Thanks for all of the suggestions and support! I was finally able to talk to my son’s new pediatrician and now have a direct phone number for her!!! I can call her and leave a message and she personally will call me back. I’m so grateful for that! I had felt like I was just floundering around before not knowing what to do. She was hesitant to go straight to something like Clonidine at this point and wants to work on behavioural strategies and reducing stress first before we go there. She really seems to know her stuff, so I think she will work with us to make sure we are doing what’s best for my son, so I’m glad we have found her.
We do have lot’s of structure in our bedtime routine, same time every day (even weekends), same basic routine (bath is occasional because he usually doesn’t want one), same wake up time even on bad nights. There is always room for improvement, so I’m going to go through all of your suggestions. We try to limit screens after bedtime. Dimming lights is a little difficult in our house. My husband and I take turns on the bedtime routine, though my son prefers me and seems to get a bit more ramped up when its dad’s turn, he’ll often refuse to let dad even read books. (This has been a huge source of stress in our house for many years. In order to reduce stress lately, I’ve been doing bedtime more often now, which can be tiring for me, but I’m not getting any rest if he’s not sleeping anyway. The nice thing is that once my son is asleep, he usually stays asleep (except to go to the bathroom). Its mostly just the falling asleep that’s the problem. At times, we will be reading books and he will seem sleepy and even at times turn his back and let us know that we can go, that he wants to go to sleep. Minutes later, he’s bouncing off the walls. Its like he’s resisting sleep or suddenly panics that he won’t be able to sleep.
There are just so many different complexities that combine make things difficult. My son has always been a picky eater (there has been some suggestion that he may also have a sensory processing disorder) and of course the medication interferes with appetite, so he often doesn’t eat much during dinnertime (and ashamed to say, it doesn’t end up being the most healthy options either, yet another thing that causes stress). We try to have snack before bed, but he often ends up hungry late at night. So that probably adds to poor sleep. We’ve tried to stay more firm on this lately and in particular pick snacks that don’t have as much sugar.
Anyway, I really appreciate all of your suggestions and I’m going to go through them in detail and see where we might be able to put some new strategies in place. I just wish there was an easy fix (as I’m sure everyone does).