Earlier bedtimes with an autistic child can be really draining.
Max’s bedtime has had to be at 9pm for nearly five years now. Any earlier and we would have repeated night waking, and just getting up for the day as early as 1-3am. It’s no fun being sleep deprived, so with the help of a sleep counsellor, a solid bedtime routine, and pushing back his bedtime to later, I realised it really did work to help him sleep through the night.
However it means I stay up later than I’d like because I need that down time once he’s in bed to be able to be myself. It also got in the way of Zack and I having much time to ourselves as until very recently he’s been going to bed at the same time so he didn’t lose out on sleep. But the downside was missing out on any uninterrupted one to one with my oldest.
On Sunday morning the clocks went back an hour – here endeth British Summer Time.
Max woke at 2.30am (corrected time) that night and didn’t sleep other than around 2 hours at 7am. It was a long day.
He was seeming pretty exhausted by 7pm, and I didn’t see him lasting till his usual bedtime at 9pm. So after talking to my mum friends via WhatsApp and Facebook messenger (godsend!) I decided that 8pm would have to suffice. If I tried to keep him up later he’d be overtired and that could lead to a meltdown, and with so much lost sleep hopefully he wouldn’t wake so early for a second night in a row, right?
Having that extra hour made such a difference, especially for Zack and I.
We decorated some biscuits and hung out together, catching up on Chicago Fire while chattering in the ad breaks before he went to bed around nine. By half ten I felt I’d had enough me time and went to bed.
The next thing I knew it was 7.30am and my alarm was going off! It took me a minute to realise what that meant… he’d slept through! I’d had a good eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and felt amazing for it.
So I’m going to trial an 8pm bedtime Sunday-Thursday and see how it goes.
I’ve got quite a quiet week ahead, having finished my first open uni assignment early, and being relatively on top of blogging and housework.
It may not work. In the past putting Max to bed any earlier than 9pm resulted in middle of the night waking around 2-3am, and if that’s the case it’ll be a tiring week but at least I’ll have tried, next week we’ll go back to the usual 9pm bedtime, and no one will be worse for wear in the long run.
But it might work, and it’s worth a try.
Max is working really hard at school, spending a lot of time learning in his mainstream classroom, working on his pronunciation constantly, and trying out lots of new experiences. By the end of the school day he’s pretty tired, and it takes it’s toll. Maybe now he’s that bit older at ten years old, he’ll sleep.
Keep your fingers crossed for us, we may need all the sleepy vibes you can send us!