Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 1 Fall 2014 - Page 24

10 Ideas to Make Bedtime Easier By Cynthia Kim The majority of autistic children have some sort of sleep difficulties, and as a kid, I was no exception. I was usually the last one in the house to fall asleep. My parents would put me in bed at eight o’clock, but that was just the start of a long bedtime ritual. I’d spend hours reading by the glow of my night light, making multiple trips to the bathroom for a drink of water or one last pee. eight hours of sleep and wake up feeling like I’ve won the lottery. Signs of Insomnia The prevalence of insomnia in autistic children is surprisingly high. Forty to eighty percent of kids on the spectrum experience some sort of sleep problem. While we often think of insomnia as something that occurs in adults who are My difficulty falling asleep when I was stressed, depressed or ill, the sleep probyounger has grown into full-blown inlems that make up insomnia can also somnia as an adult. Some nights I wake be a primary condition—one that isn’t up a half dozen times; others I wake up at associated with any other health condi3:00 AM, feeling like it is the middle of the tion. This seems to be the case in many afternoon. I can hit the ground running autistic individuals. Several studies have at 5:00 AM with a cheeriness that seems linked autism with decreased melatonin to annoy most people. Maybe once every production, meaning that we experience few weeks I get a blissfully uninterrupted sleep problems simply because our bodies 24 Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses