Skip to content
August 12, 2010 / paperkids


     Our kids have major SLEEP ISSUES!!!  As probably any parent of a child with autism will tell you,  sleep (or lack thereof) can be a HUGE problem in our kids’ lives.    I really wanted to talk about it on here, but, really I think that what I feel like sharing even more, is how this whole dialogue with Emma has given me more and more of the big three:  faith, hope and love.  

I decided to share this story because Emma has been “telling” me when she’s tired, and sometimes, when I don’t even ask.   I suppose she has also been aware of how  all those sleepless nights have effected her life.  So now, here she is, spelling it out for me.   Sometimes I just hold the paper keyboard up and she will reach out and  spell  I am tired at bedtime.   Recently, we had this conversation:


Emma:  I am tired

Me: “You are?”

Emma:  I used to be up all night

Me:  “I know.  Do you remember that one week that was so bad when we first moved here.  Was it because you couldn’t sleep?

Emma:  Yes

Emma has pretty much always had sleeplessness, even when she was a baby.  At two and three she would be wide awake in her room, many times laughing, for hours on end.  And for those who may not know, my son, Hayden (almost 5) also has autism, diagnosed at around 15 months old.  He has had the same sleep problems and many nights has been up for hours, if not the whole night.

When she was about six, Emma went through this horrific week of no sleep, where she was up ALL night!    Many parents I know  can relate.  At first we didn’t realize that she wasn’t sleeping and it was Jared who finally figured it out and said we needed to give her something for it.   That week was a nightmare.  She had deep circles under her eyes and her tantrums were so bad that I had to keep her home from school.  Why, oh, why didn’t I try melatonin much earlier?  Again, I can’t begin to count all the woulda-coulda-shouldas over the last nine years.  We finally gave her some melatonin and it worked great.  I guess I’ve always been one of these hesitant parents – hesitant to give my kids anything.  And Emma doesn’t swallow pills and won’t take anything unless you hide it in something.  And she’s good about sniffing things out let me tell you!  But she likes the chewable melatonin now.

FYI, Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone.  According to some studies,  children with autism show to have lower levels of their own body’s melatonin.  And melatonin is actually a pre-cursor to serotonin.  Anyway, I guess you could go really deep with the info ( and bogged down) .  But it worked for us and we’ve used it for both kids ever since.  But just like lots of others things, it doesn’t work for every child.  This spectrum of autism is a rainbow of individuality. 

And even with the melatonin, the kids are still up periodically for long periods of time.  I think Emma might be up at least once a night and sometimes ALL night  from time to time. 

Our conversation the  other morning is the reason why I said that this post isn’t really just about sleep issues, but another moment of enlightenment for yours truly…..  Emma had stayed in bed forever ( girl after my own heart) and I finally had to drag her out.  We sat on the couch and  I held up the keyboard and she started to spell:

Emma:  I am so tired

Me:  “Were you up last night?”

Emma:  No

Me:  “How did you sleep?”

Emma:  Really good

Me:  “Why do you think you slept so good?”

Emma:  Prayer

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what she said.  Some things just really take you back and stay with you a while.  I felt like in that one word, prayer, was an answer – maybe the answer – to all the questions that have plaqued me and problems we’ve faced over the years.   It really feels like God’s been beating me over the head to say “rest in Me”.    That word rest is appropriate.    I feel like I’ve been exhausted with anxiety and unable to sleep myself for a long time now.   The weight of it all has held me down for so long. I have said so often,”no one is going to help these kids if I don’t?!”     I feel that God is trying to tell me “I have, I will, I AM“.   That He really does have us covered.  Can I accept that?!!   Do I really believe it enough to trust and let go?   Some times are harder than others.  Some days are  hard for our whole family – ups and downs.   I think I’m starting to let go a little more and more  in realizing that I didn’t do this for Emma.   That is a truth I just know in my heart.   And God’s  message through her is powerful to me – life changing.  


Leave a Comment
  1. Lynn States / Aug 12 2010 2:54 pm

    I have no words; just tears of joy. Thank you, Lord, for your mercy and truth.

  2. Christine / Aug 12 2010 6:53 pm

    I love your blog so much. Thank you so much for sharing. Love and hugs to you all 🙂 Christine

    • smurphy3 / Aug 12 2010 8:18 pm

      Love and hugs to you too, girl!

  3. Lisa Flaherty / Aug 12 2010 7:38 pm

    Sabra, this post, your blog, has left me breathless! Thanks to you and to Emma for sharing so much of you with us. Hugs, Hugs, HUGS!!!

    • smurphy3 / Aug 12 2010 8:08 pm

      Thanks so much, Lisa. It’s been really great sharing it!

  4. tonya / Aug 13 2010 2:05 am

    Emma, your words, flowing from your heart through your fingertips are beautiful and powerful. Thank you for sharing. Prayer is the answer and you have discovered this at a young age —- it took me much longer. You see, I’m your mom’s age and I’ve prayed and prayed and rushed around in great haste. God spoike to me one day when I had been praying and praising. His words: Be still and know that I am God. So, I’ve been trying to do just that.

    • smurphy3 / Aug 13 2010 2:43 am

      Beautiful Tonya! I just read this to Emma. I never get enough of hearing how God speaks to us. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Grandma / Aug 13 2010 2:26 am


  6. Molly / Aug 13 2010 4:02 pm

    Well written Sabra, your heart’s are shinning through!

  7. Karen Chappell / Aug 21 2010 3:16 pm

    So loving your blog!! Thankful for the insight and hope! This really hits home…..we have lots of sleep issues and love melatonin. I found it late too and it does not always work but it is a huge help!! Thinking of you guys!

    🙂 Karen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: