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Dd (11) has asd and is scared of going to sleep at night

(7 Posts)
PaddingtonLoverOfMarmalade Mon 13-Feb-17 09:24:54

This has been building up over the last couple of years. She's not scared of the dark, doesn't have nightmares and sleeps well when she finally gives in. We've got a night time routine, have tried relaxation techiques - they work fora couple of nights then she'll resist them.

So it's not falling asleep that's the problem. It's her fear, that she can't explain. We think it's something to do with endings (she struggles with any kind of transition), or that having made a bit of sense of the world she doesn't want to start all over again the next day.

She'll fall asleep if me or her dad stay with her on our bed but that can take ages and she has to semi-wake to go through to her own room (which is too small for a double bed). We need some time in the evenings and it's making her tired and crabby in the mornings!

Has anybody got any tips? I think there's a book that explains why sleep is important. It's the fear that needs tackling.

Areyoufree Mon 13-Feb-17 11:28:31

I can relate. I believe I have ASD, and have had a very bad relationship with sleep. I used to be too scared to sleep, and would often read all night. Things that help me are having a night light (although I was scared of the dark), listening to stand up comedy on my headphones (music, audio books or comedy is a well trusted method for me to distract my mind enough to fall asleep), or, if all else fails, getting up and doing something else. Sometimes I don't seem to need as much sleep as normal, and getting up and focusing on something else for a while helps me feel like sleeping again. It's horrible though, one of my great hates is feeling myself fall asleep - I get sleep paralysis, where I can feel I am falling asleep, and know that if I manage to move I can wake myself up. Stress definitely makes it worse though, so maybe focus on waking hours could also help?

zzzzz Mon 13-Feb-17 15:19:56

Yes ds went through a similar stage. I think for him it was the fear of shutting down, lack of understanding of "dreams" and separation anxiety.
No real sage advice except it CAN resolve. We did LOADS of sunshine and exercise, huge meals and epson salts in the bath....when you get the evenings back all will be better.

Nb counter intuitively ds responds very well to moving his bed/changed routine. It shakes him out of a rut.

PolterGoose Mon 13-Feb-17 15:52:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

drinkyourmilk Mon 13-Feb-17 16:17:48

I have aspergers and hate sleep too.
I've found that a weighted blanket or extra duvet helps me settle when I'm anxious about going to bed.

PaddingtonLoverOfMarmalade Mon 13-Feb-17 19:31:15

Thanks all, lots of ideas to take on board and I can relate to all of your descriptions. We've recently stopped saying 'time to go to sleep' and instead say 'relax' or 'read a book'.

Her room is heavily customised! She has multiple blankets, a onesie and a string of lights that stay on permanently, which would give me insomnia but is what she needs.

Will investigate weighted blankets - for some reason I thought these were for very young children, though if it works who cares. Remote control lights might help, for distraction if nothing else. Agreed that less stress, exercise and sunlight are the best answers. We're in the run up to year 6 sats so life is pretty stressful at the moment (getting lots of support from school).

I guess it's karma biting me on the bum for how easily she went to bed as a baby.

EineKleine Mon 13-Feb-17 23:25:20

A friend of mine takes her children swimming most evenings, or on walks at bedtime. Desperate times and all that.

DS is comforted by being in our bed even without us. As zzzz says, I think the change of scene helps, and he transfers back fine. We also have a couple of enormous soft toys that are reserved for difficult nights.

I was brought up on the mantra "a rest is almost as good as a sleep" and my children have heard it from very young. I really like it with its reassurance that just relaxing is "good enough".

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