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Thread: Sleep Issues.

  1. #1

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    Default Sleep Issues.

    DS (6) has always had sleep issues. When he was a baby I gave up the fight and we just bed shared. It was what worked at the time. He slept better and so did I. Everyone said I was "creating a rod for my own back", meh, different strokes and all that.

    DS has never left my bed. We tried once or twice (okay more) but it never worked. He would end up completely distressed and so would I. I have no support at night btw, so in my bed he has stayed. THIS IS NOT THE ISSUE. (Just thought I better clarify that ) I am of the opinion that when he feels safe and ready he will move into his own bed of his own accord without me distressing both of us.

    He has some separation issues. I know this. I've known this for quite some time. School has amplified this. Don't get me wrong he is fine to go to school in the morning, will run off and play happily. Is very social, and when with his daddy on daddy weekends copes fine without me. But afternoons with me, night times, weekends are a whole different ball game. Again I can live with this.

    Our issue is the two plus hours it takes him to get to sleep. I'm happy for him to sleep in my bed, if he will just go to sleep!! He won't though. I've tried laying with him, he will just try to get me to engage or keep on talking. Oh the talking! I've tried ignoring him (due to the above this leave us in melt down mode from which there is no return and we should just give up), I've tried routine, routine, routine. Quiet time. Reading actual novels in bed (both with and without pictures). Movies in bed. I've tried reward charts, he gets sad that he won't get the reward but he just keeps on going. Sometimes I will fall asleep before he does Im so exhausted. His behaviour is lacking severely because of this lack of sleep, he would gladly sleep in if I let him. I'm sure we have tried other things as well. He gets up multiple times, never to go to the toilet, just to talk to me (doesn't matter if I ignore him or put him back to bed he keeps on going). Over and over and over.

    I'm at the end of my tether. What else can we do?



    I am about to buy a mediation book by Maureen Garth and give that a try. What else is there? I don't know what else to do. Its a fight, every. single. night. :'( Has anyone else tried mediation with their bad sleepers? Has it helped?

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    What are the hours before bed like for him? Say between 4 and bedtime... what does he eat, what games does he play, what time does he go to bed??

    You can PM the reply if you like. I work with children and families with sleep challenges... happy to share a few tips.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    Dinner time conversation. Let him say everything before bedtime. I find this really helpful to stop the bedtime "oh, and another thing..." sort of conversations.

    I don't know if you have any faith or not, but "talking to God" helps us. So Liebs says prayers before bed, and when I go, he can talk to God. OK, it means that sometimes he's up past my bedtime, but it means that usually he goes to sleep.

    He also has the coolest bed in the house, so doesn't want to sleep in mine any more. Before he got that bed, he'd be in our bed as often as he could be.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    This won't help at all but....

    I am firmly of the opinion that some people's sleep patterns are just plain weird (aka not normal and totally off balance) and there is nothing we can do to change them. I have tried daytime sleeps, no daytime sleeps, earlier bedtime, later bedtime, midnight snacks, singing, elimination diet, reading stories, gro-clock, shut door, open door, lights on, lights off, extra food before bed, no food before bed, hot bath before bed, relaxing music, tv, no tv, laying next to him in his bed, letting him sleep in my bed, threatening mum, understanding mum, angry mum, sad mum, sleep-deprived slightly hysterical mum..... the list goes on.

    My sweet, wonderful, amazing little person will sleep when he's tired and not at any other time. FWIW his father is exactly the same - something he should have mentioned before we had a child!!

    Good luck hun. Just know that you are not alone (although sometimes it feels like it) and you will get through this.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    Sounds like you've already tried a lot of stuff!
    Have you looked at diet at all? Sometimes kids have sensitivities and they just get *wired* so they can't sleep. Screen time in the afternoon/evening can also have this effect.

    I think it's great that you're doing what you can to make him feel safe and secure. It obviously helps him to be with you.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    I like Cass72 think some peoples sleep patterns are just different.

    I haven't had a really bad sleeper but I have used "Christiane kerr bedtime meditations" which are bedtime meditations for kids and they are nice to listen to and seem to help them relax. Sometimes if DD happens to wake overnight after a bad dream, she likes this back on to go back to sleep as well.

    Have you tried stories on an MP3 player? My reasoning is - can do this in the dark so that helps encourage sleep, and they can't keep asking an MP3 player questions like they can a human reading to them.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    ladybirdflies - his routine is usually pretty consistent. It may change here or there to accomodate afternoon acitivities such as swimming or playcentre meet up with friends. But no matter what the routine it always ends the same. Bed time fight. He comes home from school and has a snack and homework. Then free play (he can watch some TV in this time), play varies from a game of soccer together, to a chat at the fence with his friend, to jumping on the tramp. We then have quiet time before dinner starting to wind things down, dinner and a chat, before bath/shower, and more quiet time concluding with reading while in bed. Then lights out and the fun really begins.

    The Flying Butter - He does talk to God some nights. I think my issue is that he will stay up really late, gets up early in the morning and then its horrible with his behaviour etc because he isn't getting enough sleep. He can't sleep in any later and refuses to go to sleep any earlier. So I guess its a two fold battle I'm facing, 1. How to get him to stay in bed and 2. How to get him to sleep.

    Cass72
    I have tried daytime sleeps, no daytime sleeps, earlier bedtime, later bedtime, midnight snacks, singing, elimination diet, reading stories, gro-clock, shut door, open door, lights on, lights off, extra food before bed, no food before bed, hot bath before bed, relaxing music, tv, no tv, laying next to him in his bed, letting him sleep in my bed, threatening mum, understanding mum, angry mum, sad mum, sleep-deprived slightly hysterical mum..... the list goes on.
    I'm sorry but this made me laugh, particularly the sleep-deprived slightly hysterical mum part. I've done this more that I like to admit I'm glad Im not alone but sorry your facing this battle too.

    onthefly - yup tried limiting screen time but I could try limiting it more. Haven't looked into food, it wouldn't be followed through at his Daddy's house either, its hard enough trying to get him to comply to the allergy/intolerance list.

    Wysiwyg - We've tried both stories and music on a CD player (its what we had) and that resulted in requests to have it changed once it ran out. Over and over and over. I might look into the bedtime meditations and give them a go, at this point it couldn't hurt right?

    I just want my nice happy boy, he is like two different kids, when he has had enough sleep he is wonderful to be around. When he hasn't, well...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    That is awful. At least pre-school Liebs was happy, active and having fun on 2hrs in 24! (I wasn't.)

    Is he old enough to have a conversation about why sleep is great and consequences of no sleep? Sometimes a little understanding (from him) goes a long way. Or is he scared of sleep. Some children are.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    How/where does he sleep at his dads?

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    BlackCat you most certainly are not alone - glad I made you laugh . We are up like clockwork every morning between 2am and 4am trying to cajole DS back to sleep. Yes, he has a (probably rather long) nap during the day, but if he doesn't then he is impossible. He loses the ability to make good choices and becomes the complete opposite of the warm, living, agreeable little boy that I know he is (he will kick, spit, yell). His bad behavior can be directly attributed to his sleep - or rather lack of. During these school holiday's I am trying to make changes (as I don't have to get up early for work). We are on day 5 and I can't see any huge breakthroughs, although last night it only took 4 visits (1.5hrs) for him to go back to sleep. When he wakes I tell him to go to the toilet and then go back to bed. Before he goes to sleep we go through what nighttime is for and that he's allowed to go to the toilet and can quietly "read" a book with his nightlight on but there is no playing.

    If you come up with a magical solution, please do pass it on and off course I shall do the same.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    TFB - I have tried talking to him but it's always the same. He doesn't know why or he's not tired. I've tried explaining to him that the reason he is acting a certain way is because he is tired but he doesn't seem to get it.

    Livinthedream - at daddy's he sleeps on his own and when I've asked if he does this with him he tells me "no, because daddy's scary"

    Cass - we've been reading a couple of books and then started reading some meditation paragraphs. Its taken a little bit to get him to stop and listen with his eyes closed but the last few days he is asleep before I'm finished. I'm just crossing my fingers it keeps working. Usually when I get excited about finding a solution and say something it stops.

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    Do you think that his dad is/would be unnecessarily harsh with him?

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    BlackCat, I wanted to give you an update. Fir the past three nights I've been spraying DS's room with lavender and putting some on his pillow about ten minutes before he goes to bed. I've also introduced him to chamomile tea. Each night he is sleeping a little better........but now of course I have jinxed myself!

  14. #14

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    Livinthedream - I wouldnt want to speculate, but I know we have two very different parenting styles.

    Cass - that's great!! I know the feeling about jinxing yourself. Our meditation and bribery was working so well until I told people it was lol! Still we are slowly getting back there. Essentially what we are doing is telling him that if he goes to bed when asked on each school night without the arguments then he can have a special movie night on the Friday night as a reward. Combined with the meditation stories most nights he goes to sleep without a fuss!! He actually asks for his special stories now too, I think his biggest issue is turning his little brain to quiet mode. I might try some lavender in his room too, how much do you use approximately, do you mix it with water or anything? Anything to help calm him for quiet time/sleep time

  15. #15

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    I use the Bosistos Lavender spray (which you can buy in the supermarket - think it's in the laundry section). I stand in his room and do a circle while spraying and then lightly spray his pillow. I like to make sure I do it at least 10 minutes prior to him going into his room so it's not overpowering.

    Last night he slept from 8pm til 5.30am That is a first for us (and quite possibly a last.....) I woke at 3.30am and went in to check on him. As he sleeps with the door shut I also open the window slightly for ventilation. It was quite cool in his room (we're in single digits overnight in Canberra now!) so I covered him back up and he just did this really big sigh and rolled over.

    I'm not sure if it's the chamomile tea or the lavender or both, but it seems to be working. I remember reading somewhere that it takes two weeks to form a habit. This being so, we are 11 days away from sorting our sleep!

    Good luck and keep us updated!

    FWIW, I'm the "mean" parent (the one who seems to dole out the punishment, make sure everyone does the non-fun stuff like eating dinner, clearing the table, brushing their teeth etc). DS actually said to me the other night while I was cooking dinner, I'm scared of you mummy. I just looked at him and said "rubbish". He gave me a cheeky grin and ran off to play - little turd! I'm also the one who he comes running to as soon as he's scared, sad or sick.

    Maybe when he's at dad's place and tried to climb into bed with him and he found daddy not to be as welcoming as mummy. My DH is anti-kids-in-bed-with-us. They can come in for a cuddle in the morning, but not to sleep. Everyone's different and unless there's anything else that's worrying you, I wouldn't read too much into it.

  16. #16

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    If you've already tried sleep hygiene (routine, winding down before bed, all that sort of stuff, it pops up if you google it) i think you may want to talk to your GP about it. Sleep disorders can start very early and if its consistently taking your six year old two hours to fall asleep, that seems like a bit of a red flag that there's something more going on beyond habit. My oldest has sleep issues and a cup of chamomile tea before bed has helped her a lot.

  17. #17

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oliveaux View Post
    If you've already tried sleep hygiene (routine, winding down before bed, all that sort of stuff, it pops up if you google it) i think you may want to talk to your GP about it. Sleep disorders can start very early and if its consistently taking your six year old two hours to fall asleep, that seems like a bit of a red flag that there's something more going on beyond habit. My oldest has sleep issues and a cup of chamomile tea before bed has helped her a lot.
    I know this is a really old thread, but thanks for the reply Oliveaux. Its been over two years now and thankfully has gotten better with age. Some nights are better than others. Anxiety is/was a key issue.

  18. #18

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    Default Re: Sleep Issues.

    glad to hear things are better!

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