After a very long battle both kids became increasingly dependent on co-sleeping with us. In the past we tried every trick in the book to encourage more appropriate sleep patterns but were unable to prolong permanent change.
We explored melatonin, magnesium, weighted blankets, various beds and bedding, meditation music, lavender products, salt lamps, diffusers, grow clocks, diet restrictions, sensory reliefs, increased exercise and a strict routine but struggled to maintain a regular amount of recommended independent sleep.
While all of the above may assist others to a certain degree nothing seemed to have a positive long term affect for us.
Unfortunately, it’s extremely common within Autism families to experience sleep issues and can be difficult to communicate or understand reasons why.
Our family's began a good seven years ago when Madi was little and was literally bouncing off the walls wide awake for hours on end all through the night, almost every night of the week.
We ended up with double beds in every room to accommodate our situation playing musical beds to enable a small amount of sleep to survive.
Over a long period of time It becomes exhausting and you basically do whatever it takes to get some sleep.
Sadly, it’s been rare for my husband and I to share the same bed or enjoy a whole night sleep. The kids also stay up late until they’re tired to ensure sleeping more through the night so there’s not a lot of alone time together.
Hence why our respite nights have been so important.
Sleep is such an integral part of so many aspects of life, we’ve been choosing our battles and focusing on other important goals.
It’s hard to remain patient and hopeful when a habit has dragged on for so long. We’ve tried and tried again. We decided during Iso and lockdown it was a good time try once more.
Both kids are that bit older, more responsive and growing in independence.
We’ve been sticking to a basic routine. A similar time each night to brush teeth and settle into their bedrooms. We kiss them goodnight and verbally reinforce sleeping in their own beds all night and will see them in the morning.
Initially they ended up sleeping together in Madi’s bed. We weren't overly concerned because that in itself was change and a big step not co-sleeping with either of us. We also assumed like with most times promoting change, there’s usually a period of adjustment.
They’ve since progressed to sleeping independently in Thomas’s bunk beds. Another positive step forward that actually occurred quite naturally.
They still stay up late and the situation may not be perfect but it’s major change.
I’m elated to say that our bed has been kid free for the last two months straight!
There’s only been one or two nights where we’ve had to reinforce the new rules. We need to remain consistent and confident to implement permanent change.
The funny thing is, we haven’t actually tried anything fancy or different this time, looks like they were just ready.
What doesn’t work for some may work for others, everyone’s situation is different.
It’s so surreal after such a long time but we’re praying this is it for good this time.