Recent study: Sleep & Kids with Autism.
When the study showed up in my email inbox earlier this month, I literally LOL’d. Because really? I needed a study to tell me this.
Here’s a snippet of the press release:
Trouble Sleeping Linked to Behavior Problems in Children with Autism
“Past research has found that children with ASD often have trouble sleeping at night. Many children with ASD also struggle with regulating their behavior during the day,” said Micah Mazurek, assistant professor of health psychology in the MU School of Health Professions and the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders and co-author of the study. “Research on children without ASD has found that lack of sleep can contribute to these behavioral problems. In this study, we were specifically interested in whether sleep is related to challenging behavior in children with ASD.”
Children who weren’t sleeping well had greater problems with aggression, irritability and paying attention during the day. They found that children who awakened frequently throughout the night had the most trouble regulating their behavior.
“If parents are noticing that their children are having behavioral problems, it may be helpful to make sure they are sleeping well at night,” Mazurek recommended.
I hate to break it to these folks, but it just ain’t that easy.
And whatever “behaviors” Norrin has, it doesn’t really have anything to do with his lack of sleep. I’ve sent him to school with 4 hours of sleep and warned the teacher, only to have her tell me that Norrin’s had a great day. So, go figure?
My kid just doesn’t sleep.
I’ve tried Melatonin. I’ve tried lavender and consistent bedtime routines. I’ve tried letting him go to sleep later, hoping he’ll sleep through the night. Nothing has made a difference. I’ve stopped trying. Because trying to get my kid to sleep is exhausting.
When he wakes in the middle of the night, it’s often after midnight, usually between 3 – 4 am. Norrin wakes with giddy excitement. Ready to play. Turning on lights. Pulling out books to read. Singing songs. Dumping his Lego bricks or cars out of their bins, clattering on the hard wood floor. He’s talking, giggling, making eye contact.
When he wakes up, I wake up. Sometimes letting him play, laying in his bed or in mine with one eye open. Mindful that at any moment, he could run into the kitchen to use the microwave or open the front door (because he has). And other times coaxing him back to his bed.
And just today, my Facebook memories reminded me that it’s been years since Norrin has slept through the entire night.
Well that’s not really true. Last night, he actually slept the entire night. But those nights are few and far between.
I’ve probably jinxed myself now. He’ll be up all night tonight.