When our daughter was just a toddler, we realized we had a major issue with sleep disturbance. I’d have to say this was one of the most prominent, visible things that we noticed. She needed a ton of sleep for her age, and she coped daily with interruptions in sleep and sleep insomnia-like symptoms. She would wake up repeatedly in the night, unable to fall asleep again, despite our many attempts at getting her settled again. It rarely worked.
As her sleep issues worsened, she had domino-effect issues like increased meltdowns, depression, anxiety and eventually, at it’s worst, she experienced paranoia and hallucinations. I would point out that this would be the normal cycle for any typical person experiencing a lack of sleep, however…she was “sleeping” 12-14 hours a day, or so we thought.
As we researched her symptoms and eventually had a diagnosis, we realized that it’s very, very common for SPD kids to have sleep-related issues of all kinds. This may be a really significant piece of the puzzle for your family too. When your child isn’t going into deep REM sleep, they are unable to continue developing at a healthy rate. They are surviving, sure, but not really thriving.
Just so we’re clear, I don’t pretend to be a doctor, but I am a Mom who did a pile of research on behalf of my child. I hope this information will be of help to any parent trying to discover what’s going on with their child.
REM sleep is crucially important for brain development and function. In deep REM sleep, our brain recovers from the day, it processes & retains information that’s been learned, it restores itself naturally and expels brain waste…yes, that’s true! It does a whole host of other things too. By the same token, if REM sleep is not achieved daily, the opposite is true.
With the help of her Pediatrician, our Sensational-Miss is now taking Melatonin and has been doing very well in the sleep department. Melatonin is commonly-used for SPD children and adults. It’s a really good idea to check with your Ped or Doc for what dose would be best, as it’s rarely what is indicated on the packaging.
On a personal note, I would encourage any family who is feeling the effects of sleep loss to really do your homework, pursue a solution and make sure you’re getting your sleep. This was a major contributing factor to my own health…and I was the Mom. Mom’s don’t get a day off so this really has to be a priority.
Let’s face it – when you’re not sleeping…you get stressed, you get sick, you cry more, you feel out of control, you feel depressed, you feel, you feel, you feel…it’s a bad scene. This is what your child is going through continually when there are sleep issues present. Really important to deal with sleep issues effectively and as soon as you realize that it’s happening.
In our own family, we had a period of catch-up due to sleep loss. Catching up, not only in sleep, but in development. Due to lack of memory retention in our child, she actually had to catch up with her school work in order to be where she was supposed to be. Lots of hard work on our part from a homeschool standpoint. Really, really important.