What does sleep look like for #autism parents?



Parents often struggle with sleep, especially when their kids are younger. Parents of special needs kids struggle with sleep all the time. I’m one of those parents.

If I had it my way, I’d be in bed at 10pm every night and sleep straight through until 7am. Unfortunately, my kids don’t cooperate with that. They each struggle with sleep disturbances, that we haven’t been able to work through.

For the most part, Gavin’s doing really well with sleep. The issue is with Elliott and Emmett. Elliott claims to be a night owl and needs to be awake at night. His doctor and I call bullshit on that. The issue is sleep hygiene and poor sleep habits. In other words, he needs a better bedtime routine and a reset to his sleep cycle. That’s way more easily said than done but I’m working on it.

Emmett has been struggling with sleep since Lizze left. We were doing better, especially after getting him compression sheets for his bed. Unfortunately, he’s been struggling more as the school year goes on. Remote learning is frustrating and stressful for him.

Emmett usually starts out in his own bed but ends up in my room at some point in the middle of the night.

I wanted to help illustrate how different my sleep is when I’m on my own vs having Emmett invading in the middle of the night.

The image above shows my sleep from last night. 63 is in the average range for adults according to Samsung Health. My sleep was pretty good during that 4 hour period of time.

Contrast the above image with the image below. My sleep was divided into 2 records because Emmett woke up and came into my room. I have a huge bed and he has to be glued to me. I’m happy to provide him with whatever comfort he needs to help him through this time in his life.

The problem is that it dramatically disrupts my sleep and I wake up exhausted. Do this day after day and it takes a toll.

I need to fix this and I’m not sure how.

I really struggle to function on so little sleep and helping him get through this is really important.

When I woke up this morning, I checked my sleep because I felt like I hadn’t slept at all. I went back a few nights and this pattern is a pretty consistent. I thought it might be helpful to put this out there because it could things into perspective for people trying to understand what parents like myself go through. Zzzzzzzzzz

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Curtis G.

My oldest son, who is an adult, and lives with us has had sleep problems since childhood. He sporadically still has sleep problems mixed with anxiety and mixed with medical issues. So being down the autism road for 30+ years, it has taken various tolls us, his caretakers, not to mention that our once quiet and safe neighborhood has drastically changed but not for the better, with sounds of often heard nightly gunfire and suspect people people moving into the neighborhood.

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