Autism & Sleep & Why I Bow Down To The Melatonin Gods
December 12, 2011
You can also filter by categoriesUncategorized
Sorry, we didn't find anything.
Now Reading: Autism & Sleep & Why I Bow Down To The Melatonin Gods
December 12, 2011
(originally written & published on December 12, 2011 when my son was 8 1/2 years old)
On my Autism Daddy Facebook Page I get asked alot
HOW DOES THE KING SLEEP AT NIGHT? DO YOU GIVE HIM ANYTHING TO HELP HIM SLEEP?? HOW MUCH DO YOU GIVE HIM??
So I thought I’d write a blog post all about it. So here goes… 🙂
Sleep used to be a big issue around here. It would take hours to get the king to sleep even though he was VERY TIRED. Then about 2 1/2 years ago we started giving him melatonin. Melatonin is NOT a drug, it is a supplement and you can find the pill form in the vitamin section of ANY pharmacy. If your kid won’t take pills you can get liquid forms of melatonin online.
Amazingly, the king takes pills VERY well. You can put a pill on a teaspoon with some baby food bananas and he will eat it right down. And in July of 2009 we started giving him melatonin and it has been a GODSEND. I said in an old post that it’s the one thing we’ve tried that has done exactly what they said it’s supposed to do.
He goes thru phases where as little as 200mcg is all he’ll need to fall asleep and other times he’ll need as much as 6mg. So we always have a 200mcg bottle and a 3mg bottle on hand. We give it to him 30-45 minutes before bedtime and it usually works within
that 30-45 minutes.
Now the thing you should know about melatonin is that IT HELPS YOU FALL ASLEEP, but if you’re not tired IT WON’T KEEP YOU ASLEEP.
So if you’re kid is not tired and he falls asleep with melatonin he may be up at 2am. Then you might need to look into a true sleeping pill or a med or supplement that causes true/ long lasting drowsiness…
But for us Melatonin has worked wonders. My son usually falls asleep somewhere between 8:30-9:00pm and sleeps til about 6:00-7:00am. There’s at least 1-2 times per month where he’ll wake up at 2am. Sometimes we’ll give him a bit more and he’ll fall back to sleep, other times he’ll be up for the day… but 1-2x a month is ALOT better than the 3-4x per week that it used to be before melatonin.
Now as to his sleep routine… he really doesn’t have one. The wife calls me “The Sleep Whisperer” and it’s always been my job to get the king to bed at night. Sometimes that means starting up in his room with the tv on & lights on and slowly shifting to tv on and lights off and then tv off. Other nights we will start the bedtime routine in the living room and shift to his bedroom.
Other nights the king will pass out on the couch. There is no consistency to it… and sometimes I try to set up a routine, but my asd kid doesn’t live by schedules and routines, so I say why stress it as long as he falls asleep.
The only thing that’s bad and that I need to work on is that no matter where he is, he still kinda needs me (or mom) physically in the room with him to fall asleep. If we put him in his room 30 minutes before bedtime he will not unwind on his own. I feel like that is something that I need to work on before he gets too much older.
But anyway, long story short…
The king sleeps well thanks to the magic of melatonin and we feel EXTREMELY lucky about this. Every night when the wife and I are sitting on the couch at 10pm watching tv I thank my lucky stars that he’s a good sleeper because with everything else he throws at us if we added on 1am bedtimes on top of it I don’t know what I would do…
Let’s hope this good sleeping phase lasts FOREVER!
Written byFrank Campagna
I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).