Our Kimball has a tendency to stress out about things that are difficult for him. (Anxiety is a real problem for many kids with Asperger's Syndrome.) One of those things is falling back to sleep when he awakens in the night. At one point we gave him permission to turn on the lights and read when he awoke in the night, but that led to him being awake and reading complete novels between 3am and 7am. So we try to discourage that these days.
A couple of nights ago he came into our room in a panic because he said he had been awake for an hour. It's possible that he had really been awake that long and also possible that he had drifted off and awoken again-- either way he was stressed out and afraid that he wouldn't be able to get back to sleep.
After holding him close and breathing together until I could feel his heart rate slowing down to a more sleep-conducive speed, I made a few suggestions. One, my dad's old standby when we couldn't sleep: "Read the Old Testament. I like Leviticus for insomnia.":) I assured him that it would have quite a different effect than Percy Jackson books did in the middle of the night.
My second suggestion was that he try counting sheep. I explained that he should close his eyes and relax and imagine sheep jumping over a fence. He should count each one until he fell asleep.
The next morning, I asked him if he'd been able to fall back to sleep.
"I did," he replied, "but the counting sheep didn't work out so well."
"Why is that?" I queried, figuring that if he'd fallen asleep, it had worked out great.
"I kept having problems with three or four sheep jumping the fence at the same time and it made them hard to count!"
How do you deal with insomnia yourself, or with your kids? Please share!
Cartoon used with permission from this site.