Monday, May 13, 2013

Go the Eff to Sleep: Stuff We've Tried That Worked for a Little While

We're tweaking his meds again.  He's not sleeping.  It's a cycle.  We see his developmental pediatrician--a wonderful woman who actually listens and understands that three hours of sleep a night is not sustainable--and she tries to fix it for us.  She changes up his meds and he sleeps well for a couple of weeks.  Then we're back to the midnight madness.  This time, she's ordered a EEG and a sleep study so we can get a better idea of what the eff is going on.

I'm going to stab my eyes out with these knitting needles.

We've tried it all.  Here's a list, in no particular order:

1.  Melatonin as a verb.  It is a verb in our house.  An active verb:  Did you melatone him?  A passive verb:  Has he been melatoned?  The answer is yes, and it doesn't friggin' matter.  It does nothing for him anymore.  (Knocks me on my ass, though.)

2.  Meds.  Clonidine, Tenex, Risperdal.  As I mentioned before, they work for a little while and then quit.  My husband and I try to squeeze all our movie-watching into those few days.

3.  Sleep CDs.  We once burned out a cd player playing Sleeping Through the Rain on repeat all night for months on end.  Don't think the boy noticed, but it worked really well on me, which is why I will never go to one of those hypnotist shows.  I'd be that crazy bitch on stage clucking like a chicken and then denying it later.

4.  Driving around in the middle of the night.  When the boy was still light enough to carry from the car without waking, I'd take him on drives.  I once came upon an animal convention in the middle of the road.  I swear, there was a deer, a raccoon, a possum, and a rabbit, and I think they were discussing something important before I interrupted them.

5.  Epsom salts baths.  This is a cheap solution, and if he drinks the bathwater, it's a natural laxative.  Our local store stopped stocking the plain kind, so we tried the chamomile and lavender salts, which made the boy smell like my Aunt Agnes.

6.  My nightshirts.  For two glorious nights in a row, the boy brought one of my nightshirts to bed with him and slept all the way through.  He likes my nightshirts because they all have cartoon characters on them.  (How does my husband resist me?  I have no idea.)  I think he was reassured by the Mommy smell.  For two nights at least.

7.  Videos.  Good Night, Gorilla.  Good Night, Moon.  Raffi.  You name it, we've tried it.

8.  Grandma's House.  Every once in a while, my in-laws will take pity on us, and take our kids overnight.  (Those nights are the best because we sleep like it's our job.  We pull down the shades, take some Tylenol PM, and it's Enter Sandman.  We take this opportunity seriously.)  Then we find out the next day that the boy slept just fine.  I'm convinced my mother-in-law is some kind of white witch.  Or maybe it's their Tempurpedic mattress.

So...whatcha got?


  1. We used to have the dreaded cycles too. Now he is a teenager he just sleeps (thank God!) We mainly had problems with early waking. We tried black out curtains, blinds, etc. Finally resorted to painting over his window. Looks tacky as heck, but his room is dark!!

  2. Thanks, Julie! You give me hope.

  3. Hi there, I first have to say that I don't know you, but if I did, we would be instant friends. LOVE this blog!

    Second,I'm sure you don't need one more mom saying "try this" but I'm going to, just in case it works for you!

    My son with autism is almost 4 and was once a terrible sleeper. We took him to a naturopath, bla bla bla....he gave us magnesium ( powder form). We give him 1/4 of tsb every night after supper( we mix it in his Mott's fruit cup).I swear it took a few days and then sweet, sweet, glorious sleep! I'm almost scared to actually write this for fear I jinx it, but it's been months now...anyway it may be worth a try?

    Good Luck!

  4. Thank you! I'm going to ask his doc about that. I'm open to anything that'll keep us sane! (And thanks for reading!)

  5. My son is now 9 and we too have tried some of the items on your list.

    Often when he can't fall asleep he comes into our bed. For some reason he likes my side of the bed. When I'm ready for bed I walk him into his own bed, still half asleep. I've added a thick mattress pad and super soft sheets to his bed, along with a weighted blanket and he's in our room a lot less now. He also has an air purifier running in his room so he doesn't notice our neighbors coming and going during the night or in the early morning.

    We are using melatonin tonight.... I can only use it on days he doesn't have to get up.... as it can make him aggressive.... apparently catching up on 9.5 years of sleep deprivation makes him moody....

    Thank you so much for an awesome blog.

  6. Ooh, I'm going to try the air purifier thing! Thanks for your comments! (And thanks for reading!)

  7. Definitely the white-noise of a loud fan or air purifier. The one thing that's worked for us I not-so-sheepishly admit is co-sleeping. We bought a king-sized bed and our 11yo still snuggles next to me. Unconventional but he only gets up at night to pee. Downside: once-a-week sleepover at Nana's house is our only alone-in-bed time. Still, a good trade for good sleep. Good luck!!!

  8. We use the melatonin with our son, but the best thing for us has been his weighted blanket. Since he got that he has been sleeping at least 10 hours a night, which is great as before we were only getting about 4-5 if we were lucky. We also use meditation music on his ipad throughout the night. Also he ahs found minecraft video's on youtube so when he wakes at 5 in the morning he comes in and gets us to unlock his ipad and then he takes himself back to his room and watches minecraft videos till it is time to get up.

  9. Oh my gosh, I am in love with your blog! As a mama of a 9 year old who has been a terrible sleeper since I pushed him out of my who ha....I get what you're sayin. :) I'm hoping that since Andrew just started puberty, we may be in for some hormonal and growing sleep. But so far, it is just the hormonal rages.

  10. Just wanted to add for a glimmer of hope that my kiddo is a teenager now and actually will tell us "I'm sleeping in" on the weekend's. Back when he was little, I never would have thought in a million years to see the day when WE get to effin sleep in!! Good luck!