We are currently running a sleep appeal. Has your child ever had problems sleeping? Here’s Sarah’s story.
Florence has autism and sensory processing disorder. For five years Florence wouldn’t sleep alone, meaning Sarah and her husband slept in separate beds so one of them could be with her.
Florence always had sleep problems but they became worse as she grew older. My husband Nick and I had to sleep separately to guarantee some sleep for at least one of us. We had to stay in separate rooms because Nick was getting up at 6am to go to work and didn’t get back home until 8.30pm.
It was important from a family perspective that he at least got sleep on some nights so he could function at work. I could sleep when Florence was in pre-school, then Nick would take over at the weekends or nights when his next day was not so busy. We lived very strange lives.
We tried Florence sleeping in with her sister Isabella, because we thought she was scared to be on her own, but she still wanted us to stay with her until she went to sleep. She’d get off to sleep at 10.30pm and then be up again at 11.30pm. When she woke, she would be wide awake immediately and say she was bored.
The toll of no sleep
It was difficult being in separate rooms because Nick is my true love. But part of Flo’s autism is her desire for routine and giving her that routine, at least, helped in some ways. However, because you’re under par having not slept, you have irrational thoughts all the time.
Because Nick and I were not sharing the same bed, I started to feel insecure about our relationship. If we weren’t the couple that we were it could have split us up. Fortunately our relationship is, and always has been, rock solid and it remains so.
Discovering Sleep Solutions
I heard about Scope’s Sleep Solutions from a friend. I went to a workshop. It was ground-breaking for me, absolutely ground-breaking. Nick and I hadn’t had a night out in four years because we couldn’t get a babysitter that Flo would accept. We thought there was no end to it.
I came away from the Sleep Solutions workshop excited and empowered, and it wasn’t just me. I came home and shared everything I’d learned with Nick and we put it straight to work. The results were incredible.
Family life now
All of our lives have changed completely since this happened in June 2014. Florence sleeps well regularly and we still can’t believe it. I think I have just about caught up on my sleep after five years.
I don’t have bags under my eyes anymore. I have energy again and I feel like I’ve got fun in my life. I can spend time with my kids without being tired all the time. Family life is much better; Isabella can spend time on her own and Florence is much nicer to Isabella because she isn’t so tired all the time.
On last year’s summer holiday Nick and I spent every night of the two weeks in our own bed, with the girls in their room – that had never happened before!
Sarah is the face of our sleep appeal this summer.
Please donate to our sleep appeal so that more families of disabled children can get the support they need.