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Sleeping Habits In College

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Casual scribe

Sleeping Habits In College

I'm at a loss as to handle this situation. My son, who is on the spectrum, stays up too late and sleeps through his college classes. He is attending college in a different state.

He genuinely wants to go, but he is having a very difficult time managing his sleep habits, which leads to anxiety, low self-esteem, and completely shutting down.

Does anyone have any suggestions or tips that might help?

Active scribe

Re: Sleeping Habits In College

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Hey @Rigbert,

Welcome to the Reach Out forums, 

What you’ve described sounds like a very tricky situation for both yourself and your son. It sounds as though he wants to succeed in class but is having trouble prioritising his sleep which is then impacting on his attendance and study. It's great that you have reached out here for some support. 

It might be a good idea to get your son to speak with a doctor. If your son is struggling to fall asleep a doctor might be able to recommend some strategies to help your son maintain better sleep hygiene. The doctor would also be able to provide support around anxiety. 

It could also be helpful for your son to create a schedule/routine for themselves with a visual calendar. On the nights before they have class they could schedule in an hour of reading or something light before bed, as opposed to something more intense like video games. This could help him wind down before sleep. He might also want to find a way to reward himself for going to class, like buying himself a coffee during class or lunch afterwards.

There is some great advice on the following webpage around sleep and adults on the spectrum:

Did your son mention what has been keeping him up late? whether it was video games, anxiety or something else?

Thank again for reaching out Smiley Happy

Casual scribe

Re: Sleeping Habits In College

Thank you so much for your reply. You are correct when you stated that it sounds like he wants to succeed in college but doesn’t prioritize sleep and isn’t making good decisions about when to go to bed.

He has always had sleep issues. He doesn’t recognize when he is tired and that he needs to go to sleep.

Another reason, which stems from wanting to be accepted and have friends, is that he doesn’t want to be the first one to leave a hangout or miss out on anything with his friends. In high school, he didn’t go out on school nights and I would remind him to go to bed. Now it is out of control.
Prolific scribe

Re: Sleeping Habits In College

Hi @Rigbert and thank you for getting back to us. I'm sorry to hear that you're in this situation, it sounds incredibly stressful. I can hear how much care and love you have for your son and want to say just how lucky he is to have you in his life.


It can be really hard knowing that your child has always had troubles with sleep and I imagine that's only made worse by being so far away from him. I wonder if he might be interested in creating and working towards a new routine? Do you think this might be something he might try?


I am mindful of the impact this might be having on you and wonder what supports you have around yourself right now. Is there someone that you might feel comfortable talking to about this?


We're all here for you.