Maybe a Breakthrough?

Two nights in a row now Max has been asleep before I had time to get him ready for bed.

Two nights in a row he’s slept till about 7am in the morning (albeit with a wake-up at about 1am to sing/babble to himself in his bed, but at least he is happy to fall asleep again on his own).

That’s gotta be good, right?

Maybe tonight will be night number three?

You know, Max used to be a great sleeper, when he couldn’t climb out of his cot. That happened the day before I became a single mum again (my choice, but still, it’s hard sometimes!).

He would climb out of his cot the second I was out of the room.

I sat in the boys’ bedroom to see how he did it, but he just sat there, waiting for me to leave.

Within about three seconds of me closing over his bedroom door, he’d be opening it, looking at me, pleased as punch. “Look what I figured out Mum!” was the look on his face. That little glint in his eyes.

After a night of hearing him climb out of his cot, me going back in, putting him back in, going to bed, hearing him climb out of his cot just as I was getting comfy, getting up again to put him back… UGH.

Lets just say I took the bars off his cotbed the next day.

I didn’t want him falling over in the middle of the night and hurting himself.

I also figured that, at least if I put a stair-gate across his door, he could play in his room with the lights off and (hopefully) climb into his bed again when he was tired/bored.

Of course this led to many a night of him sleeping in a curled up lil ball, bum in the air, right behind the door.

That was fun!

It also meant there were nights when he would literally be up, running around his room constantly, till about 11pm at night.

I really felt for Zack, who has to share a room with Max. He couldn’t possibly be getting enough sleep, especially considering he was at school now.

I was reading as much as I could about sleeping and autistic children.

It’s definitely not an uncommon problem.

Many people rely on weighted blankets, or even giving their child melatonin every evening before bed, as many ASD children seem to have a deficiency of the sleep-cycle hormone.

I doubted Max would let me wrap him up in anything, as he will even find a way to wriggle out of his sleeping bag these days, and the thought of medicating him, even though I know it wouldn’t *harm* him, isn’t a road I want to go down unless I’ve exhausted every other avenue. Plus, trying to get any sort of medicine down him is NOT easy. I would hate to have to go through that trauma (for both of us, and Zack, as he has to hear/put up with the crying and the tension too) every single night.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about body-brushing for kids with sensory issues.

Max adores rough and tumble play, particularly things like going on the trampoline (though the weather is awful for it now… ick), me swinging him around, him being upside down, or running into me at full force. These all seem to give him a sensory ‘fix’ that helps to calm him down. Very different to our neuro-typical children – the last thing I want to do with Zack is anything to make him more excitable before bed.

I figured, I don’t have a brush, but I’m pretty sure I could do my own ‘version’ of this.

So the last two nights we’ve been doing lots of the rough-play about 20 minutes after he’s finished his tea. Lots of bouncing about, tickling, twirling around, and I rub him through his clothes very vigorously, his torso, his shoulders, down his arms and his legs. In between tickles and other things, so it’s kept fun.

After about 30 minutes of this, I pop him and his big brother into my room, to settle down and watch cartoons for 30 min or so till bedtime.


Normally Zack will be asleep and Max still running around like mad by the time I’ve tidied up downstairs and it’s time for bed.

The last two nights though, Zack has been wide awake (holidays, he’s more rested) and… MAX has been ASLEEP within that 30 minutes.


Even when I’ve lifted him to change his bum and get him into his jammies he only half-wakes up.



It’s amazing the difference it’s made.

I definitely recommend it to anyone who has sensory issues.

It’s worth a try right? For a GOOD bedtime?

I’m just hoping that so long as I carry this on, it’s not been a fluke.

Fingers crossed tonight is the hat trick… time will tell!

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  1. October 21, 2010 / 12:40 am

    Sounds like you’ve figured out something that really works for him. That’s really dedicated parenting, he’s very lucky to have a mother like you.

  2. October 21, 2010 / 12:43 am

    Wow that is so great. Well done you for working this out

  3. Kirsty
    October 21, 2010 / 12:44 am

    Awww sweetie, that is FANTASTIC!!!!! The ONLY way we found to keep Steven’s wee man in bed and settled was to put him in a high sleeper. He has no problem getting up the ladder to bed but his perception for coming down is not good so he will not come down withough one of us there!!! It’s great as it means we get at least 9 hours sleep from him every night he’s here and makes him much more manageable the next day! Long may this success continue with wee Max and well done you for persevering!!!! xxxxxxxxxx

  4. October 21, 2010 / 1:26 pm

    Thanks Kirsty, I was at my wits end with him not going to sleep till so late! I just hope so long as I keep it up, he keeps falling asleep so easily. 🙂

  5. October 21, 2010 / 1:27 pm

    Thanks sweety! 🙂 x

  6. October 21, 2010 / 1:31 pm

    Max seems to have *no* fear so far… silly wee bugger! lol 🙂
    He’s been *so* much easier to handle the last couple of days too, probably in part because I’m not on as short a fuse as getting a decent amount of sleep, hehe. x

  7. October 21, 2010 / 4:14 pm

    Well done you! Its so tough when kids don’t sleep… mine drive me mental sometimes… put son in warmer PJs as this seemed to stop him waking up cold. Need to try something else to get daughter to go to sleep in first place…

  8. October 21, 2010 / 5:17 pm

    Max has the same prob as your daughter… it’s hard for him to get to sleep, so I’m *very* relieved that we seem to have found something that helps! *fingers crossed* it works tonight…

  9. October 22, 2010 / 1:25 am


    Melatonin, I added to Amy’s milk, it tasted slightly like vanilla and she was used to vanilla from me adding vanilla essence to her milk as a treat occasionally. It was honestly brilliant and you know how anti-medication I am. We don’t use it now, but probably should.

    Isaac is waking at all hours now and just chatting to himself for AGES. I don’t know how I’m going to cope when I have to move him into a bed.

  10. October 22, 2010 / 9:34 am

    Max went through that stage too, well, he still does even now. It amplified for a while after he was cot-less, but seems to have gone back to normal now. Once a night is enough to get by eh? >_<
    I didn’t know you’d used melatonin before, was it *really* that good? I think if I added it to Max’s milk he would have one sip of it and chuck it away… very sensitive to these things unfortunately. :S

  11. October 22, 2010 / 9:38 am

    Yeah, it helped to relax Amy. It didn’t make her sleepy, or zoned out or anything, but it did help with the relaxation and the turning off of her brain at bedtime.

    Maybe you could try some and put a teensy bit in a teensy bit of milk? So that he could try it, without it being a major waste? I mean, if it doesn’t work, I bet it would be awesome for you. I know it helped me when I was taking it.

  12. October 22, 2010 / 9:39 am

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. I’ve been lucky with my 2, they love to sleep. Take after their mummy LOL

  13. October 22, 2010 / 11:20 am

    Once Max is asleep he’s like his mummy, he’s a grumpy wee guy when he’s woken up! lol 🙂
    Just getting him to unwind and *go* to sleep is the problem, which *may* have been cracked… three nights in a row now!! 😀

  14. taz
    October 22, 2010 / 11:31 pm

    hope its still working hun..

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