A.S. asks from Allen, TX on July 09, 2012
Is It like This for Everyone???
Hi Mommies! A disclaimer: I am feeling like I must be doing something wrong and am so frustrated I can't stand it. This is probably more of a vent than anything. I've written about my 5 y.o's aversion to sleep in the past. He will not go to sleep at night. He doesn't wake throughout the night. Just won't fall asleep for hours on end. Sometimes he is up and down, other times, he starts playing loudly. Still other times, he just lays there awake... for hours at a time. Last night, not asleep until 11. We put him to bed at 8.
I have literally tried everything short of spanking him, which would seem to be counterproductive anyway. Nightlights and everything under the sun to address any fears that he may have. So we have moved passed that as an issue, it appears (according to him). I have tried, laying with him, meditation, back rubs, staying on a set routine, getting him up at the same time each morning give or take 15 minutes. Countless other things. Something will work for a couple of nights and then we are back to the same ol same ol. Every once in a blue moon, we'll hit on something that works and he will fall asleep at a reasonable time and within a reasonable amount of time for a couple of months. And then the magic just disappears for months on end with no apparent reason.
The one thing he says is that he can't turn his brain off at night. But he whines and complains throughout the day about how tired he is (lately he's been getting about b/t 8 and 10 hours a night). He is yawning constantly by the end of the day and as I snuggle with him at night. When we try new things, we used to try them for a couple of weeks. But now we are at such a loss, it is probably more like a few nights. Most of my friends claim their kiddos this age are going to sleep just fine. Am I the only one having this issue with their child?
J.G. answers from Chicago on July 10, 2012
My daughter fights going to sleep. A few nights ago I told her she was welcome to read books in bed but she isn't allowed to get out of bed. She has stopped calling for us every 20 secs. I just had to go in there once, about 15 minutes later last night, to tuck her in for the last time. Maybe telling him he can play quietly will do the trick?
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J.M. answers from Missoula on July 09, 2012
He sounds a little like me... I have NEVER been able to quickly fall asleep. Even as a child, it took me 2-3 hours to get to sleep. Heck, even now, when I use all sorts of non-medication sleep aids, I still take over an hour.
My brain just doesn't shut off.
Counting sheep and meditation don't work well for me. I have to concentrate too hard on it, which keeps me awake. My best bet to fall asleep is to start a "guided dream" where I pretty much fantasize about anything I want... When I was a kid, it used to be things like getting a horse, or living in a tree house... things like that. I would lay in bed, in the dark with my eyes closed while I directed what I wanted to happen in my fantasy. Eventually, my fantasy would start taking on it's own aspects without my direction, and I would just drift off into sleep.
I had a sleep study done when I was young, and that is what the doctor suggested before trying me on medication. It worked well for me! (I did try medication for a while when I was in high school, but I don't react well to a lot of medications... so I went back to my dreaming. lol.)
ETA after reading some of the other answers, I wanted to add...
When I was young, we always had a 1hr calm-down period, where we stayed in bed and read with the lights on. (Bedtime at 8:00, lights out at 9:00) Up until I was about 17, I NEEDED some kind of noise, be it TV, radio, or outside noise (like a storm or something...) to fall asleep. After that, to this day I need it to be mostly quiet. I can NOT sleep at ALL if the TV is on, and I have a hard time with the radio. Lol. I would experiment a bit to see what works better for your son in that regard.
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D.. answers from Charlotte on July 09, 2012
I'd talk to the doctor if I were you. Perhaps he doesn't have enough seratonin. Perhaps he has ADHD. (Not sleeping well is one of the markers for that.)
I'd put him to bed at 9:00, quite honestly. 8:00 is too early. I would also tell him that if he wakes you up playing, that he is in trouble, and I'd take several toys away. If he wants to look at books, that's okay. Perhaps you could have a low watt TIMED light that he could turn on to look at a book, beside the bed, and then it would turn off by itself.
Spanking him for not sleeping won't help AT ALL. At least he is able to explain to you that he can't turn off his brain. Pretty good for a five year old.
DO talk to the doctor about this.
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S.H. answers from St. Louis on July 09, 2012
(sigh) honestly & seriously, you have tried tooooo many methods. He knows you're inconsistent & he is winning this game. :)
Lots of thoughts: he's 5, he'll be heading to KG....right? That'll whoop his butt, & he'll sleep for you.
Some children do not require more than 8 hours sleep. My dr told me that the brighter the child, the less sleep they need. He told me to be "thankful" for the 9 hours my son was pulling. My son was 2! & took a 45 minute nap.....& that's it. :)
Quit snuggling with him. Yes, I said it! Read a book together, tuck him in, & walk away. Go to bed yourself. Model the behavior you want him to exhibit!
Get him more physical thru the day. Eliminate all sugars/carbs past dinner time. & readdress that 8pm bedtime....it's not mandatory for all kids! At age 5, my sons were going to bed at 9pm....& were up at 6-8am. There were quite a few days where it was 10pm & 8am!
I think this is pretty much a case of "leave him alone".....set a later bedtime & walk away. :)
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M.B. answers from Austin on July 09, 2012
An aversion is something you typically dislike....
It isn't that he dislikes sleep, but he described it to you perfectly... he can't turn his brain off at night.
Some people are on a different sleep cycle... they are night owls, and their sleep cycles don't kick in until later.... and they are difficult to get up in the morning. With work, a sleep cycle can be reset, but you have to keep with the new schedule...... Your son may just be a night owl, and function better at night.
Have you talked to his doctor about this? I'm not suggesting medicating him, but the doctor may have some suggestions......
5 moms found this helpful
C.O. answers from Washington DC on July 10, 2012
ETA: Diet plays a key role. As well as rules. Set them - stick to them and don't change them.
My 10 year old fights sleep. He can stay up WWWWAAAAAYYY past me.
He's been this way for 9 years. No kidding.
What do we do to help him not stay awake until all hours of the night?
No electronics for 30 to 60 minutes before bed - no TV, XBOX, DS, etc. NONE. He can read a book - but NO electronics.
A warm to hot shower before bed.
Classical music - he NEEDS noise - so we chose classical together instead of the white noise. he enjoys the soothing sound.
What I have found is the MORE YOU FORCE sleep - the harder it is for him.
We have told him that he CANNOT play loudly. He must stay in bed unless he needs to go to the bathroom...we don't bother him. I check on him when I go to bed.
Since we haven't been FORCING sleep - it's been a LOT better. I would stop trying "new' things. Keep it simple.
No electronics 30-60 minutes before bed
No playing in bed
Read a book
Play music or give him 'white noise'
Don't check on him every 15 minutes and tell him to go to sleep - it's counter-productive.
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N.G. answers from Dallas on July 10, 2012
I would have broughtt his up with the pedi already if it were me. That seems excessive.
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☆.A. answers from Pittsburgh on July 10, 2012
Two thoughts for you:
1. Is he overly tired? I know with mine, the more exhausted he was, the longer it took him to fall asleep. IMHO, 8-10 hours with no naps may not be enough for him.
Also, have you tried a story CD and/or music while he's in bed?
(And is there a chance he is ADHD? One of my son's friends is like this and he is "on go" as soon as he wakes up and has a terrible time going to sleep at night. )
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J.K. answers from Sacramento on July 09, 2012
He sounds over tired. You don't mention what his night routine is, but I would try a solid one and stick to it. You might also think about giving him melatonin to get him back on a good sleep cycle. We did that with our son and it worked great, and we weaned him off of it after a couple months. (Ours doesn't stay in bed though, and that's a whole other thing...)
Sleep issues are tough on everyone~ Good luck!
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