Autism Early Mornings

Matthew’s sleeping has always been a bit hit and miss. Right back to when he was a baby, it would take up to 2 hours to get him to settle down at night. For a while, we ended up putting him down in his car seat, as he would wake within minutes if we put him in his moses basket.

Things haven’t significantly improved over the years really. He settles a bit easier at night, although he often takes a good while to fall asleep. Thankfully he’s quiet with it, and won’t disturb Daniel. Overnight remains patchy. He will often sleep through to gone 6am – or occasionally later – although he is still prone to appearing any time after 2am. Sometimes he comes through, gets into bed then falls asleep. We still get the loud stroppy boy who will yell the house down, which basically means the end of sleep for us all. We’re coping with it though, but there’s no way Matthew is getting enough sleep.

Last night was a great example of that. Matthew was put to bed around 815 or so. Jane waited with him for a while to make sure he was settled in bed, then left him as we do now (Daniel still likes someone with him until he falls asleep.) But while I was with Daniel, Matthew was still very restless, and was still awake when I left Daniel to it at 845pm. If he’s asleep before 9pm, then it’s a minor surprise. When we were having trouble with Matthew getting up early, a few people suggested putting him to be earlier. Well, last night was a great example of how that doesn’t work. While I was getting ready for work at 535am this morning, the bathroom door opened, and there was Matthew. Awake by 535. Five thirty five. A.M. Maybe 8 and a half hours sleep? I checked the other week how much sleep an 8-year old should have on average, and apparently its 10 and a quarter hours. So despite not sleeping until 9pm, he still only gone to 530am, when it should have been closer to 730am.

I suggested to Matthew he get into bed with Jane and try to get a little more sleep, but when I was preparing to head out to work, he appeared at the bottom of the stairs in chatty mood. Wide awake. He took advantage of my rushing to get out, and was watching Power Rangers on Netflix by 545am! He seems to function during the day ok. We’ve not heard anything about him losing concentration often at school. But when he comes home, you can see he’s tired. The body language and eyes give the game away. His eyes will often be baggy from lack of sleep. It can’t be doing him any good to be tired so much of the time.

A last resort I suppose would be medication to help him sleep, although I’d not be keen to go down that road. We had him referred to Sleep Scotland a while back, but it would appear their waiting list isn’t moving that quickly. We were told at the time it could take 18 months, but that’s 18 months of poor sleeping that doesn’t just affect Matthew alone. If he’s buzzing at 530am, then everyone is awake. This morning was a treat for Matthew – living room to himself for uninterrupted Power Rangers. Now there’s something he’ll gladly give up sleep for!


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