Posted by: autismland | January 7, 2007

Get Lotsa Rest (#566)

11.30pm, midnight, 1.30am, 2…….. “sweet dreams” have not been coming easily to Charlie for several weeks: He has often had difficulties going to sleep on and off, but this most recent bout of seasonal not-sleeping has been particularly persistent; a week-plus in California to visit my family, while thoroughly reinvigorating for all of us, only further upset Charlie’s biological clock.
Zoombike
Charlie often seems to be most active and alert—-full of pep—-in the evening after dinner, and even more so when he does not get any exercise (he does get a half-hour of P.E. everyday at school in the late morning, and I do think that this helps with his concentration and his doing well in school—mens sana in corpore sano, indeed. Hence yesterday’s long walk in lower Manhattan and today’s hour-long bike ride up the hills in our town (Jim has begun to teach Charlie to shift gears—that is to say, Jim has started to shift the gears of Charlie’s bike when Charlie stops at a certain spot on a certain hill; Charlie did bike up the rest of the hill with renewed vigor afterwards).

I have been reaccessing Charlie’s diet and been thinking that it might be better to have him eat oranges and chocolate and even white rice (though he has, finally, been eating less of this) earlier in the day: One can never know, but eating even one clementine seems to lead to Charlie getting jumpy and giggling and, well, hyper. I am not sure how many hours of sleep best suit Charlie, but, as might be expected after falling asleep so late, he has long had a hard time getting out of bed in time to meet the schoolbus. Even if he is awake, he is groggy and usually shuffles out with his head down, and us having to coax and even pull him along is not a great way to start the school day.

Or, indeed, any day: Charlie took himself to bed at 10pm yesterday and rolled and warbled and kicked on his bed for three hours. At midnight, just when he seemed to be getting quieter, his voice got louder and he started giggling; by 1am, when I went in to yet again straighten his blankets, his eyes were wide open and strained. All day today he was one moment nervous and worried and humming, if not almost groaning (as at the beginning of his piano lesson when he would not get off our bed), then, in an instant, grinning and walking to the piano (I did mention we would go for a ride in the black car afterwards). He sight-read “Mary Had a Little Lamb”; he lay on the couch and kicked; he sat in his rocker chair watching the Giants play the Eagles with Jim; he moaned and twisted his torso.

And so tonight, at the suggestion of the pediatric neurologist, and after following other parents‘ experiences with their children, we gave Charlie a small dose of melatonin at 8.40pm.

Charlie showered, said “I want. I want” several times before I figured out he wanted my old datebook to flip through, got his well-worn big green squishy ball and a small basketball (with an R for the Scarlet Knights), and went to lie on his bed. I pulled “daddy bue blanket” around him.

“Goo’ night,” said Charlie, peering at me, right elbow tucked under his head. “Goo-night.”

9.30pm, completely quiet house except for the sound of computer keys tapping.

Will Charlie wake up groggy and droopy-headed from the melatonin? Will it work tomorrow, or in a week, or will it lose its effectiveness and we have to try something else…….

So many things I need to know as an Autismland parent.

But tonight I think I’ll settle for Charlie getting one actual good night’s sleep—it is just one night in Autismland, but a little rest on this journey can go a long, long way.

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Responses

  1. Hi Kristina
    My experience with melatonin has been extremely good with my son. One of the important effects was to regulate sleep after a few days and to decrease some hyper during day.
    I found this manuscript helpful
    J Autism Dev Disord. 2006 Aug;36(6):741-52.Giannotti F, Cortesi F, Cerquiglini A, Bernabei P.
    An open-label study of controlled-release melatonin in treatment of sleep disorders in children with autism

    and also others in the topic. Please let me know if you are interested about them.

  2. melatonin never helped us. Michael did better on risperdal, but now he is having the occasional bout with insomnia again. being physical does help. he used to be u from 1 till5 am a few years ago a few nights per week…………..

  3. The biggest difference with Sam is being physical. So with the crappy weather Saturday and Mommy feeling crappy yesterday, there wasn’t as much sleep this weekend as would have been good. (Once he got going this morning, he was happy to be heading to school, but getting him going was a struggle — I have 2 kids that actively fight waking up some days!)

  4. I’ll be interested to hear how melatonin works for Charlie, as well. We’ve been using it for about a year and a half with Bud, and it has continued to be effective. Occassionally he has sleepless nights (or, more accurately, extraordinarily early mornings), but more often he gets a solid night’s sleep. It almost always helps him to fall asleep within a half hour. And, whether he sleeps all night or just a few hours, I’ve never seen him wake up groggy. Keep us posted!

  5. We tried Melatonin as well. The smaller dose never worked for K.C. as his Dr. said we could give him up to 5 mg at night. It worked well but after about a week and a half he seemed to get ‘immuned’ to it and it didn’t work. So, we went off of it for about 4 days and back on it and it worked again!

  6. Thanks so much—-María, I would like very much to find out about more articles on melatonin. Charlie had to be woken up (at just before 8am) but was smiling (though resisted getting out of bed, as he usually does). I am really going to keep my fingers crossed that it might help with the sleep—-it was almost weird to be talking to Jim at 11pm and not hear Charlie chattering away.

  7. KCsMom, that is really helpful to know! We just tried Charlie on 1.5 mg.

  8. Kristina, Bud’s doctor said we could go up to 3 mg if Bud needed it, but 1.5 mg has done the trick for him.

  9. I will be curious to see how it works for Charlie. I’ve heard many success stories, but haven’t yet tried it with my guy.

  10. Good sleep is important for all children. It is even more important for Edith Rose. People with epilepsy can suffer from seizures due to lack of sleep. On the Thursday before Christmas Edith had a seizure that lasted 13 minutes, she pulled out it on her own, for a change. Usually her seizures last up to an hour before they are stopped in the hospital.

    The night before she got up at 1:00 and later at 3:00 and had trouble getting back to sleep afterwards. The night before that she woke up at 1:00 and took a while to get back to sleep. Of course both mornings she woke up early.

    She wasn’t running any fever prior or after the seizure. The doctors chalked the seizure up to lack of sleep and her dilantin levels were too high.

  11. Clay, thanks for this. It makes me wonder and reflect upon Charlie’s periods of intense sleep and (even more) intense non-sleep. It is simply difficult for him to wake up in the morning—he puts his head down, squeezes his right eye, and just “freezes” in his tracks. I often feel as if he is trying to “turn on” his brain or some such to “work” after being asleep.

  12. During childhood, almost every children experience nightmares. Children get nightmares due to the stress in normal lives. Once your child was awaken by nightmare, it is difficult for your child to go back to sleep. Nightmares are common in children two to six years old.

    A nightmare is a bad dream which can make your child feel anxious, upset or scared but does not cause any harm to your child. Nightmares take place during light stage of sleep. Our brain flows through different stages of sleep in which some stages are deeper than others. Dreaming takes place during lighter stages of sleep and children who have nightmares cannot get into deep stages of sleep.

    Good Night Sleep

    Lack of sleep can result in stress, lack of concentration, moodiness, memory loss, lower motivation and fatigue. It is important to get a good night sleep otherwise it may lead to different sleep disorders. More than eighty percent of people suffering from depression are suffering with sleep problems.

    At present, one of the most common problems is Sleep deprivation. In fact the Better Sleep Council surveyed a thousand adult respondents and discovered that more than 30% of them confessed to not getting enough sleep each night.

    Here are 101 ways to get good night sleep for those who experience difficulty in getting sleep.

    http://www.sleepdisordersguide.com/blog/good-night-sleep-101-ways/


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