I need sleep help — The Bump
Special Needs

I need sleep help

My 3 year old has had major sleep issues for the last 6 months. He has always been a good sleeper in that once he falls asleep, he stays asleep, but he has a lot of trouble falling asleep. He gets lots of exercise during the day, we turn off electronics and dim lights after dinner, do a bath with epsom salt, have a consistent routine, but nothing seems to help. We put him down at 8 pm and he is usually awake until 11 or midnight. He wakes around 8 or 8:30 whether he falls asleep right at 8 or is up until midnight.

He still has rest time in the middle of the day but usually does not fall asleep. If he does, it takes him 1 or 2 hours and I will usually limit his sleep. So he goes down at noon, falls asleep at 2, and I will wake him up around 3. The problem is that if he does not take a nap, he is falling asleep on the couch around 5, or if we go anywhere in the car after 3 pm, he'll sleep in the car. If he sleeps even a little bit (less than 10 minutes), he'll be up several hours after we put him down for the night. If he doesn't nap and we manage to keep him awake until after dinner, we can't put him to bed before 7 or he'll treat it like a nap and wake up around 9 pm.

He has therapy in the afternoon 2x/week and we get out at 4, so we're driving an hour in rush hour traffic. He falls asleep as soon the car starts moving and I wake him up when we get home. This happened today and we were home around 5:15. He's still awake and it's nearly 11:30. He has quiet toys in his room and he is allowed to play with them during the day, but not at night. He'll sit in bed and read, sing, or talk to himself. We've tried taking the toys out of his room, but he can have fun with a pillow and blanket for 3 hours. Our OT has suggested a weighted blanket but he doesn't usually stay under the covers until he decides he is ready for sleep, so I don't think that'll work.

Any suggestions? He doesn't have a medical diagnosis yet but they (SLP, OT, dev. pedi) are leaning toward SPD and he has an ED of ASD.

Thank you!
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Re: I need sleep help

  • Thanks ladies!

    I think he does still need the sleep, because he acts like a demon child if he doesn't nap or get enough (at least 10 hours) of sleep at night. I will look into weighted blankets and melatonin. We could try putting him down for a nap later but even if he's really tired, it usually takes at least an hour for him to settle himself down enough to actually go to sleep. If he sleeps 3-5, he will be up until 11 or midnight, which I'm really trying to avoid, especially because we're going to have a new baby in September. I might try waking him earlier in the morning and seeing if I can just get him on a different schedule - same amount of sleep but different hours. I also made an appointment with his pedi next week to see if he has any ideas.
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