My son is autistic and will not sleep during the day but when he goes to bed at night, will sleep for about 4 hrs and he is up talking, singing, and making yelling noises. Is there anything I can do to help him sleep better?

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Katie - posted on 03/05/2009

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My son used to wake up because of he wouldn't eat very much, so he would wake up due to hunger and then have TONS of energy and run around at 3 in the morning. He was helped a lot with a macrobiotic diet. He falls asleep easily and doesn't wake up all night, because he now has an incredibly appropriate appetite for a little boy! It is a difficult diet, but try it, it worked wonders for us!

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Renata - posted on 08/28/2010

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my daughter is taking melatonin to help with sleep and restlessness...it helps...try it :) my daughter is 21 years old now, so I have been through the mill...hope this helps !!

Karen - posted on 08/22/2010

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My nephew did the same thing--sleep for 45 min, up screaming and crying for 20 min, every night. My sister tried a new natural nutritional product that worked wonders for him. (Gluten free, casein free) So no worries there. You can email me and I'll give you lots of links if you want to research it more karen.mccabe@hotmail.com

Arianna - posted on 08/15/2010

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Hello Jenny! i also recommend melatonin...My nephew Alex was on it he too would sleep 4 hours and be up watching TV talking playing and bouncin off the walls...lol...he is now off the melatonin hes sleeping 8 hours with out it...but he does have his nights when hes up after 4-6 hours....

Angel - posted on 08/05/2010

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when hes up talking and singing you could try cuddling with him sing a song together or watch a lil bit of tv to get him to relax and get sleepy again.

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my family uses melatonin for our 2 year old and that is the only medication she is on for her autism.I do highly recommend it as it has added a few more hours into our sleep schedule and no harmful effects it can cause a heavy head feeling and that is the only side effect i know of.

Stacey - posted on 02/21/2010

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We have had our son on the gfcf diet for over 6 months, I have heard that this can help with sleep patterns (we didnt have problems with our son sleeping through so I cant say in our situation)

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Melatonin didn't work great for us. We used a product called Neurexin by Heel Homeopathics. It helped and it was homeopathic which I liked.

Nicole - posted on 02/02/2010

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wow i'm so glad that igot on here tonight as u can tell its almost 3:30am and we are still up! this is a nightly routine...i'm a single mom and the only person who helps me is my mom and she wks full time. as she gets off she gets caleb so i can then go to work. ilove my son, who will be 3 in april very much and am so glad i found this and took the time to read it! i'm gonna try this melatonin that everyone keeps talking about and i'm hoping for the best. thank u all so much for ur postings for those who need some advice from those who have been there.

Heidi - posted on 02/01/2010

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My son had horrible sleeping patterns for almost 3 years. I felt like I lived in a frat house and would fall asleep at random times and places in the house because I was sooo exhausted. We use a combination approach.
1st: Set a bedtime routine. They tend to do better when things are structured, calm, and the same every night. We do bath, brush teeth, pj's, and a story.
2nd: We do use Melatonin. One of the biggest problems with Melatonin is that they build up a tolerance to it. If you notice that it is not working as well instead of increasing the dose, pick a weekend and stop giving it to them for about 3 days. This allows the melatonin to trough (that is, basically drop out of their system). It will be a rough couple of nights but you may find that after that it takes less melatonin than before, to work. My son is 6 1/2 and has been on melatonin for about 2 1/2 or so years and we have been able to keep him at about a 1.25mg dose by periodically doing the no melatonin weekend.
3. Depending on your child's age, use an alarm clock in their room. We have taught my son that if he woke up early to come and wake us up (that way we knew he was up and moving), but that he had to stay in his room til a certain time. This allows us to stay in our bed but still be able to hear him and know what was going on. We set the alarm to go off at 5:30 or 6am and the rule is you stay in your room and play or watch TV quietly until the alarm went off, unless you need us (needing a change, hurt, hungry etc). We make sure that everything is locked down and that things he may want to get into are not in reach. Fridge and freezers have locks, pantry locked, all lamps unplugged (this way he cant walk around turning lights on and getting himself hyped up), remotes for TV's are put away, phones are up high (we have had a lot of late night calling happen around here) etc. Many times when he gets up super early he will eventually go back to sleep because we make the house boring for him and we dont interact with him and give him any attention (negative or positive) so he eventually just wraps up in his blanket and calms himslef down enough to go to sleep again.

Nikii - posted on 01/27/2010

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Melatonin did not work for us. Neither did the lorazapan. As it turned out it my son's up at night for hours at a time was not just the autism, it was the typical "I don't want to be alone and don't know how to put myself asleep". So we had to retrain him to put himself to sleep at night and he is just now, a few weeks later< doing it in the middle of the night. But the autism still makes it difficult. My four year old can sing and talk to himself for hours at a time and actually wake himself up even more. That is the autism filing his brain with to much stimuli. Last night we were up from 2 am to 5 am and I get up at 5:30 am to get ready for work :). But 1 bad night in 5 is way better then 1 good night in a month. I used the technique that "The Sleep Lady" uses. It worked when he was a baby, then autism hit him and everything changed. But now I guess the timing was right because it seems to be working again.
Nikii

Samantha - posted on 01/22/2010

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i have a 10yr son with serve autism. when he was little he used to have problems with goin to sleep. i used to sit by his cot with my hand between the bars so he could hold my hand, because i didnt want he to get used to me cradling him to sleep, cos i wont be able to do that forever. this work for me at the time, till he out grow his cot lol i have always been a late sleeper, so him being up at 10/11 at nite was not so much of a problem for me. when he got to school age is did start getting a problem. he started to get really grumpy where he was not getting enough sleep. i spoken to his doctor after spending another nite laid on the floor making sure he stayed in bed. he was put on melatonin. this yr i decided that he should try to get to sleep without the meds and it has been the wrong move. he was up till gone 3am, then was up at 5, he started to get angry at everyone and his teacher was saying his behavior had got worse in class. last nite was the first nite he was back on it. he was asleep by 8pm, he got up at 6, and was back to being a happy little boy.
my advice to you, try a non-medical route first. warm relaxing baths, calm music played in his room that sort of thing. limit the amount of time he sleeps during the day, before ya try medications for sleeping.

Frances - posted on 01/13/2010

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Hi there. My son did the same. Beautiful nightingale voice, but oh my, not while we are trying to sleep! Try "Taurine". It's a natural product that I give a pinch of 3 times a day. It helps him concentrate and relaxes him to just stay calm. I don't give him ANY dairy or MSG-containing food. I have my sleep back!

Kim - posted on 10/02/2009

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I think each child is unique.. same with Autism different things work for different children. My son is 6 now started having sleep issues at about 1yrs old. He wakes up singing most nights sometimes its night terrors. Our doctor has him on a cocktail of medications but to start she did recommend melatonin which comes in a pill liquid or flavored disolve pill. Good luck.. I hope you get some sleep

Marlene - posted on 09/01/2009

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My son did this alot . I was getting no sleep at all . He would sleep from like 9 pm til 12 am and get up and be ready for the day . I would even let him stay up late hoping this would help . It didnt . It was like a routine to him . The doctor upped his meds . He now takes 2 mgs of Risperdal at night with congentne to take away the side effects of the muscle stiffness and eyes rolling . It has helped greatly .

Tia - posted on 08/15/2009

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Definitely try the Gluten Free diet!!! It helps in many other ways as well!!!!!

Michelle - posted on 08/04/2009

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We have the same problem. Talk to your doctor. Our doctor recommended we try Melatonin..it worked for a while. But he is now taking the Melatonin along with a liquid sleep-aid prescribed by the doctor...this seems to be working very well. I hope this helps.

Denise Lynn - posted on 06/27/2009

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Hi, I am a mom of a 13 year old son with Autism, my son did this for a few years (I know right!), but finally grew out of it. His doctor did suggest we try Melatonin.

User - posted on 05/13/2009

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Have you tried adjusting his diet? My son (9) has been on the Gluten-free, dairy-free diet for years and it changed us from a family with a bay gate on his door at night so he didn't wander the house at odd hours, to a family that sleeps through the night...all of us. Let me know if you want to know more about the dietary enzymes that helped us ease the dietary restrictions, too!

Ilene - posted on 05/13/2009

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We have just finished going through this exact description......

First, let me ask, how old is your son? Has he always been a difficult sleeper?

My personal philosophy is minimal to no medications. I grew up in a medical family and that has always been our feelings on the subject. Even things like Advil/Tylenol -- only when necessary. Now, if medication is truly warranted, that's different, but try to exhaust all other options first (again, my personal feeling).

My son is 28 months old and was initially put on the spectrum about 2 months ago. From the time he turned 1 there were sleep issues; and when we moved him and his twin sister to beds rather than cribs, the problem was magnified because he could easily get up and walk around the room. Consequently, I was holding him until he fell asleep in the glider chair in his room and then carefully transferring him to the bed. When he woke during the night, he would feel like something was missing and cry until I came in to do it again.....this would be on average 1-2 times/night and he was getting MAYBE 6-7 hours of sleep/night (and I was getting 5 on a good night).

Starting early last week, we Ferbered both of the twins (are both on the spectrum). It has been UNBELIEVABLY successful for us. We started with going in 5 minutes after leaving the room, than 10 then 15 until they fell asleep that first night. Since then we've been doing 10, 15, and 20. Rachel is usually asleep within 1/2 hour -- Simon is still taking a long time to fall asleep (usually between 1 and 1.5 hrs), but he is doing just that, alone and in his own bed, and sleeping through the night. And, the 2 occasions so far (in the last week) that he's woken up during the night, I was able to walk in there, direct him back to bed and leave him for the night. Asleep in his own bed within 15 minutes.

When we started Ferbering, the county schools (who we are working with for early intervention) warned me that it's NOT UNCOMMON for kids on the spectrum to wake up and talk during the night. For us, it was important for us to have him put HIMSELF back to sleep. And I tell you, it's worked miracles -- he's much happier and we (me and his dad) have a lot more patience.

Good luck!!!!!

Doris - posted on 05/13/2009

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hi i think its best to limit his sleep in the afternoon so he could leep more soundly at nyt...i used to have the same problem but for us gfcf diet do wonders goodluck!!!!

Lori - posted on 04/13/2009

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sleep. i dont think i will ever get sleep. tristan does that too, first they thought legs craps then we found out seizures good luck...pass out whenever u can

Beverly - posted on 03/26/2009

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I found that useing melatonin also worked at times. I found that my daughter was having siezors and that was why she was not sleeping she was seizing at night. I also found that if I would put her waited blanket on her it would help her. I hope some of this helps

Summer - posted on 03/12/2009

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Melatonin is what has worked the best for me. My son has many other disabilities but is destinctly autistic. He is often awake during the night singing, crying or laughing. I feel so bad but know he needs his sleep. The melatonin works pretty good for him.

Leona - posted on 03/10/2009

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Sweety, my son is 16 now, still rises at about 4 am each and everymorning singing his heart out.  I simply adjusted to his schedule as best I could but he was always so thoughtful that he learned early on to sing quietly til the sun came up!  Wish I could offer more but you are the 1st person I have ever found that also wakes to singing so I am thrilled to hear it! He is on his schedule and as he gets older he too will prob grab more sleep thru the night.  My son now goes to bed around 9 to 10 most nights.  :)  Best wishes!

Michele - posted on 03/05/2009

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I have a ten year old with autism and it was difficult but when she woke up I would wrap her in her blanket and give her deep pressure until she relaxed and she would fall back to sleep it would take alot of effort and sleeplessness on my part, but it did evently work now she has a pretty good sleep routine, there is also something called melatonine with is all natural that assist with calming and helping children and adults relax so that they can sleep(maybe as a last resort)

Misty - posted on 03/05/2009

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We had the same problem....I just had to keep taking him back to bed and after a lot of sleepless nights it worked...The dr also put him on Remeron, its non-narcotic, it worked for him in 2 ways...helped him sleep and helped spike his appetite...He is doing so well now with it...Just try to show him thats where he sleeps and how awesome it is....make over how cool his bed is...I hope i helped some

Agatha - posted on 03/04/2009

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You should speak with your pediatrician or nuerologist if you have one.  But you can try melatonin, it is an over the counter natural supplement so it not harmful.  Our nuerologist recomended it.  It doesn't always work but it is worth a try.  My son does the same thing right about 4 hours into his sleep.  We have started him on melatonin and so far it seems to have helped a little.

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