Monday, June 10, 2013

Autism and the Sleep Deprived Parent

I will start off this post with the "I AM NO PROFESSIONAL" disclosure. I will not even begin to try and convince you that I know what I'm speaking of. I just want to share with you what I've found works for us. Virtual word of mouth is how I've found my most useful tips! So, take it. Leave it. But, no flaming me! Pinky swear?

As a baby, Brady was a phenomenal sleeper. He slept through the night beautifully. Even as a wee toddler, he slept like a rock, never fought us when putting him down and usually waved bye bye as we closed the door for the night. Blissful.

Then we had another baby and realized how miserable one is when they don't have sleep. Those newborn days are rough. But, what got us through that was the distant, faint light of returning to the days of restful sleep. And, as Wes began sleeping through the night and life seemed to return to normal (well, relatively speaking), Brady started having sleep troubles. 

Now, sure...every child has occasional sleep problems. But, I kid you not, we were all running on fumes. When your child is up at night, raring to go, you usually are awake, too. So each night was a frantic race to fall asleep, KNOWING we would be up from about 2-5 a.m. We often took turns staying awake with the nocturnal son, but with my hubby's work schedule, he was often gone overnight. And, with no way to take a nap during the day, I was literally like the walking dead.

We had tried everything. EVERYTHING. No naps. Melatonin. Medication. Amethyst under his pillows. Brain wave CD's on repeat each night. Salt lamps. Shoot, I was spraying lavender in the room and on his pillows and on his clothes. I had him wear crystals that were supposed to calm his energy. I tried anything ANYONE said may remotely help. For crying out loud, I had rocks in his pockets and under his pillows! ROCKS! But, nothing seemed to work. NOTHING. I felt like I was dying a slow death with the amount of sleep I was, or should I say WASN'T getting.

In all of the reading regarding ASD I do in a day, I saw on one of the forums I followed a post on sleep disturbances. I thought I had read it all but this reader shared some advice that I had not heard before. She suggested to pair Melatonin with GABA Calm. I already had GABA Calm in my cabinet, so the next day I figured I had nothing to lose and gave Brady one GABA Calm before going up for baths. At bath time, I gave Brady his 1 mg melatonin and guess what? Brady slept through the night. At this point, Brady was also on 1/2 teaspoon of N-Met in the morning. (You can read more about Brady's use of N-Met HERE. Combined, I believe that these supplements have resolved Brady's sleep troubles).

Scared it was a fluke, we tried it again and didn't even mouth the words, "He slept through the night" for fear of jinxing ourselves. It worked and he slept through the night. The night after that, we stuck with it. He slept like a baby. Shoot, I'm like the footballer player who doesn't wash his jock strap when on a winning streak. My husband and I were in disbelief. We looked at each other one night and gave each other the look that says, "PLEASE DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT F'ING CHANGE ANYTHING IF HE IS SLEEPING". That was months ago and I tell you what...he is still sleeping through the night. And, I am a much better person having had sleep. 

His neurologist pretty much gave me the, "Oh Um-kay. Sure, whatever you'd like to do" when I told her we weren't going to do the EEG because he was now sleeping through the night since we tried GABA Calm paired with Melatonin. I'm pretty much sure they stamped our file with "Cuckoo Mom". But, rather than endure an EEG, we will roll with what is working.

Sleep affects so much of my Brady's behavior. When he's tired, he's meltdown king. Everything has improved when he's had some sleep. EVERYTHING. Plus, it's amazing what I can tolerate when I have had sleep, too.

I should add that the GABA Calm and Melatonin we use are sublingual. Brady chews them like a chewable tablet because we cannot get him to dissolve them under his tongue. The fact that he chews them does not seem to affect the effectiveness of the supplements. Just throwing it out there. Both supplements are orange flavored and Brady, who is hypersensitive to tastes seems to enjoy them.

So, if you are having sleep troubles with your ASD child, this may be worth exploring. Like I said, we had explored a lot of alternative and traditional routes to address Brady's sleep issue. We are thankful for having someone share this advice and are paying it forward incase it helps someone else!

No comments:

Post a Comment

© Miss Momvocate. Powered by