Grace, Sleep and Circadin

Grace, Sleep and Circadin

When Grace was a baby, we were very lucky that she was such a good sleeper. Our issues came at around one years of age – she would be up later, more energy in the evenings and waking up with night terrors. It never seemed an issue, we thought that she would just grow out of it.

The night terrors were the ‘big thing’ that concerned us. The hysterical crying and screaming that couldn’t be calmed – they’d go on for at least half an hour. We’d just have to hold and rock Grace while she went through them, while watching her favourite TV programme ‘Oliver’.

Around the age of 2, we found that the lack of sleep was becoming more of an issue for Grace (and us) she would be up from around 6am and not go to sleep at night until around 11pm or sometimes even later. She didn’t nap during the day either.

It very quickly went from this, to waking up at 3am and then being up for the whole day – everyone’s sleep pattern was a mess, Grace would have terrible meltdowns due to tiredness and our work/school life was suffering. We were all really struggling with the sleep issues, Nick was getting up with her in the night, then we’d swap – but we were all very sleep deprived.

This all went on for around 8 months before Grace was assessed for ASD, and we were very lucky that when the assessment day came,  we discussed our concerns with her Paediatrician and she prescribed Circadin – a form of Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in your body. It helps control your sleep patterns. It is found that children with ASD can produce less of this hormone, and therefore have issues with sleeping.

At first, we were extremely reluctant to medicate Grace – the thought of giving her some form of sleeping tablet almost felt cruel, Nick especially felt bad about it. As much as we didn't want to medicate Grace, we were desperate, it felt like the only way. Getting a decent nights sleep was such a huge relief. We decided to give It a go, and the first night was like a huge breath of relief. She had the tablet at 6:30pm, by 7:30pm she was asleep, and had the most restful sleep until 7am then next morning. It done her the world of good, she was happy and well rested.

Grace has been on Circadin almost a year now, and the only side affects we have noticed are night sweats – for around 2 hours after taking the medication, she can be quite sweaty. Other than this, the medication has been amazing and we are super grateful for it to be prescribed – it has really helped Grace develop, she is able to focus more on learning and is retaining so much more. We still have a few nights where Grace has been up and ready to go from 2am, but they are so few and far between now.

Of course, in a year a lot changes. Grace has grown a LOT, therefore the medication is starting to lose it’s effect. This is something that will have to be monitored by the Paediatrician, and there will be some weeks where she will be off the tablets (we dread this) as her body can get too used to it.

All in all, we have found Circadin to be an absolute lifesaver. Not only has it helped Grace (and us) to sleep and get into some form of normal sleeping pattern, but in turn has also helped Grace’s development, which is such a huge achievement.

We hope this helps other people on their journey on making the decision to use Melatonin in the future.

 

Amy & Nick

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