Posted in Behavior, Developmental Disorders, Sleep, Toddlers

Waking up angry...

Looking for some helpful tips on how I can help my son sleep better. He is two years old and has always woke up every 45-60 minutes during the night. Most of the time he wakes up screaming, punching, crying, and kicking. I have tried black out curtains, sound machines, night lights, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, music, changing the temperature, heavy blankets, no blankets, no nap during the day, keeping him up later...... His doctor said this is normal with ASD, but I feel like I’ll go crazy if something doesn’t change! Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

  • Andrea
    Mar 25, 2019

    I would ask for a sleep study to rule out any comorbid conditions that could be affecting sleep (swollen tonsils, apnea, etc.). My son also has ASD and will go through spells of night waking, but not to this extent, and at 3 regularly sleeps a solid 10-12 hours per night (no nap). It can take a few months to get into a sleep specialist/lab, so a good OT with training in rythmic movement therapy and maybe even craniosacral therapy may be able to help too.

  • Alena
    Mar 28, 2019

    Agree with Andrea, I would rule out seizures first. My ASD kid sleeps 9-10 hours without a single peep, he is 7 now, he slept fairly well when he was 9yo too. Also try melatonin and letting him sleep with you

  • Tiffany
    Apr 15, 2019

    I know the feeling. This is 10 years of the same with my daughter and we’ve tried everything . Finally getting a sleep study done. GET ONE DONE. Rule out everything. Anxiety is big with kids on the spectrum as well. My child when she was younger had a lot of anxiety. Sounds too. I have a very quiet room.

  • Aria
    Aug 26, 2019

    Mine who is also autistic have some sleep problems too. Mine wakes up anywhere from 11, midnight, 1, 2, 3 then wakes ip again at 4,5,6. There’s no pattern to his waking up so wake to sleep was not a choice. I tried many things too and I’m in the second month trying more stuff and as I progress, its slowly getting better. So my findings were, try to tire them out but not too tired, dinner at 5pm (large dinner but limit water), melatonin (ask ur dr), night time routine of warm bath and two books after (30 min), then cuddle time (5min), then dark room but with a very small light (not enough to light up the room but enough for me to see his silhouette to see if he is sitting up on toddler bed; light is either red or orange as it helps with sleep signals apparently), he sleeps in toddler bed next to my bed so not enough for him to wake if I move, he sleeps with me as he seems to get scared of being alone in a room plus I am a quiet sleeper so I dont wake him, oh btw bedtime is now at 7pm but he is normally trying to sleep at 7:30-8pm definitely asleep at 8:30pm. I also have him in a diaper (he is two) and add a sposie with diaper so he wont leak, leaking can also be a reason why they wake up, room is always 73-74 degrees since apparently toddlers are not comfortable 75 degrees or more from what I read, light muslin blanket which happens to my son’s comfy item. After two months of trial and error, now he wakes up at 4am so from 8:30-4am at least gives him 7.5 hours of sleep, way better than 1-3 hours from before. Naps for 1.5 hours at 1pm in the afternoon and we wake him up at 2:30pm which is a must.