We have the rule that he cannot leave his room before 6:30 am. This has actually stuck much to my relief. He used to get up at 3am and go downstairs and play on the computer. Since I locked the computer down and it won't let him access it before 6am that has died. (Microsoft provides this service/software free and is FANTASTIC!) But of course that means when he wakes, we are in close proximity to a wound up child who quickly gets bored. The result? No one sleeps.
The weird thing is you'd never know he was up so early. He's always so bright eyed and grinny while the rest of us drag through the day taking naps by midafternoon. I've never understood how that whole thing works. If he falls asleep and wakes up, he's fine all day. However, if he doesn't fall asleep before midnight because he has trouble falling asleep, he's one cranky terror all day. He could get the same amount of sleep or less sleep in the first scenario, and it would still work like this.
I'll admit, there are nights that I am so worn out from several of these nights in a row that I don't even wake up for him. He may sneak in with me or he may stay in his room. The blessing is, he doesn't go downstairs. It may be the ONLY rule in the house he doesn't break. I'd swear it's the only one he actually knows how to apply to himself. What does he do during those long dark hours? Who knows. Mostly read. I always find books scattered across the floor. He also has his dvd player up there although I'm not sure he actually plays it. He really does his best to stay quiet so his mommy can sleep.
However, it seems that the more often this occurs, the more likely it is that he will sit on the bed and chat. I don't know what he's talking about most of the time and I admit I mostly just grunt and make noise to acknowledge what he's saying without knowing what it is he is saying. Trust me, it isn't easy to process Alexese when you are barely awake and your brain is not running up to speed.
After all, it is 3 am.
I do give him melatonin. This has been a BLESSING. He gets a pretty decent sized dose but it's my only defense to get him to sleep. It's a well known fact that Autistics lack melatonin. There is even a new study out there that suggests mothers of Autistics actually have reduced levels themselves and there could be a genetic link (hmm....). I believe it. Thousands of parents with ASD kiddos have discovered this lovely little white pill to help their children sleep. And it really makes the difference between good days and bad days and really really bad days. I honestly don't know where I'd be without it. However....... While it helps them get to sleep (usually within a half hour) it does NOT help keep them asleep. That's where our trouble is.
I keep telling myself that someday he'll sleep. Someday. It's like when you have a baby and they wake every 4 hours. Someday, they sleep through the night and it is the best night of your life.