Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sleep - It's a Good Thing

From here
Sleep, it's a huge issue in our home. Kids don't get it so neither do the parents. I remember hearing parents gripe about a kid not sleeping well. You hear stories of "one more glass of water", "a few more pages, Daddy" and the like and you smile. You laugh inside knowing it's a part of growing up.

Yeah, that's not what I mean at all.

Picture a child so anxious about night time that he will beg, plead, and beg more to not sleep alone. Imagine a child so revved up that he runs for hours in his room until he finally slows down at 1am, napping for an hour or two (and I do mean light sleep), waking up, stimming some more, going back to sleep lightly for two hours, and continuing like this until one time he wakes up, sees sunlight outside, and is out of his room at 6am.

I mean sleep issues!

There are ways to help these issues. The problem is, many people want a one size fits all approach. I honestly have people ask me all the time, "what are you using for him and tell me the exact dose".

Here's the issue with that. 1) How big is your child compared to mine? If mine is 65lbs and your child is 32, that's a huge difference in weight and what my child can take might harm your child. 2) What are your child's reasons for not sleeping? What is causing my child to stay awake might not be what causes your child not to sleep. Did you know the reason my older son doesn't sleep is very different than why our younger son doesn't sleep? Same result, different mechanisms in the body.

Instead, I tell the person to call our doctor, or give them the names of other similar doctors who can help them figure out what's going on in their little one's body.

Having said that, this post is to also share our newest possible success in the sleep realm. Our younger son has a lot of anxiety tied to bedtime. Who am I kidding? He has a lot of anxiety tied to life in general. Our doctor has figured out a lot of the reasons why and we are starting new protocols slowly. We have only started two items and one is something we have used before but his body is deficient so he's on it again. When we start supplements, I always start one at a time. This let's me know what's working, what he might react to, and what he might be having an odd side effect with so I can tell the doctor.

Here's what we have so far:

  • Massage - At least once a day, moving up to twice a day, I massage our son's back, calves, and feet. I use Ava Anderson's Dream Cream with two drops of Lavender essential oil mixed in. He loves it. He has always loved massages. If I only do it once during the day, I make sure that one time is after supper. If I do it twice (which we are moving to) then I do it in the morning after breakfast but before school and then before bedtime. I take my time and allow his muscles the time they need to really relax. I start on the shoulder area of the back so he will start to breath in the oils and that will help relax. 
  • L-Glutamine - Our doctor has us giving him 2,500 mg of L-Glutamine from Klaire Labs even evening before bed. I give it to him after his massage and just before he brushes his teeth. We use the powered form and put it in some pear juice (just enough for the powder to fully dissolve as there is no taste to the supplement). 
We have other items we will be adding, but this is where we are since meeting with our doctor. Here is what we have seen so far:
  • A child who is calmer and more able to move through stressful situations. 
  • Monday - it took our son 2 1/2 hours to fall asleep with quite a bit of anxiety and being in his room. 
  • Tuesday - it took our son 1 hour 16 minutes to fall asleep in his room with my aid and medium levels of anxiety (reading stories, singing a lot of gospel songs, praying with him, etc).
  • Wednesday - it took him 40 minutes to fall asleep in our room with no anxiety. 
  • Thursday - he woke up and came to me asking if tonight he could sleep in his own room with me helping him a bit with a story and song. He said he thinks he's ready to move in there now. 
Why this is big: He has always had so much anxiety with sleep that even suggesting he sleep in his room would throw him into a massive panic that was honestly fear based. For him to come to us and ask to sleep in his own room is a huge, huge step. He also takes a very long time to fall asleep, even if we lay down with him. The fastest way to get him to sleep is for us to be in there, but even that is a long journey. For him to fall asleep in 40 minutes, that's a big deal. 

Our son, who has had sleep issues since he was a week old, is starting to sleep. I pray this is his answer. God lead us to an awesome doctor who is, what I would classify as brilliant. He saw our two kids issues and knew how to help. He said what we were doing for our younger son would happen quickly and I was afraid to have hope. I am starting to let go of that fear and see the hope that is out there. 

If you are a parent and feel like giving up, or have given up, don't. There is hope. It might not happen overnight. We have been trying for sleep for 7 1/2 years. But it can happen. Pray hard, seek His face, and look for doctors who will listen and know what to do once they understand your child's issues. 

If you need a place to start in finding doctors, let me suggest the two websites below. You can find one closer to you. You might have to drive a bit, but ask about phone and Skype appointments. Many will do that for those who aren't local.

Defeat Autism Now - don't let the name fool you. They are biomed doctors and can help much, much more than Autism. 

MAPS - the newer and very up-to-date people out there. 

Stand strong, parents. You can win this war. 

*Most of the links in this post are not affiliate links. The only one that I am affiliated with is the link to Ava Anderson. I receive nothing if you click the link, only if you make a purchase. You will not pay more for the item, but I do receive commission on anything purchased. 


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