Chronic sleep deprivation is really taking its toll on this #Autism Dad

This whole Emmett not sleeping at night thing is getting really old.  I’m not getting nearly enough sleep. 

If the fever cycle is indeed causing this, I have less than about a week left.

Truthfully though, Emmett hasn’t slept well in a long time.  There’s either issues with falling asleep, staying asleep or both.  What’s been different lately is the not sleeping at all part.


It’s pretty common for special needs parents to experience chronic sleep deprivation as a result of their child having sleep disturbances.

Something that is not often understood is that parents with autistic children for example, are managing a difficult situation and doing so 24/7/365.

The only time they can ever really relax is if respite is involved and even then, we worry. 

Lack of sleep and constant stress, really takes its toll on your body ans mind.

I’m so grateful that Elliott and Gavin sleep as well as they do.  If only I could help Emmett to sleep better, maybe I could do the same. 

Emmett’s being afraid to sleep along is understandable when you know why he’s feeling that way.  He’s afraid that if he falls asleep without being glued to my arm, he’ll wake up and I’ll be gone. 

I know exactly where that’s coming from because when his Mom left, she put them to bed and left while they slept.

Kids with Autism tend to generalize and in his mind, Mom disappeared while I was sleeping, Daddy might too. 

I really try to be understanding with this and I want to help him feel comfortable.  This explains his reluctance to go to sleep and his racing to find me when he wakes up in the middle of the night. 

It doesn’t explain the resent bouts with insomnia because that just popped up recently. 

Anyway, I’m tired once again today but I’m feeling okay and with any luck, I’ll make it to bedtime.  ☺

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6 Comments on "Chronic sleep deprivation is really taking its toll on this #Autism Dad"

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Kim Gebhardt

Does Emmett sleep when he’s with Lizze and her parents?

Rob Gorski
It’s really hard to guage that because it’s only once every other week, there’s a transition and he’s sleeping in a different environment. I know that he wakes up and wants to sleep with her but she dosnt let him most of the time. That’s a really good question though and I honestly don’t have a solid answer. Emmett has said that he feels scared when he’s sleeping there at night. Not because he’s scared of her but there are some darker places at night and he’s very afraid of the dark now. He also has said that he has… Read more »
Kim Gebhardt

Would melatonin make a difference? What about telling him that being awake is fine, but he has to stay in bed and read? I understand his fear that he’s going to wake up and you’ll be gone, but there has to be some way to break that cycle and I would think that that only thing this is going to fix that fear is time. In the meantime, you need to be able to get some sleep, which might mean telling him that he can’t sleep downstairs and can’t sleep with you.

Rob Gorski

Already using Melatonin… Truthfully, I wish it were that simple… Unfortunately, that wouldn’t go over well and wouldn’t work.. ☺

Thank You for the suggestion though.. ☺

Jamie Leary
I am going through a very similar situation with my 5 yr old son. 2 weeks ago his dr. put him on Clonodine. It worked first the first week and it still works as far as putting him to sleep but it doesn’t keep him asleep. The week that I broke down and called the dr. he had slept 17.5 hrs in 7 days. So I was running on fumes as well. Now he is averaging about 4 to 6 hrs per night which is much better. There are side effects that I have noticed though. Some of them are… Read more »
Rob Gorski

Thank you for sharing. So many people take a good night’s sleep for granted but I don’t think we are among them… I hope you continue to find success and you both get some much needed and we’ll deserved sleep… ☺