bed as normal every night, and that if she wakes up having nightmares, she can come in with us. Am hoping this is just a phase, as I am struggling to function at the moment!
I've found my DS's nightmares / night separation anxiety is much worse when he's struggling with something in the day - for him it was school. His anxieties come out in the form of night terrors / seeing nightmares (eyes open but still sees what was in his dream). When better supporter at school he's less prone to nightmares (I am by no means an expert as I do end up on a mattress on his floor fairly regularly as otherwise he shouts the house down / can't get back to sleep after a nightmare). He's also on melatonin as he was taking up to 3 hours to fall asleep at night which has helped a lot too. (I know someone people have found melatonin made dreams more vivid but luckily for us it's made him sleep a lot more contentedly)
I've never heard of night separation anxiety before, so shall definitely be looking that up! Yes, I think her anxiety comes from school as well. I have a meeting with her teacher this week, so hopefully we can find some ways to ease her stress at school - if you have any tips, am all ears! I am not sure her sleep is bad enough for melatonin yet, but shall keep it in mind. I had only heard that it could give nightmares, so it is interesting to hear that the opposite can also be true!