Sleep is always an elusive beast for parents as it is, but when you throw in details such as Autism, the fact that there’s more than one child sharing the bedroom, a really crazy big work load and a wife with Fibromyalgia… sleep can be near impossible to come by.
My boys are 5 and 2, my 5 year old (Cameron) being the one with Autism. For the most part, neither of them really have much difficulty sleeping, it’s just the getting to sleep part that can be a little rough. If either of them isn’t sleepy, or has something on their mind (which is a very definite possibility with Autism), they’ll just stay awake and keep the other one awake with them. And if one of them should have bad dreams or just wake up randomly in the middle of the night, they both wake up… and I have to get up.
Then there’s Natalie (my wife) who has Fibromyalgia and is very much unable to sleep most nights… either due to pain or simple discomfort that keeps her limbs moving all night long. I am usually able to sleep through it myself but I don’t get as restful of a sleep as I would otherwise.
I work way to much as it is, but for the last month, I had worked 17 hours per day for 3 weeks straight, including week-ends. This meant that I was usually going to bed around 3am and then getting up at 6 or 7 with my boys.
The only way that myself and even my wife can handle this sort of thing is to sleep in shifts. I tend to be up with my boys early in the morning but she has to get up as well to help get everything ready for school. Most of the time though, she’ll go to bed at 8am and sleep until 9:30, when I go to work. Then I work until 3am.
Come the week-end however, I get up with the boys still while Natalie can sleep in until what ever time she chooses. But when she gets up, I go back to bed to catch up on what I missed through the week.
It’s certainly not ideal, and I would love a full 8 hours sleep but after a few years, I’m not entirely sure I could keep myself knocked out for that long anyhow. So it is what it is… we sleep in shifts.
With Autism, Fibromyalgia, a crazy work load and 2 boys waking or keeping each other awake… it’s the system we’ve had to become accustomed to.