Inbetween Seasons
Marathon Day (in a literal sense)

De-revving the Nighttime Motor

Crisp and cool fall night for biking

The change of seasons seems to have (1) wreaked some havoc into Charlie's sleep (he has been really struggling to get to sleep at night before midnight lately) and (2) instilled a need for furious exercise in him, especially in the form of madcap-fast runs down the street, me running as fast and steady as I can, and grateful I took up cross-country running in high school and have been running for exercise ever since.

Charlie also yowl-moans while tearing down the sidewalk. Many dogs have been barking in response.

Friday, he and Jim were out on a 12 mile ride on the local bike trail (cleared of debris post-Hurricane Irene) when I got home from work. After dinner and a really brief rest, Charlie was asking for a 'walk' and off we went -- and then, within seconds of stepping back inside, he asked for a bike ride. This was possible thanks to reflective vests and bike lights and the night was crisp and cool.

As on the previous several nights, Charlie was unable to settle down in his room. The clock was nearing 10 pm and I could hear him running back and forth in the upstairs hallway. I had a feeling he might ask for another walk but it was clearly late. And, recalling something I had read in a parenting magazine years ago -- before Charlie was diagnosed, possibly -- about getting kids to bed, I have been thinking, exercising right before bedtime is not automatically tiring or conducive to going to sleep. Indeed, it can rev a child up; there have been nights when, after a late walk, Charlie has been as energetic as ever. Time to start thinking about ways to soothe, relax, instill the peaceful-easy.

Charlie was listening to the same two or three Kinks and Beatles songs over and over and I knew he wouldn't want me interfering with his iPad. I started summoning positive energy about settling down for the evening rather than a crazy-fast run down the street. Charlie, after struggling to sleep before midnight this past week and aerobic exercise some hours before bedtime, was sitting on his bed watching a video. I flipped the switch to turn the hallway light off and went quietly downstairs. 

He called once, for a little snack, and then was stretched out with his big blue blanket and, around 11pm, asleep.

I think I'm building an argument for why we need to do away with changing back and forth between 'regular time' (coming soon later this month) and 'day lights saving time.' Enough changes already.

Comments

Louise

Avoiding exercise, and quietly reading or listening to calming music, is one of the first recommendations for helping the sleep-deprived get some rest. A carbohydrate-heavy meal is often supposed to help, and avoidance of all sugar and caffeine. (Charlie doesn't seem to demand a lot of sweets or caffeine.

Maybe a turkey wrap for the late-day meal? Tryptophan in turkey is rather soporific.

That's amusing for you ... the spell-checker on "tryptophan" suggests "Aristophanes" instead. How about reading him some of the Greek dramatists, or maybe some Catullus? The rhythm of the words might help him drift off into dreamland. Listening to books on my iPod always helps *me* get to sleep - it's like being read to again.

Kristina Chew

Thanks, Louise! Charlie takes melatonin and has for years -- it does seems to help. We'll have to consider trytophan too. He doesn't like turkey.

He's got a cold and we're thinking that some of the past few days' hyperactivity was a precursor of that.

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