Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Aspergers and Sleep Disorders

I've noted a link between aspergers and sleep disorders.

My son takes hours to go to sleep and is sometimes awake in the middle of the night. I used to think that it was his ritalin (he's on it for his ADHD/ADD) but I noticed that when he has a break from the ritalin, during school holidays for example, his sleeplessness is unchanged.

I also remember from my own childhood and most of my adulthood, that I had sleeping problems too. I still do occasionally though these days, the dual stresses of work and family combine to make me tired enough to drop off.

I've also learned to cope with sleeplessness better by staying up until I really feel tired then going straight to the bedroom with my eyes partially close and without talking or doing any "thinking" work. In winter, I even go so far as to wrap myself in a doona (blanket) while watching TV and staying "wrapped" all the way to the bedroom. Even so, it's fairly common for me to go to bed at between 11.30pm and 2am and wake up at 5.30am.

Empirical Evidence
I decided to have a quick look around the internet to see if there have been any studies about the link between sleeplessness and aspergers.

I found an interesting set of links on medopedia;
I noticed that they spelt Asperger's differently but I don't think it impacts on the quality of their research.

Aspberger’s Syndrome Sleep Disorders Linkages

Anyway, probably the most interesting quote in their article is as follows;

According to the results, 50 percent of the children with AS were disinclined to go to bed. 75 percent had a need for a light or television in the bedroom, 87 percent had difficulty getting to sleep at night and 75 percent fell asleep sweating. Also, 50 percent felt unrefreshed when waking up in the morning, 87 percent had difficulty waking up in the morning and 87 percent felt sleepy during the day.

This is significant because;

  1. It's possible that some of the side-effects of Ritalin in Asperger's children may have been misrepresented - though it's not particularly likely.

  2. More importantly, I know that there are a lot of aspies out there who are using medications which have sleeplessness as a side-effect. We need to be aware that when combined with the natural sleeplessness of aspies, these effects may be greater than they would be in other children.
There's another article which says mostly the same thing but has a list of interesting sources linked below.

Do Children with Autism Sleep Less?

Strangely enough, the studies don't seem to look at sleep patterns in aspergers adults, which I can confirm are similar. They also don't seem to ask whether or not there is a reduced need for sleep in aspergers children.

Speculation: perhaps it's linked with hyptonia and "reduced energetic play", a common trait in aspie children.


wolfwhosings said...

I have always had the worst time waking up AND going to sleep. So much so that my schedule, if allowed, will flip to completely nocturnal. I find I sleep easiest if I play puzzle games on the computer and then reread a familiar book before bed. Perhaps its the associative pattern of "This means sleep now."

LizzieK8 said...

I have sleep issues. I've been using OTC sleeping pills for a few years now and am finally getting a good nights sleep most nights.

Some of my sleep issues, I think, were related to hypothyroidism, but not all. I have three kids, and three grands all on the spectrum and at least four of us have sleep issues.

I need sound on to go to sleep. TV, audio book, etc. Always have preferred that. My granddaughters need sound all night as does my daughter and one son.

Anonymous said...

Once again this sounds just like me. I'm still hoping to some day find something about AS that does NOT fit me. Or should I just go to a shrink and ask for professional evaluation ..

As a child I had to have a light on besides my bed all night. Now as an adult I turn down all lights, but always have a hard time getting to sleep. I'll feel sleepy all day, sometimes even falling asleep for a few seconds in the office. Then again at night time, I'll be wide awake.

Kinda sucks if your boss wants you to be at work on time. Why is this world so tolerant for foreigners, homosexuals, disabled people, people of different religious beliefs, etc. yet wouldn't accept those who are 'neurodiverse' or just of a different 'chronotype'?
I'd laugh at everybody's stupidity if it wasn't that serious.

Anonymous said...

My 5 yr old son also has AS and has battled for sleep for the past 3 yrs. He breaks into sweats the minute he hits the pillow and is often soaked in sweat through the night. He's stays up late and rises at that crack of dawn. His sleep deprivation is evident throughout the day. I long for the day he gets a great nights sleep.

You mentioned your son takes Rydalin. Is it necessary and have you sought out alternatives. I have little faith or interest in introducing prescription drugs in to my childs life. These are my feelings so please don't take offensively.

Gavin Bollard said...

My son does indeed take Ritalin but this is only to control his ADD comorbid condition. It does nothing for Aspergers itself.

We did try a number of natural alternatives including diet and fish oil. We were also encouraged to test alternate drugs but none of these had the 50+ years of clinical trials that Ritalin had.

The difference in my son on and off Ritalin is enormous and it doesn't "control" him or suppress his cute, quirky nature.

At this stage Ritalin is a positive influence in his life but we don't medicate on weekends or holidays as our aim is to allow him to learn to contol himself without medication so that he can get off Ritalin as soon as possible.

We've checked extensively into the negative reports on Ritalin but most of the empirical research in the negative seems to have been conducted by the Church of Scientology, who have a different agenda.

China said...

My son has had all that trouble. He takes Concerta and had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. He also, at one point, had night terrors. He is hypotonic and prefers indoor activities like computer games, board games and math. He also is often sweaty at night. He now takes Tenex (Guanfacine) with his Concerta to help calm him and taper off.
He also took Melatonin for awhile.
My blog is about him and is supposed to be humorous. I titled it "Brilliant Spectrum Child" and sub-titled it "The Adventures of Orangeboy and his Antagonists".
Please visit and feel free to give me your opinion.

Anonymous said...

Can you talk a little about Aspies and dreaming? My Aspie boyfriend claims that he only remembers about 8 dreams in his lifetime and very rarely dreams.

Gavin Bollard said...

That's an interesting question which I'll look at - but I have to do some research first.

Anonymous said...

I've had a terrible time with sleep for my entire, near 32 years at this point. Can't sleep until the wee hours of the morning, exhausted during the day before awakening full bore in the evening. I seem to run on an atypical circadian - if allowed to run unchecked, I have about a 36 hour pattern, 24 up, 12 spent in relaxation (not necessarily sleep). Can't have bright light, but need sounds. Complex music will keep me up, but have found that playing an old repetitive video game does tend to knock me out in about 45 minutes.

Paige said...

Glad I found this site, but is anyone still running it?

My 9 yr old son is an Aspie, is on no medication and has an awful time going to sleep every single night. Every night. Tonight we caught him sleepwalking (done this before). He actually peed in our fridge! Poor guy.

Gavin Bollard said...

The site is still running. I'm just a believer in quality posts rather than quantity, so I try to post weekly rather than daily - been quite busy lately though.

I don't think that I ever sleepwalked as a child but I know some NTs who have - so it's not an aspie trait.

Re: Causes of sleepwalking...

In children, the cause is usually unknown but may be related to fatigue, prior sleep loss, or anxiety"


Your aspergers child is almost certainly experiencing sleep loss (and probably fatigue) but you might want to talk to him about his day to determine if there's any anxiety.

Anonymous said...

Our 14 ear old Aspberger son has not been on meds for 5 years and still has sleep issues. I have lost it completely. He goes to sleep at 9pm and gets up for school at 6:30 and he still falls asleep in school. He falls asleep almost right away but tells me that he wakes up " several times a night and just lays there". We have trie Trazadone( that was abig mistake!) Melatonin and lots of other " do this before bed" strategies. Are there any ASD adults who can answer me? I love my son and want to help him so badly!

Gavin Bollard said...

Sleep deprivation is a common problem for aspies which will stay with them for their entire lives.

You can't make your son go to sleep if it isn't happening naturally but you can give him a low strength bed-lamp and a book (or depending how you feel about it, television).

The idea behind this is to get his mind of the problems of the day - as this is often a reason behind sleep difficulty.

You could also benefit from having some rules laid down - eg: Must stay in bed and read if you can't sleep to avoid him waking himself up fully.

Lisa O said...

My 13 year old son uses melatonin and it works great - despite his reluctance to go to bed. He is on a high dose (6mg); but it is non addictive and no side affects so we are happy to continue its use. He also must have a 'little' light coming in his room from somewhere and an audio book playing continuously. We are going to try hypnosis / self hypnosis as a long term strategy. Has anyone tried this?

Anonymous said...

My 18 yo aspie son has had sleep problems since the day he was born. For the first several years, he only slept 5-7 hours a night (from birth). I used to cry I'd be so tired when he would wake up for the day and I had barely gotten enough sleep. He slept with the light on all his life. It is not a matter of fear, or shadows... he just sleeps better that way. It does not matter what I do, I can't 'make' him go to sleep. I can 'make' him lay down in bed and do all of the things necessary towards promoting sleep, but if his body is not ready for sleep, he will just lay in bed awake until I allow him to get up. Then he would fall asleep when he needed sleep. His natural 'day' (from sleep period to sleep period) exceeded 24 hours. When given the choice as he got older, we opted to homeschool him, a choice we did not regret, he found himself far more productive at night from very early on. When he got older, so long as he was accomplishing his responsibilities, he was allowed to set his own waking and sleeping patterns. As long as he had his work done and was at all meetings or appointments on time, we stopped fighting the bedtime battle and gave him his 'to do list' daily. If all life was nocturnal, he would probably stay on a night schedule for all of his productive/waking hours. I stopped fighting the sleep battle for MY sanity. We're both better off for it. He plans to work night shift.

Gavin Bollard said...

Well done.
A perfect example of both picking your battles and making the best of your aspie's talents and situation.

Home schooling is quite controversial in some areas because of the poor perception that some people have. I don't think that this is helped by cartoons like South Park who make Home-Schooled children out to be completely unable to socialize with other children.

Strangely enough, the reverse is usually the case. Home schooled children seem to learn better both academically and socially.

My children both go to a normal school but my eldest has been struggling of late. I've found that an hour of one-on-one work with his tutor provides much greater benefit than an entire week in a class of thirty.

A similar thing happens to the social skills of children who spend much of the day negotiating the social situations during the day (shopping etc) with their mother. These situations expose the children to a greater depth of conversation than they would get from the playground at school.

EllenS5 said...

My 10 yr old Aspie daughter has been driving my hsuband and I crazy with her poor sleep habits. She doesn't go to sleep sometimes until after midnight and wakes through the night several times. She was recently put on Trileptol, an anti-seizure medicine, due to an abnormal MRI and EEG reading. She has not displayed any seizure activity of which we're aware. Her doctor has been reluctant to put her on anything for sleep and has suggested counseling and thing such as removing TV from her room. (though this is what she wants in order to sleep) I'm concerned that all this sleep loss is doing damage to her in the long run, not to mention our sanity.

goofoman said...

My 11 year son has a liver disorder that causes him to itch as well as asperger's. All this time I thought it was his itchiness that was causing such sleeplessness. I'm so relieved to see that I'm not crazy! For so long I thought he was staying awake due to this problem or he was just looking for excuses to stay up. Now I see that this is a common aspie trait.

Catriona said...

I am a 29 year old aspie and I have always had problems getting to sleep and staying asleep. My mind is going 100 km an hour, I overheat in bed no matter how lightly clothed I am. I often suffer really bad headaches and occasionally throwing up that I have to take painkillers to dull the pain. I have asked many people about this but no one seems to be able to come up with a good answer for me. I do know according to my psychologist it is common for aspies though I guess one of those curses .

Anonymous said...

I read your post on patterns, so one day I took my mp3 player, which was packed full of rap music(the clean versions of course) and I fell asleep 10 minutes after turning it on at a small volume. I think it may be because the beats occasionally repeat in the songs, so now I always slip a head phone into the ear facing away from my alarm clock. It always helps me fall asleep faster.

Jasperboy said...

My daughter is 13 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD age 5years and AS when she was 11. I am having terrible problems with her sleeping at the moment. She says she is scared about being the only one awake in the house.

This means that she'll go to bed at night, if we are still up then she will generally fall asleep, but as soon as we go to bed she wakes up and then is unable to go back to sleep. This then results in her coming into our room every few minutes begging me to sleep with her. Most nights I try to resist, but by 3am it is very difficult to keep calm and continue to say 'no darling, go back to bed, good girl.'

Does anyone else have any experience of this problem and how best to deal with it?

misnlnk said...

I have had sleep issues all of my 41 years old. I see people mentioning how their children want to get in bed with them, and the inability to fall asleep.

Do you or they fall asleep when curled up in the bed with you, if you rub their back or head, sleep with cushions or heavy blankets piled on them???

The book "Look Me in the Eye" by John Elder Robinson talks about how he has trouble sleeping but feels a sense of "safety and comfort" with his wife sleeping beside him, that he even will move a foot or arm to touch hers during the night. He goes back to sleep quickly when he does this.

I have had this same sensation when I am able to have my arm, leg or sleep "back to back". Looking back, all my life I needed the heavy blankets for that "enclosed" feeling. I read this chapter while lying in bed and quickly realized why I have so many pillows surrounding me in bed.

This has helped me to some degree (am now divorced...have to substitute the man for pillows for the time being). I did have a boyfriend for awhile and sure enough, no night medication needed. I was asleep instantly...and no it was not because of any "activity" beforehand!!! It was as simple as having a foot against his leg.

Watch what makes you or your child fall asleep, see if it has something to do with this feeling of security. To curl up in a closet or other small space is also common.

Anonymous said...

I have 11 year old twins: one with AS, the other with dyslexia.

The dyslexic needs at least 12 hours. The AS child can't sleep.

I'm now home-schooling, which has brought some semblance of sanity to our lives :-)

Suzanne B. said...

My son slept with me and my husband from infancy, not because we were keen on sharing a "family bed" but because I sensed that he truly needed (rather than just preferred) another's presence in order to sleep. He is now 6 years old and diagnosed with AS and ADHD, so our sleep history (and lack thereof) makes more sense than it did in the moment. We struggled with bedtime for years--trying calm music, nightlights, noise machines, air filters, cool temps, and even chamomile tea. Finally, his new doctor, who has lots of experience with AS and ADHD and is treating him with Metadate and Ritalin for ADHD, agreed with our idea of trying melatonin. What a miracle! With 1 or 2 mg of melatonin, he now falls asleep within 30 minutes. If he wakes during the night, he sleepwalks to our bed, cuddles up beside me, and immediately dozes off again. It's not a perfect solution, but the more sleep all of us get, the better! And I'm just grateful that being in our bed is usually enough to help him fall back asleep.

Ashok Kumar said...

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Anonymous said...

I am the mom of a 8 yr old aspie. Found this due to a search for night sweats, but a lot of what I've read reads true for our situation.

One thing that I think has helped is a fish tank. Makes nice background noise, subtile light / light patterns, gentle movement of fish etc. When he wakes up, he just watches the fish.

Also have recently gotten a weighted blanket and feel that it is helping to reduce nighttime wake-ups.

Also wanted to comment on the security angle. I definatly think this is a factor. He likes to 'snuggle' and tends to fall asleep much more quickly when I allow him to snuggle with me as he drifts off to sleep.

Aspie Dad said...

My 13-year-old son has AS and ADHD, and has always had a difficult time settling for the night. (No meds.) As a toddler, we would put him down at 8:00, but find him still wide awake at 10:30. Here is the puzzle: he never appeared sleep-deprived. Could some of his "attention issues" be attributed to micro naps he is taking while appearing to be completely awake? He zones out and sometimes has no idea what just happened.

Anonymous said...

I am a mum of a 13yr aspie son, and he has the same sleep issues. I now home school him, and this has been the best thing for him. My son sleeps very little (no meds) likes to have the pillows around him, and often likes to have a desk top fan blowing on his face. I have been staying up and playing cards with him, sometimes up till 11.30pm.

Anonymous said...

As an adult, I simply cannot sleep at night without medication. Lyrica or Ambien can help. They do build up if you take them every night. My pattern now is 2 or 3 nights with no sleep and then I take the pills (also with pain meds). I have tried over the counter herbal combination with benedryl and that helps too.

I hate nights when I don't sleep, and that is part of the reason I like a light at night. I am too old to get up and focus on a project, so I just lie there and am awake.

Bryan Schmiedeler said...

I am the stepfather of a 14 year old with Asp. who has sleep issues, one of which I have not seen on this or other forums. I am desperate for help. When we try to wake my son in the morning he is in some kind of weird state - he is just not himself. He will say he is up when he is still in bed, or will say he will get up but he will not. *Every* morning we have to prod him until he becomes bellicose and angry, sometimes borderline violent. He will be this way for 10-15 minutes, even when at the breakfast table. He eventually snaps out of it and then claims absolutely no knowledge of what happened. This happens EVERY DAY, without fail, even if he has had a good night's sleep.

I am looking for a sleep specialist to take him to, but also wanted to see if this particular behavior is related to Asp.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Anonymous said...

@Bryan Schmiedeler

It sounds to me like your son is not entering a fully wakened state, similar to somnambulism (sleepwalking). It also sort of sounds like a very high amount of sleep inertia. You might try having the lights come on up to 30 minutes before you expect him to get up.

I would think that a sleep specialist would definitely be worth consulting if his behavior is long term.

Anonymous said...

This is in reference to Brian...My husband has AS, and while reading your post I thought that I could have written it myself! Oh, my goodness! My husband has horrible sleep problems, which affect our whole family. I have thought that a sleep specialist would be helpful, but don't know of any who specialize in AS. Please do get back with us and let us know results.

Anonymous said...

don't have the desk fan blowing on his face tht really hurt my eye sight so much when i did it

and it's true i have awful sleep patterns

cd said...

I never call or think of myself as an aspie, or anything else for that matter. But every few times I read up about it, some of it does indeed make sense..
I'm writing here because I googled “asperger sleep” and found this post interesting.
For the last eight years or so – since halfway through middle school – I've been having a similar issue as described in the last couple of posts; coma in the morning.

The problem is course more comprehensive than that, but the primary issue since middle school, has been that I'm unable to respond to the outer world in the morning (or whatever you can call it after 12pm). I'm just in this crazy state of comatose; flickering in and out of something dream-ish, while almost unable to move because my whole body feels numb - and yet comfortable - like if I where affected by some drug. And it usually takes a long time for me to really wake up and think straight. And I remember well when it started, because every morning was like waking up in hell...

I'm totally dependent on Melatonin to have anything remotely close to a rhythm. And even that faint hint of a rhythm constantly shifts, so it's never really stable.. I've been diagnosed with circadian rhythm disorder, but it doesn't make sense. It's like I have a really low quality sleep – and therefore have to sleep a lot (often ~12h), which makes the rhythm shift – as I already have problems getting to sleep in the first place. Sleeping on command just doesn't work and I'm hopelessly dependent on having a TV on.
And the dreams I'm having... Where do I start.. I need to start writing down my dreams!

I haven't really thought of AS as the answer to my sleeping disorders – but the data is evident!

Admin said...

Every night I found myself have a difficulty to fall asleep, even if I have sleep apnea. So, I should feel very tired in the evening, which is true.

However, when I'm in bed and turn off the light, a lot of things come to my mind and I cannot fall asleep. I found this particularly strange in a person who has a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.

Bishop said...

Though it's been comforting to read of others like myself and my son and hear how many others experience what we feel every day, I do not see solutions from people who have visited sleep specialists. Does anyone have a way to fix this other than setting your own hours at work and sleeping when you feel like it or becoming dependent on Melatonin?

Anonymous said...

I'm 25 and have been on and off medication for ADD since I was 7 or 8. ASD was also talked about in the past but I was young and my mothers refuses to revisit the past so I don't really know the whole story. That said, I've had sleep problems as far back as I can remember and from the time I was four my mother would find me in the middle of the night, in the living room coloring with the TV on displaying the OFF AIR screen and at a low volume. Aside from being fairly disturbing to see on a regular basis, it continued on in various incarnations throughout my whole life. To this day my natural circadian rhythm is off and I need a small amount of lite to get minimal sleep. Worrrying about sleeping makes it worse. :(

Wacky Lisa said...

My partner is much like the Dec 8 2008 Anon commenter. For him a 'day' varies from 20 to 60 hours. He won't go to bed until he's very sleepy. At that point he'll take whatever medication he's using to help him get restful sleep. Sometimes they work, sometimes not.
He has a probable Asperger's DX (couple's therp didn't disagree) as well as Fibromyalgia and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (currently treated with BiPAP).
We're not entirely sure how things intersect. The pulmonologist who orders his sleep studies has been focused on treating the apnea and we haven't put any effort into getting him onto a vaguely 24 hour day as opposed to a 20-60 hour day. I suspect he may need to see his neurologist rather than the pulmonologist to make more headway.

Kasey said...

I've got to say, this is me all over. I have always had problems with sleeping - as does my brother actually and he has ADHD. My biggest problems with sleeping is actually feeling tired enough to fall asleep in the evening - I'm often up until 12, 1 or even 2 in the morning because I feel wide awake - and then waking up in the morning. When I was younger it never mattered what time I went to sleep at I always, always, woke up at 6:30-7:00 every morning - including weekends. As I've grown older my sleeping pattern has changed little, I'm normally awake before 8:30 and normally, on average, go to bed between 12 and 2.
I've tried sleeping tablets but they didn't actually affect me the way they're supposed to. I didn't fall asleep after taking them - which might be because I seem to be immune to a whole host of pharmaceuticals (including anaesthetic which just sucks).
I've actually been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome but literally right on the border with Autism itself. As a result, I find it incredibly difficult getting my mind to stop long enough for me to 'wind down' and actually sleep. Indeed, most of the time I can be awake for two or three days straight because I've got an idea in my head that I can't get rid of until I actually do it.
I think a major part of the whole 'getting to sleep' thing is routine. If I have a routine that I carry out often enough then I start to associate that with sleeping and rest, but eventually even the routine fails when I... don't know, adapt? to it.
I used to sleep with a light in my room when I was younger and then with the door open, and now I can sleep without a light in my room but only if the landing light is on.
For the most part, when I try to get to sleep, I need either complete silence or classical music playing (normally Hans Zimmer) in headphones, in order to relax enough to fall asleep. It can be frustrating at times...

Anonymous said...

Since a toddler I was ADHD/ADD and had a hard time slowing down, resting and sleeping. I was treated with vigorous exercise, play and fast walking and running out in the fresh air and sunshine until I would literally, stop and from sheer, physical fatigue. This was done twice a day and I’d take a nap in between. All of my three sons turned out the same. I followed the same approach. They were all home schooled with a focus on gross motor activity and coordination in the early years. We left didactic, academic activities until 8-10 years old or when the top and bottom permanent teeth came in. TV and computer games were never used in the house during their entire growing up years. We eat plenty of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, lots of whole grains and sprouted legumes. We rarely eat meat, definitely no junk food, hardly eat any sweets and do not take any medications. We all slowed down, naturally, in our early teens. It worked for us! Good luck.

Anonymous said...
The study found that sleep onset latency — the time it takes to fall asleep once in bed — ranged from as little as roughly 10 minutes for some children to more than 40 minutes for others. But physical activity during the day and sleep onset at night were closely linked: every hour of sedentary activity during the day resulted in an additional three minutes in the time it took to fall asleep at night. And the children who fell asleep faster ultimately slept longer, getting an extra hour of sleep for every 10-minute reduction in the time it took them to drift off.

Studies on adults have reached generally similar results, showing that an increase in physical activity improves sleep onset and increases sleep duration, particularly in people who have trouble sleeping.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been officially diagnosed with AS, but in researching I've decided I have it. I am an adult who has struggled with sleep since my teen years. Eventually I was prescribed alprazolam which worked like a charm, but it's addictive. I take one Unisom SleepGel and .25 to .5 mg alprazolam (Xanax), which is very little.

While it stinks having to take something, it is better than not sleeping and has made life possible. I also believe the alprazolam and the sleep have made my AS better by reducing my anxiety and utter exhaustion. So much so that no one would ever suspect AS, in fact I was surprised to find out. I always just thought I had a difficult time socializing, especially as a child. Oddly, people now think of me as very good at communicating. If they only knew what was going on inside half the time!

Be warned though. I'm currently trying to ween myself off because after 15 years or so taking it, I am starting to have sexual side affects I don't like. Of course, the sleep problems are right back.

Also, it has helped me to find something to listen to to fall asleep. I used to use the TV but now I listen to a recording of something inspiring. It's the same recording every time, so my brain tunes it out and I'm never awake by the end, and usually out within 10 minutes. Without it or TV it's much more difficult or even impossible. If (when) I wake up in the middle of the night I just hit play and do it again.

Also, you can't just stop alprazolam cold turkey or you could give yourself heart attack.

Good luck to everyone. I will check back in if I stumble onto something. I'm determined to find the right combination of environment, exercise, and medicine.

Tonic66 said...

I am the mother of a 12 year old Aspie who took a turn this year with anxiety, depression and opposition. He has always been difficult to wake in the morning weather he slept 5 or 12 hours. Took him for a sleep study last night and will get the results in a week. Until today I NEVER knew there was a link between Asperger's & sleep issues, I always thought of them to be separate. I'm wondering if everything is related to his sleep pattern. Will keep you posted!

Batman said...

I have a 16 yr old son with AS. He wasnt diagnosed until almost 2 yrs ago. We are just now starting to address the sleep problem seriously. First of all, he has always denied being tired at all, and as a matter of fact, he would even get angry at times if we asked him if he was tired. It has just been recently that he started to admit that he felt tired. So now I feel as though I can start doing something about it. The one thing I know for sure that would help him sleep, is to let him sleep in our bed. The second best thing I know for sure, is to some how figure out ways to make his bed more secure feeling. At this point, I am willing to buy anything to put in his bed to help him sleep. Please, some one send all suggestions you may have.

Anonymous said...

The hug machine :)

Not sure if this is helping or not, just something I came over today. I had never heard of it before. But when I think about it it does help me sleep sometimes when I snuggly wrap myself in my duvet (a form of a thick blanket).

The "hug machine" might not be directly relating to sleep disorders, but it is related to autism spectrum disorders. So I just thought I post it.

- Guy, 40-ish, whos circadian rhytm (or "day") is turning all the time. Roughly 2-3 times a month I turn it back to normal (and the opposite). I have like 20-40 hour days, but normally I guess 25-ish.

Sammcdd said...

Wow!We aren't the only ones! My daughter with Aspergers is 8. She has to fall asleep on the couch watching tv, it has to be completely black in the room, she has to have a clock but it cannot be facing her and she gets up at the crack of dawn every morning of her life. We have told her she is not allowed to come downstairs before six am. Now she wakes up many nights and can't fall back to sleep. She will cry in her room or out in the hallway untill we hear her because she is scared to wake us up even though I constantly tell her, it's ok to wake me. Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety! Now we are going to try baby einstein lullabies all night long. I am tempted to try melatonin but she is terrified of swallowing pills. I tell you, it never ends (:

vicky said...

my 17 year old has been battling this all year. he is taking college courses in high school, but the fatigue of being awake all night doing homework, then to school, then to the couch until 8pm, back to homework until 4..his grades and our moods are disintegrating..citalopram is not working..

Anonymous said...

My husband has ADD and has admitted he thinks he has aspergers and my eight yr old son has aspergers and ADHD. Both of them stay up til midnight or one or two in the morning. They cannot seem to sleep. Both are near impossible to get out of bed in the morning. It seems to be linked in my eyes. (as tired as my eyes are) I hope research can help find a way to get this sleep deprivation under control.

Anonymous said...

My son was diagnosed with Aspergers at four. Since he was a newborn we have dealt with a situation where he will stiffen up board straight. Then almost like a wind up toy he will start to whine that quickly turned into wailing and screaming like he was in tremendous pain. It would go on for twenty minutes or more. He would never really be responsive. You couldn't really hold him or console him as an infant. I would be terrified and in tears my self. To this day..he is almost nine. I have never got a definitive answer as to what is going on. To my own opinion it appears neurological in nature. It usually happens about ninety minutes after he first falls asleep. So it has something to do with his REM from what I have learned. Any insight is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I'm 19 and have only just discovered that I have Asperger's. I was always aware that I was mentally different, and that I had trouble empathizing with "normal" people. I diagnosed myself of all of the Asperger symptoms, but I had no idea what it was. I thought it was a form of schizophrenia or post traumatic stress disorder at one point, and that I didn't remember the traumatic event. I spend my whole life trying to get people to understand me, and trying to understand others in hopes of reciprocity. I've had all of these sleeping problems my whole life. As a piece of advice that I am sure many of you would find very helpful, look into "brainwave entrailment", AKA binaural beats. I have found that it is the answer to all of my problems, including sleep problems. Also, I am a drummer, and I find that it is perfect for me since I am so obsessed with constancy and puzzles, and if all Aspies are like me, then I am sure they will share my passion for it. My psychiatrist (who believes I only have ADD) says it is a good activity to channel the surplus of energy, it exercises and tires the mind. I've found a lot of helpful information on this blog, I think I'll try out melatonin supplements and see if it helps me sleep. Every couple of weeks, I'm forced the stay awake an additional 12 hours in order to fix my sleep schedule. Wake up at 5pm, go to bed at 7pm the next day, works like a charm.

kaney said...

Different types of sleep disorders keep people awake and prevent proper sleep. Sleep disorders range from the common, self-correcting issues to physical and neurological disorders. Sleep disorders prevent people from resting properly whether it's getting to sleep, staying asleep or cycling through the stages of sleep.

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Anonymous said...

To Anonymous Feb 23, 2012
My 10 year old has done this same thing since infancy. He also sleepwalks in a similar state sometimes. It is night terrors/sleep terrors. It is like a dream-like state. even though sometimes he appears to be awake, he is in deep sleep. It is especially likely to happen after a day with something that caused a lot of anxiety or being overwhelmed. It is not uncommon with ASD.

lonoise said...

I've always thought I should be on a planet with 12h sleep 24h awake pattern.
I usually find it easier to fall asleep when I meditate although I don't always feel like it.

Sometimes it's extremely exhausting when combined with work. I'm currently away from home so not even my girlfriend can force me to sleep. Last 5 nights I've slept a total of 14h45min.

Anonymous said...

im 23 and have asp i have a hard time sleeping and i have to be cool to even get to sleep im..exceptionally talented in music so i cant listen to music to sleep i cant relax becuase i hear the beats time signatures and note patterns and want to build off them it keeps me to stimulated accually i cant even have tv going to much noise i was in placement as a child so i was deprived of theoption to have it i slept with darkness and silence now thats the only way i can sleep with the exception of the steady noise of a fan or ac i used to stay up 20hours slepp 4-6 and do it again for days maybe one day outta 7 id get a catch up nap id call it where id sleep 20hours

elzbith said...

Poor sleep quality can occur as a result of, for example, restless legs, sleep apnea or major .....

"Insomnia Causes Of Poor Sleep

Anonymous said...

+++ If you do use a light make sure it is red and only red- any other color will affect the circadian cycle. and my son peed in a small box used for coloring books. try running a box fan with a deep low sound. with the mix of the to my son sleeps better- though not great. I have seen a large improvement in him.