Kids with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism are often hard to put to bed. They may sleepwalk or have problems staying asleep. Some sleep too much, others too little.
The reasons Aspergers kids have trouble falling asleep are:
- compulsions such as hand-washing or fiddling with their lights
- obsessive thoughts
- reactions to medications
- wanting to stay up with their parents and siblings
Just as they are too restless to go to bed, Aspergers kids often have trouble waking up. They will mope around in the morning and be unable to focus on getting ready for school and other chores.
A youngster's sleep problems can affect his parents' marriage. Most therapists tell moms and dads not to let the youngster sleep in their bed, and to take turns getting up with him. That way each parent gets a full night's sleep every other night. It is best to teach the youngster to stay in his bed and not wander around the house. Also, do not allow him to skip school because he missed sleep.
Some moms and dads enforce a strict bedtime and a regular bedtime routine as a way of calming their youngster for sleep. Another good trick is to use flannel sheets and to experiment with pajama fabrics until you find one that your youngster tolerates. Enclosing the youngster in a sleeping bag or under a bed tent can help. So does playing "white noise" in the background (e.g., run a fan).
Your pediatrician may prescribe sleeping pills such as Sonata, Ambien, Desyrel or Serzone.