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How to Get a Decent Night of Sleep, Even with a Child with Autism

Get Sleep Autism

This is a Type-A Parent paid post to discuss sleep issues, and to share a new insomnia resource from the National Sleep Foundation.

Having a child with any kind of special needs can make routines and the quest for sleep near impossible. My six year-old has what the doctors call, “Sleep Disturbance Disorder” which means, essentially, none of us get any sleep. 

We’ve been to therapists, done sleep studies, talked to doctors… the list goes on and on. Finally, we’ve worked out some sort of routine that seems to be helping so that he sleeps most of the night in his own bed and I can catch some much needed zzzzzzz’s. 

Get Sleep Autism

Our Routine

6 pm – Dinner, everyone at the table (I know, we’re old school). No one leaves the table until everyone is done. 

6:30 – Clean up from dinner, Brady watches 1-2 Peppa Pig episodes. Oh how we love that pig! 

7-7:30 – Bath time with calming lavender soap/bubble bath. Chase a nekkid kid all over the house while he falls in a fit of giggles.

7:30 –  Books galore, or if meltdowns are happening, more Peppa Pig.

8:00 – Lay down in a dark room with Brady, loud fan for white noise, all devices off, phones silenced.

8:30 – Pray that B will settle down soon. Switch and make my husband lay down with him if he is home from work.

9:00 – Now both of us are laying down with him. 475 stories have been told. Tickles done, songs sung, he’s finally drifting off…

10:00 – SLEEP Darnit! 

10:30 – Success! He’s out. More often than not, one of us is also asleep. Probably me. 

11:00 – Move him *carefully* to his own bed if he fell asleep in ours.

2:00 am – Sometimes this is when he comes back to our room and crawls in our bed to sleep.

6:00 am – WAKE UP IT’S TIME TO PLAY! More Peppa Pig while I groggily make coffee. 

Hey, at least it’s better than it was. I’m usually getting a good 7 hours of sleep these days, and that’s double what it was before our routine. 

Tips that have worked great to get more sleep

  • Dark room
  • White noise (either a fan or sound machine)
  • No electronics. No checking your phone or for me, playing Frozen Free Fall while he’s laying next to me trying to sleep. #booo
  • Calming scents like lavender during bath time or as an air freshener in the room
  • Waiting it out. Sometimes kids with special needs need extra time to settle down or you may have to start your routine over a few times as they get used to something new.
  • Wine. For the mom after the kid is asleep. Because, you deserve it, girl! 

 

Be sure to check out a new resource from the National Sleep Foundation at sleepfoundation.org/insomnia – a good place to start if you think you have insomnia or aren’t sleeping. The National Sleep Foundation is your trusted resource for everything sleep – understanding how sleep works & why it’s important, learning healthy habits, creating a relaxing bedroom & bedtime routine, & finding solutions to your sleep issues.

 

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disclosure: this is part of a sponsored campaign with typeaparent.com and the National Sleep Foundation. All tips and views are mine. 

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