• Understanding Autism from the Inside

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Three Things that Helped my Autistic Kids to Sleep

Sleeping is a huge struggle in our house. We have trouble falling asleep, more trouble staying asleep, and it’s a nightmare at bedtime getting our tribe to settle down. Admittedly, little has worked for getting the boys, or me for that matter, to sleep. But of the many things we’ve tried these are the three that have shown some success. If it worked for us, perhaps it will help you too.

THREE THINGS THAT HELP MY BOYS SLEEP

  1. Weighted Blanket

The blanket is a favorite in our house. The boys ask for it, the littlest insists on it when he lays down, my 14-year old tries to crawl under it with the 4-year-old, and when they are all asleep, I try to steal it from them! We clearly need more blankets in our house.

 

This weighted blanket is textured on one side as you can see in this picture, and the cover is soft and fuzzy. I love it! I would highly recommend this one. I am also looking at purchasing a larger comforter-type weighted blanket one for my bed so I can stop trying to yoink the kid’s blanket during the night. Should you try this, or any other, the one thing I would insist upon is a removable cover. The little guy is still in diapers and I need not tell you how that blanket can smell sometimes. Having the ability to wash only the outer layer is a life saver.

2. Melatonin

We are a melatonin supplement taking household. Most of us cannot fall asleep without it. No one in the house is happy when we’ve run out and didn’t get our Amazon order in time! Always talk to your doctor before starting any vitamin or supplement.

Read more about sleep disturbances and autism, and why we swear by the stuff. Also, Autism Daddy has a great post on the same subject.

3. Headphones and Audiobooks

My little guys like to watch TV at night, but this is often counterproductive when trying to get them to fall asleep. Recently, Tom (7) has listened to Rick Riordan books on audible. Allowing him to put headphones on and listen to the audiobooks instead of watching TV at night achieved two things. First, he stopped crying and arguing so much when it was time to shut it all down because he still had something “to do.” Second, he fell asleep pretty darn fast (for him) with no visual stimulation only listening to the book. It’s like supercharged bedtime stories. And since he sleeps right on my pillow with me, it allows me to read quietly without noisy cartoons or words in the background. Get two free audiobooks to give Audible a try!

So what has worked for you? Are there any tricks you’ve learned to help you or your kids get to sleep?

 

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.