Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sleep Deprivation in 3D


Once again, I am back on my 'sleepbox', ranting about that little thing that most take for granted and that many of us caregivers to those on the spectrum long to achieve...that 8 or 7, heck sometimes 6 hours is a blessing. Three words: Sleep Is Essential. It's even more important than all those other life sustaining activities. Lack of exercise kills you slowly; a bad diet is going to cause long term issues. OK, maybe if you stopped drinking, you'd die faster, but sleep is critical for for for, what's that word again...oh yea, THINKING. We tag teamed Livie this weekend, we alternated the early shift (4:30-7:45) then when Grace got up, the other would sleep. Fine and dandy if you don't need to get anything done. Monday morning came off without a hitch, she got up at a reasonable time. This morning though, I'm up with the fisherman at 4:15. No tears, no screaming...just a little girl looking to get up before the sun did.

The most frustrating part of all this is that we have not found a reason why. Go back to the days when your child was an infant. Imagine that feeling when your baby is getting up at night, and you're not sure what's wrong. Diaper's dry, no fever, not hungry, maybe teeth. maybe something's brewing. Sometimes it's just that they get in the 'groove' of getting up in the middle of the night. But in our case it's now different. First, this 'baby' is 6 years old and capable of great feats of destruction; she doesn't just sit in a crib and rattle the bars. Next, the baby will eventually grow out of this, there is a finite timeline of 2 years old three tops. Yea, you get a thirsty or scared child in you bed once a month, maybe once a week, but we run into spurts of 3 and 4 and 5,6 days in a row. Last, we worry that there is indeed something going on physically with her that we are missing. She has a notorious high pain tolerance; we've missed abscesses, double ear infections, you name it. So, it all adds up: Fear, frustration, forced insomnia = fried brains.
Then you have the feline Grace, who has taken up permanent residence in our bed. We're waiting on a mattress so that we will revamp their room. We'll have our revenge at that point. One of US will wind up taking residence in HER bed with her until we can get her acclimated to sleeping alone again. Yea yea, in the meantime, we're breaking the cardinal rule: make them sleep in their own bed. But they will bounce off each other if they are in the same room. One will wake the other, and all four of us would get no sleep. Linda and I are honestly getting used to having a foot in our face, or having her trying to literally push us to a corner of the bed so she can stretch vertically on the bed.
So midnight madness, make that, pre-dawn derange-ness still reigns supreme in the house. I'll start feeling the longer day around 5pm, and I'll have another cup of coffee and shake it off. I just hope this isn't the start of a major waking-streak. If so, I may wind up making even less sense than I usually do; I may even need to borrow some of Salvador Dali's face props from the painting above!

4 comments:

Chun Wong said...

It is hard when you are sleep deprived, it makes it harder to cope with everything that the day throws at you.

I'm not sure whether you've already tried it with your children, but it may be worth talking to your physician/therapist about melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that the body naturally releases at night to induce sleep and to regulate sleep, and some autistic children have been found to have low levels of it. It's what people doing long haul flights take to help them cope with jet lag too. Obviously I'm not your physician and can't give you medical but it might be worth you finding out more about it.

Hope you manage to get more sleep this week.

Dr Chun Wong
www.newautismcure.com

LIVSPARENTS said...

We use meletoning and every other substance known to mankind to induce and maintain sleep: gaba, valarian root, chamomile, local political talk shows, large turkey dinners.

Meletonin is great,but you have to watch out for tolerances to it building up...we're constantly removing it and adding it depending on Liv's state of tolerance at the time...

Dr.zim said...

If you are suffering from sleep problems such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea, you need to consider this problem seriously and adopt specific measures at the earliest to get back your sleep. Regular exercising is one of the options to ensure sound sleep at night. Altogether, if you are unable to get adequate sleep during night, you can undertake certain initiatives to overcome your sleep problems such as fixing your sleeping as well as waking schedule and abstaining from alcohol, nicotine, tea, coffee et al before hitting the bed.

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