My son is 6 with Autism though very mild, he wont under any circumstances sleep in his own bed. Any ideas?

User - posted on 11/20/2008 ( 9 moms have responded )




Everything you say to him he has an opposite answer which can get get quite annoying at times. My main concern is him not sleeping in his own bed, though at his Grandmothers he won't sleep anywhere but his own bed. any suggestions?


Nicole - posted on 10/04/2012




I created a list to help the family I nanny for with some sleep ideas I found online to try and see if any worked for CJ.....Also, you may not see immediate results with some ideas so be patient and give it time to develop.

1.TD's (typical developers) know when the sun goes down, brush teeth, jammies on and such that it is preparation for bedtime....these are social cues. Dimming the lights during the start of your night routine ( I would say at least an hour before bedtime routine starts) helps the body release melatonin naturally and bright lights and maybe a mint spray in the morning to jolt the system into dropping melatonin levels. Talk to your Dr. about taking melatonin before bed...we find however that it doesnt help CJ stay asleep just to fall asleep...we are in the process of looking into time release capsules.

3.There is a really great site called that you can join with other families & caregivers and ask or follow other peoples Q&A.

4.Lavendar....he gets a lavendar bubble bath every night..... I spray lavendar vanilla Febreze into his room around 5pm and close the door.....he has lavendar oil we massage into the bottoms of his feet before bed and you can even put a few small drops onto their pillow or a favorite stuffed animal they sleep with

5.CJ has a puppy pillow pet that shines stars on his ceiling- it is set to a timer so they wont go off until 6am... When his stars are gone it is an ok time to get out of bed...if the stars are still on it is still time to sleep

6. CJ has a social story about "What can I do if I wake up during the night":

thirsty= drink from night cup (Thomas water bottle with water). only used as his night cup

cant go to sleep= deep breathes, close eyes, sqyeeze Teddy

Puppy stars on the ceiling= stay in bed "Good nite sleep tight until the sun shines bright" said every night before bed

no screaming or yelling= Daddy, Poppa and brother are sleeping

when I sleep all night= happy heart, strong muscles, a smarter brain

when i dont sleep at night= sad heart, sad brain, sad muscles, I am sad too

I feel so happy when I sleep all night.

You can make a social story about "Why we sleep in our own bedroom".

7. heavy shades on the windows to keep out light and noises

8. classical music playing during the night

9. a gel cooling pad to keep the body cool during sleep

10. CJ likes to sleep on his floor in a sleeping bag....sleeps much better.......i also made a sleeping bag out of a cheap sheet (much cooler for him)

11. there may be something in your sons room or bed that is a sensory issue for him. Darkness?? Sheets?? Pillow? Has he ever answered why he doesnt like to sleep in his room? Are you sure that this didnt start as a protestaion of bed time and now that he knows he gets your attention by protesting has become part of a routine?

hope it helps!


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Rachel - posted on 03/26/2013




Ask him if something in the room upsets him. Let him pick the colours for the room. My autistic son wound`t go in his room for 2 years when I first redecorated for him. Blue is a calming colour + plenty of lighting.
You`re son can`t help his condition - you can, so don`t get anoid with him!!!!!

What`s worked for my son is:
1/ moving to lactose free milk - goats,camel etc - not soya
2/ Omega 3 extract with vit D - recommendedfrom consultant
3/ Lycopene - deficient in austistic children
4/ Antioxident to remove toxins - i use green tea extract - it works for us .

My son is much happier now.

Jennifer - posted on 11/22/2008




My son has autism and had the same problem for a while. he used the excuse that he was having bad dreams. I knew he wasn't being completely honest but instead of calling him on it I took a pillow of mine that had a plaid case on it and told him that the bad dreams couldn't get into his head because they got stuck in the pattern. It worked. Between that and a set nighttime routine he has consistently slept in his bed for about 2 years now. He only sleeps with me if he is sick or if his dad is gone for an extended time and he is having a sad night. Make sure the bed is comfortable for him. Find out what the difference between his room at home and the room at grandma's house and try to make it as close to the same as possible. Good luck!

Shannon - posted on 11/22/2008




I have a brother and a nephew with autism, and they too have difficulties with sleep. My brother is now 21 years old, and he still doesn't sleep very often. He stays up until 3 am sometimes, and he would just sleep when he couldn't take it anymore. Unfortunately, I think he just needed to set his own schedule. My nephew sleeps in a recliner that my sister-in-law has finally moved from the living room into his room, and he seems to stay in there longer because he is more comfortable. Have you tried the "social stories" that are sometimes used with autistic children? For example, a routine of showing him pictures of what should happen first, next, then last. Like a picture of brushing your teeth, then getting your pajamas on, and then climbing into bed, and then closing your eyes and going to sleep. Show him all of the pictures at the same time and present it like a picture story, and go through the same routine every night. Could that work? I hope you and your son can figure out what works best for him.

[deleted account]

Hmmm, I don't know but maybe try changing the room around and a different decor?Lots of comfy pillows would help make it less lonely, maybe a routine like reading a book or singing a lullabye. GL

Josie - posted on 11/20/2008




There needs to be a routine developed that will let him know that it is bedtime. Example:bath, read a story and maybe lay down with him till he falls asleep. After a week or so he will then get into that schedule and it will become easier and easier for bedtime. Consistency is the key....

Tina - posted on 11/20/2008




My son is just outside of the autism spectrum with high sensory needs. For him to sleep in his own bed it had to be "cozy" like mommies bed. So I started using a heating pad, like the rice ones that you heat in the microwave, and putting it in bed with him. He still had the warmth and coziness and felt more secure. He still will come into bed with us on occasion (bad dreams and so on) but making his bed more comfortable seemed to help a lot.

JENRAE1220 - posted on 11/20/2008




i dont know anything about autism but here is what i did with my brother and sister as they are much younger than i and when i was home they always wanted to sleep with me
i made a bed on the floor and told them they could come in my room but they had to sleep on the floor 2 nights of that and they never slept in my room again
they didnt like the floor

User - posted on 11/20/2008




Try putting him to bed, reading a book to him, and then telling him that you will check on him every 5 minutes until he falls asleep. Maybe he's afraid of something, this will just make him feel comforted. I did this with my son, it took about a month, but it paid off!

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