my son has autism and wakes up every day betwwen 4-5am. I'm tired-any suggestions?

Suzana - posted on 06/17/2010 ( 34 moms have responded )

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he falls asleep ok,but wakes up so early in the morning,its so tiring,has anyone had the same problem,if so please tell me what worked for you,any suggestions i would appreciate

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Jen - posted on 03/27/2011

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I am so there, Suzana! My daughter (9 years old with ASD) went for months getting up at 3 and 4 AM last year, and just deciding that the day had begun. I never found a solution, but eventually she grew out of it. Best of luck.

Carol - posted on 02/05/2012

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I have to laugh because my son was singled out at the hospital before we brought him home - "Most babies sleep, but not yours. He never sleeps." I think the nurse cursed us. He didn't sleep through the night until 10 months old and even then he'd go to sleep at about 11 and be up at 5 or 6. He'd take two 15 minute naps during the day until he could walk and then he'd only take longer naps if I took him on pass out runs in the car. By the time he was nearly 3 he could recognize numbers so I taped the time 6:00 above an alarm clock and taught him that he had to play by himself until the clock was at least 6 or higher. He always had plenty of books and toys to occupy himself.



Now at 11 years old, he quietly comes into the office to use the computer. He's still up 4:30-5, but we're not. I also found that it didn't matter what time he went to bed. He is always up that early. He's just a bear if he goes to bed too late and it takes days to get back to normal. So he has the same bedtime as his little brother - he hates that, because all his friends stay up later, especially on the weekends and we won't let him.



Also, ask for a break. I don't know how old your kid is. If he's too young to teach to be quiet, then hopefully your husband or a relative could give you a break at least a night or two a week. Our energizer bunny was our first and I was naive enough to think that my husband would notice that I was a zombie. He only did when I burst out sobbing about how tired I was - our son was already 9 months old. My husband claimed to have never heard me getting up and didn't realize I was so tired. If I'd only asked... After I banged my head against a wall at how thick he could be, I asked a lot with our second son.



Good luck

Melissa - posted on 06/17/2010

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Make sure his room is dark! My son get up early in the summer and now that he's talking he says, "The sun is out. It's daytime." By putting a tablecloth up behind his curtains, I am able to get about 90 more minutes before he's up.

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Suzana - posted on 09/19/2012

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Thankyou everyone for all the great advice, its nice to know I'm not the only one,I hasn't been on here for a while, since that post,I have got a goodnite light for him, the sun/Mon light which had been really helpful, he still gets up early but he knows he had to stay in bed until the sun face comes on, and I poor him to bed earlier now so I can rest a little as I also discovered it didn't matter what time I put him down, he still woke the same time each day, we usually get up at about 6 am each day now, which is much more bearable, thanks again everyone :-)

Suzana - posted on 09/19/2012

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Are you sure ours sons aren't twins, because this sounds just like him lol, thanks for the advice.

Ja'kalyn's - posted on 09/19/2012

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Omg this is so helpful I go through the exact same thing..nice to know I'm not alone..God Bless U all8-)

Charity - posted on 07/03/2012

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My son does the same! He goes to sleep at around midnight (although he is laying in his bed since about 9pm) and then he gets up about 5 or 6. He saw his neurologist and they said some kids with autism don't need 8 hours sleep like we do. He has tried multiple sleep inducers and NONE of them have actually made him sleepy. Everything from something natural like Melatonin, all the way to RX strength. Neurologist told us to just get used to it, let him have a book in his bed and he can read when he wakes up so he doesn't wake anyone else. He loves to read so this isn't an issue and we have started doing this.

Leslie-Robin - posted on 07/03/2012

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oh my gosh!! I can relate!! when my son sees the sun coming through even shades(looks lighter out he says daytime mommy time to get up!! I BET that is what it is for him!! Room darkening shades and curtains it is!!! thank you!

Leslie-Robin - posted on 07/03/2012

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oh my gosh yes! but my son is 18 and for the last few weeks he has been getting up at 4am and 5 am at the latest but goes to bed at a normal hour, Im not getting any younger and its messing me up lol I can relate! I JUST started googling it to see if I was the only parent going through this...

Lisa - posted on 02/05/2012

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I really feel this post there is nothing you can do to harbor the energy I have been dealing with this for years. It has caused me to become very sick even now at 9 years of age it does not stop and I have yet to stop it . I only know that during the summer months it gets better because of the amount of exercise he becomes exhausted. Wish I could have been better at answring this.

Helen - posted on 03/28/2011

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I have the same problem with my 8yr old, unfortunately he wakes up seeking sensory stimulation. It's hard and tiring especially as my husband doesn't wake. It can take me up to an hour to get him settled back down again & often he won't go back to sleep. Melatonin isn't available over the counter in the UK so if you are here you would need to see your paediatrician about it. Some are more reluctant to give it out than others. Hugs

Kathryn - posted on 10/13/2010

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I dont know if you have checked to see if it actually is milk I read it can be like a drug to autistic kids and my son used to not sleep at all a few hours here and there and I took him off of milk and put him on soy milk now hes 9 and sleeps good still up at 6 or 7 but so much better and even more calm during the day good luck.

Evelin - posted on 10/13/2010

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Hello all. Not to knock anyone's ideas, because I know with my own child, lack of sleep can lead us to want to do extreme things. I've contemplated horrible things in my own sleep deprived state! haha...but medicating him with anything, even antihistamines is a dangerous thing to do without the proper medical supervision. Even the slightest sedative can be habit forming especially for a child, and this can lead to horrible side effects. Not to mention that sedatives can cause long term effects that can actually do the opposite and cause nervousness, insomnia, and irritability, not something you want to do to an autistic child. My suggestions are the same as many on this post. Darkening shades, routine, warm milk, a story, anything that comforts the child, and of course lots of patience. :) Good luck!

Rhiannon - posted on 10/12/2010

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melatonin for sure! you can order it online at vitamin places in a liquid form or you can buy a product called "goodnight" at walmart or walgreens. Its a chewable sleep aid and its only natural products like melatonin, chamomile ect. My dan doct told me to give him 1/2 dose at bedtime then another half when he wakes up. Hope it helps!

Bettie - posted on 09/01/2010

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melatonin helps my son to fall asleep and calm him down. but he is a high functioning autistic, also he wakes up everyday at 8 or 9am. The biggest help for my son is having picture schedules around showing what we do first, second, ect. and keeping the same routine everyday.

Jenn - posted on 09/01/2010

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Definitely...this is a common phenomenon with autism. My son has recently started waking in the middle of the night (1230AM - 2AM) and it's SO exhausting. Have you tried Melatonin before bedtime? Sometimes it helps my son to sleep soundly, but he does wake at 6 or so.

Emily - posted on 07/06/2010

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meletonin is a healthy way for sleep you could get it at health food store it is natural is he somone that likess to watch movies maybe for an hour he could lay down so you get alittle more sleep

Jennifer - posted on 07/06/2010

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Lay down with him. He may be scared. If he is in a crib let him lay with you than after he falls back asleep put him back. Make sure you don't fall asleep with him though.

Amina - posted on 07/06/2010

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hey friends! my son is 10 years old & he has a same problem he cant sleep whole night even 36 hours & after 20 mints sleep! he was again fresh like a horse :) last 5 years i will give his med the name"RESPRIDOL 2 mg" half tab before bed time so he was just calm but not sleepy,so plz give me any idea..he cant sleep in dark room or he was alergic to milk:( he was also autistic moderate!

Emily - posted on 07/05/2010

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My ddaughter has been doing the same thing. she will go to sleep fine, but will be up around 5 or 5:30. It's making summer very hard bacuase we are doing so much more and she gets tired and thats when her behaviors starts. Haven't tried the melatonin but will give that a try. Thanks for the advice.

Melanie - posted on 06/26/2010

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chamomile tea. it helps get him back to sleep after middle of the night wakings or night terrors, however, it also means that he wakes up wet. So he has plastic sheets under his regular sheets.

[deleted account]

If someone has an answer please let me know also. My son who is 7 goes to bed ok but no matter what time he goes to sleep he is up by 5:30. Some days 4:00. His room is dark, melatonin gives him nightmares. I have tried the stay in bed thing, that works for about 10 minutes. If the sun is up he is up. At 5:30 the sun is not up.

Brenda - posted on 06/21/2010

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My son used to do the same thing when he was younger, except it could take him hrs to fall asleep and then he would still wake up early. I used melatonin for awhile, but it only helps to get them asleep. I worked out with him that if he woke up he could bring a toy to bed and play if it was not time to wake up. This kept him in his room until I came and got him up.
Now I give him Kangen water and it has helped him sleep thru the night better. He had stop taking naps. It also has a calming affect on him, so we have less meltdowns and more communication and cooperation.
If you are interested in checking out the Kangen water, go to:
www.bweiss002.yourbodyiswater.com
Good Luck :)

Tara - posted on 06/20/2010

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My son has never really had a problem with sleeping but his room is kind of like a cave. It is really cozy I like going in there. I have the hunting material (that men use to camo their hiding place in the woods) it is drapping from the ceiling his whole ceiling is covered and heavy curtains on the windows. He has always liked it. He is 18 now and moving to a bigger room he is wanting some changes.

Pauline - posted on 06/20/2010

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my niece has autism and they put a heavey banket on her at nite its more a secutiy comfort 4 her the health visitor adviced them to do this . il get my sister inlaw to drop u a line, her name is lissara fox and she is on facebook :)

Sara - posted on 06/19/2010

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As the sun rises earlier, so does my son as well! 1. Our recent purchase of blackout curtains has helped some, but he occasionally has an early morning. 2. We try to be sure he's not sleeping during the daytime longer than 10 minutes or he will not sleep well at night. 3. We use a certain relaxing music album at bedtime, to signal sleep time, and if he wakes really early, I will put this on, keep all the lights off, and try to get him back to sleep. 4. Our developmental pediatrician has also okayed using less than 1 mg of melatonin for occasional middle of the night wakings. This usually helps him get back to sleep within 20 minutes (unless it's too close to 5 am). There are morning he'll wake at 5:30, and I usually just resign myself to waking up! Hope you get some sleep tonight! --from another sleepy mom

Melanie - posted on 06/18/2010

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There is a special light specially designed for autistic children. It has a moon and sun. It has a timer to indicate bed/awake. It is supposed to really help. Supposedly it helps youngsters to learn to stay i bed while the moon shines and that they ay get up when the sun shines. Saw it months ago on an autism related page. Maybe you can try it. If I recall, it was reasonable
ly priced too.

Melanie - posted on 06/18/2010

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Room darkening shades, for starters. I also give both my children Melatonin, 1 mg. I put them to at the same time each nite. When my 6 y/o, James wakes too early, I tell him to go back to bed & lay there & wait for his brother to wake. He usually goes back to sleep on his own. Or allow him a quiet activity, reading favorite books, but he must stay in his bed.
My son is high functioning, so these have worked for us. Good luck.

Suzana - posted on 06/18/2010

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thanks so much everyone,im only new too this site,but i wish i has found it earlier,how nice it is too know that someone else gets it,and knows what its like.thanks again.

Julie - posted on 06/18/2010

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Bless you, I really do know how you feel. When my son was under a year old the only time he would sleep was in the car when it was in motion..... trying to sleep while driving is not good!! lol
good luck, I hope you get some rest soon x

Suzana - posted on 06/17/2010

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thanks so much,i wil try and see what happens,fingers crossed,i have tried the medication,but doesnt seem to work for him,im so tired i cant even spell properly anymore LOL,thanks again so much

Julie - posted on 06/17/2010

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Night-time milk! I don't know how it works but my son never slept. It has heightened ingredients of the sleep hormone. Also try an antihistamine medicine, as they can contain a low sedative (as the chemist). This worked with my none-sleeper. Once the cycle is broken going back to normal milk and no medicine is simple. try it for a couple of weeks, and please send me a message to let me know how you get on x
Good luck ♥

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