Confessions of an Autism Dad
One dad's perspectives on dealing with a child who has Autism. All in print - for good or bad.

Bedtime Anxieties and sleep aides

As bedtime approached, my blood pressure would rise. We've come a long way from the days that Noah would take HOURS in bed before he actually fell asleep. He used to ask for specific toys, the light on and then off several different times, certain songs to be played, a specific blanket or pillow, etc. Basically, he had some OCD's when it came time to sleep. I'll discuss this on a later post, but Noah also requires that DADDY do everything for him (I'm not complaining, just stating this) so over the course of bedtime while everyone else is sleeping, I was the beck and call for a few hours - answering every request to make sure he didn't throw a tantrum and wake up the rest of the house. After finally falling asleep by 10 or 11pm he would be up bright and early at 5am.

Not anymore.

Over the summer we started Noah on 1mg of Melatonin about an hour before bed. I have a love/hate relationship with that stuff. It isn't that I don't agree with using medication on children but I think I've bought off on the stigma that surrounds parents who "medicate" their kids. My wife and I had to realize that we would have to get over that negative association because more than likely Noah is going to need some sort of medicine or supplement to help adjust him in some areas.

The melatonin  never just put him out like a sedative but it did help him wind down and stay in his bed when it was time to go to sleep. After a while thought, it would take 2mg and then 3mg. At this point we noticed he was waking up frequently in the middle of the night and was uncontrollably silly. He would repeat things over and over like, "No ABC's, no ABC's!" or some other nonsenical thing. This would go on for hours and everyone in the house would wake up. At this point we decided we did not want him to have Melatonin anymore.

After using for a few months and establishing a strong bed time routine, he's had little to no problem with going to bed. Occasionally, a 1mg dose is needed depending on how much stimulation he had throughout the day but never again will we be giving him nightly doses. Not to say that it is bad for all children, just not the right fit for ours.

I have decided to do a series of posts to share how we have our bedtime routine set up for our four kids and maybe some of the rest of you will find it helpful, regardless of your situation. It's Cars/Trucks time so I am off to build a small Hot Wheels car city and lay out the city carpet. Take care and have a great week!

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This is my son, Noah

This is my son, Noah
He has autism


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