Home » Autism » The Gnashing of Teeth

The Gnashing of Teeth

Little Man still gets in our bed probably five nights out of seven. He starts in his bed, but somewhere around 2 or 3am, my door will creak open, and I’ll wake up to the sound of his soft steps across the wood floor.  He always comes to my side of the bed, crawling up at the foot and feeling his way between me and Spouse. If there’s a dog in the way, he will move her, and then snuggles down under the covers, falling to his deepest sleep around 4am.

Some nights, I sleep through his maneuvers, and just wake up to him kicking, flopping, punching, or yelling, the covers pulled completely off of me. Most nights he comes into our bed, my sleep is soundly disturbed until he hits that 4am sound sleep. Kinda hard to not be awakened when you fear a punch to the face at any moment, or a kick in the back, or a scream in your ear.  His bad nights are really bad.  But even if he’s in his room on his bad nights, he still manages to keep me awake.

The other night, he was flopping around our bed. It was 1:30am.  I was exhausted, frustrated at what I knew was going to be a long night. And then I heard a sound I’ve never heard from him before. It was awful. It crawled up my spine, into my jaw, and speared into my brain.  I couldn’t figure out what it was, so I rolled over, trying to see in the dark, and without my contacts in. I put my hand on his chest, his arms, his legs, his tummy, and finally on his face. He was, quite literally, gnashing his teeth. Oh. My. God. It was the most awful sound I’ve ever heard in my life. It made my teeth hurt as if I were the one doing the gnashing. Side note – isn’t gnashing a cool word?

He’s done it twice since that night. And once he starts it up, it will go the rest of the night until he gets to that really good, deep sleep.  We started being more diligent in sending him back to his bed, but he’s typically back in our room within 30 minutes.  I tap his face, try to roll him over, anything to make him stop making that sound.  It’s hideous, and I can’t imagine what it’s doing to his teeth and jaw. It also stresses me out to think of what’s bothering him so much during the day he has to spend half the night grinding his teeth away.

12 thoughts on “The Gnashing of Teeth

  1. Yes, you can get a mouth guard for that. It is pretty consistent with high anxiety. Yes, I think you should make any effort to get him back in his bed (he is not getting any smaller.) Have you considered meds? Poor dude must be exhausted. 😦

    • We’ve used melatonin for years. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. He also has a weighted blanket, essential oils, and a consistent bedtime routine. Working on a mouth guard. 👍

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