Having a child with an erratic sleep pattern is a long cause of stress in our lives. His problem here is night waking, in which a couple of hours after he does fall asleep, he wakes up babbling. He does not leave his bedroom or cry out in distress but continues the monologue of whatever show is happening in his head.
The longer this happens the more we hear people ask if he's on medication. He's not on anything, he's twelve and I'm reluctant to put a child going through puberty on barbiturates. We have tried melotonin, even though the opinions of so called experts differ. When he takes melotonin, he falls asleep quicker, say at 10PM but wakes up about four hours later. At his mother's house, he does not fall asleep until much later, say about 1AM, but he sleeps though the night afterwards.
So what is the trade off?
The past two nights we did not give him any melotonin. Friday he fell asleep at about 10:30. and as far as we know did not wake up in the night. I woke him around 8AM and he was still trying to go back to sleep after he ate his breakfast.
Last night he did not fall asleep until about 11:30 and my wife heard him talking to himself briefly around 3:30. Then he woke himself up just after 7AM.
Two nights is not enough to make an assessment, and my son is certainly not giving his opinion or reasons for his sleep difficulties. Every night is different with little consistency. It's another one of the many challenges parents of autistic children can face, every day.