Restless leg syndrome?

I had the pleasure of sharing a bed with Beth the other night. She just can’t keep still. She was lying down and tossing from one side to the other, legs flailing. I used to think that it was like she would do everything in her power to make sure that she doesn’t go to sleep.

We’ve always had problems with her sleeping. It was as if as soon as she was in a bed it meant that she didn’t have to stay in it. She’d been a good little sleeper when in the cot and still had her afternoon naps. Sometimes she would just lie there during the day without having a sleep but it still meant that I could have some good quality mummy time while she rested. Once she went into a bed it was all over. She’s been a nightmare to get to sleep ever since.

We put Beth into a bed at about 2 1/2. We wanted to do this before Bill was born as I didn’t want her being  jealous when he went into ‘her’ cot. It wouldn’t have mattered in the end cos we got Bill a new cot anyway. We tried everything to keep her in bed. We watched countless episodes of Super Nanny who made it look so easy. We would take it in turns to sit next to her bed, reading to her or just sitting there. We’d try moving the bed bit by bit every night until it would be at the doorway to the lounge. It didn’t make any difference, it wasn’t that she went to sleep when we stayed there, she’d just be wide awake and moving around all the time.

Sometimes we hit on something that seemed to work. Once I can remember giving her massages for about 15 minutes which lulled her to sleep. This worked a couple of times but then she got wise to it and fought to stay awake. The only purpose that this served was that now she expected a massage every night when she went to bed! Eventually we ended up moving Beth into our room so that we could just go to bed and sleep. She was ok if we were there. Sometimes we took it in turns to sleep in her bed and she’d be in between us in one side of our bed. Then we got a king sized bed so she just slept in the middle.

When I found out I was pregnant with Bridie we decided that enough was enough so we bought Beth a double bed. That way we could lie down next to her and fall asleep if we had to and it didn’t matter. I always hoped as she got older and learnt to read that Beth would be able to entertain herself. It didn’t necessarily matter if she was awake as long as she stayed in bed. To a large degree that has happened but it doesn’t mean that we can go to bed when she’s awake.  She loves reading books to herself and listening to music. She’s also got a tv in her room that depending what’s on we let her watch. I know that tvs in bedrooms are not meant to be a good thing but hey, whatever gets you through the night is my motto. Still to this day we take it in turns, one goes to bed and the other stays up until Beth is asleep.

There are lots of times when my sixth sense kicks in and I go in and find Beth doing something that she shouldn’t. Sometimes she’ll be under her bed or curled up in Minka’s dog bed that she’s snuck in there. Lately she’s been climbing out of the window and gathering rocks for her rock collection. They are just outside the window so she doesn’t have to go far but I still don’t want her doing it. During my shoe party last Thursday I heard her out there, she had a bloody huge piece of concrete that she couldn’t fit back through the window! I went right off. Obviously she knew I was distracted with other things so why not give it a try! Luckily Minka usually barks at these times to warn us that Beth is being Beth.

After sleeping with her the other night I made up some aromatherapy oil to rub on her legs and her back. They say that if you put certain oils on peoples feet it grounds them or settles them down so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve used it before with varying degrees of success. She did go to sleep nice and early and last night seemed a bit calmer too although still awake until 11pm.

I went to the doctors yesterday and asked him about Restless Leg Syndrome and he told me that it’s not common in kids but that some do get it. He said that in adults they give them Parkinsons medicine which of course I wouldn’t want to try. It can be related to diet and is sometimes linked to ADD or ADHD. There was no link to autism on the site that I looked at when I got home but of course not everything has to be related to the fact that she’s autistic. It does confirm to me that our next step is to see an allergist. We need to know what Beth’s allergic to and what she can’t tolerate. If her sleeping still isn’t any better after that we can request to go to a sleep clinic and see if she really does have a problem.

We’re off back to flaxseed guy tomorrow and then on to Sensational Kids so one of our busy days again. I’ll let you know how we go. xxx

About Sarah

Mother of an autistic child wanting to write about my personal experiences
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4 Responses to Restless leg syndrome?

  1. Renee says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Just reading your blog. I have a soon to be 3 year old son who has autism. When I read your blog about restless leg syndrome I wanted to offer you a possible reason for it. My doctor is wonderful and regularly tests my son’s vitamin levels. At times his magnesium is low. As soon as we get stuck into some epsom salt baths and rub some magnesium oil on his legs his levels return to normal and he stops trying to push his legs onto me or other objects, sleeps a lot more solidly and is generally a lot more relaxed.

    My son struggles to absorb vitamins due to his digestive issues (has recovered a lot on a diet aimed to heal his digestive system). He does however, absorb vitamins very well transdermally (skin). You can buy epsom salts at your local supermarket and just dissolve a cup in a warm bath before bed.

    I purchased my magnesium oil from an online store called ‘EchoLife’. This oil is magnesium chloride and according to many experts is the most readily absorbed. Many children with autism are deficient in magnesium, vitamin A, zinc and some B vitamins.

    All the best, Renee.

  2. Sarah says:

    Thanks Renee, I really appreciate your input, and the fact that you are reading my blog! We’ve nearly finished with the metals and viral detoxing so will ask Richard Malter today about magnesium. Our next step is to see a Dan practitioner who is an allergist. A friend has taken her son to see him and the tests show up exactly what the kids are allergic to as well as intolerant of. They also show what they are lacking in and then a compound is made up that incorporates everything. She has had great success with her son. I’ll ask him about the magnesium too. Hopefully it wont be too long until we can get in to see him.
    Thanks for reading
    Sarah x

  3. Amy says:

    I believe my son(11) who has ASD has RLS as well and I don’t think the two are related. We have to sleep with him ever night to help him fall asleep. He pushes his legs back and forth under mine or kicking them so much the comforter comes off the bad, and shaking them. I called his Pedi yesterday and she said that she will perscribe medication for him to see if it would help but asked her to order a blood test first to check his iron and other vitamin deficiencies which can correct the problem. I am going to look into the magnesium oil that Renee mentioned. I enjoyed the blog and information.


  4. Sarah says:

    hi Amy, thanks for writing. I’m not really sure if Beth has RLS or not or if she’s just a really fidgety girl. I don’t have her kicking me in the night like your son does, I just get her moving around a lot when she’s awake, trying not to fall asleep really. Let me know how you go with the magnesium, I’d be interested to hear. Thanks for reading! Cheers, Sarah

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