Sleeping Routine Woes

Updated on September 09, 2008
K.G. asks from Carnation, WA
17 answers

I have exhausted my ideas and in an effort to have other options to discuss with our pediatrician next week, I would love to hear from other moms with ADHD medicated children.
I have no doubt that medication is right for my son but bedtime is not happening. My 7 year old shares a room with his 2.5 yr old brother. I have tried off-setting their bed times, staying in the room to try to keep them under control. (They totally play off each other) I have tried letting them just do it themselves but the hour of final sleep was outrageous. I have taken privleges away.... It boils down to this:

My son's medication wears off around 5pm or so. In the evening his ADHD really shows and affects his ablility to calm his body and mind for sleep. So, have any of you given a booster med in the afternoon to have a smoother transisiton at night? It doesn't seem right to give a stimulant before bed but I am wondering if that is the issue.

In addition, I massage him, rub his hair, talk calmly to him, try guided imagry but it doesn't seem to help unless I do it for 30 mins plus. (This would be stretching up into his upper bunk by the way). All the while, my 2 yr old picks back up and wants in on the action.
Like I said, I would like new ideas to discuss with our pediatrician next week. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Sleep Woes...We have a light at the end of the tunnel! Thank you for all of the responses! After speaking with our pediatrician today, we are going to start with a low dose of melatonin to see if that helps calm him enough to fall asleep at bedtime. As he does have some additional sensory issues, we may also try a weighted blanket or something similar. He does love a firm cuddle but I can't lay with him every night. As for the coffee, we may try that an hour or two before bed to see if ends up calm but awake or asleep. I love our pediatrician; before I brought up any of the other drug options some of you mentioned, she did say that several are available if necessary but melatonin is a great, inexpensive way to start with no major side-effects. Thank ALL of you for the words of support. It is nice to know others have been here too!

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D.G.

answers from Anchorage on

My brother is ADHD and it seems my folks had this problem, i don't remember what they did. but i wonder if a different medication, or dosage would work? at first he was on ritilin, then was on dexadrine. that seemed to work better. it is a stimulant to us, but to ADHD kids it calms them down. Good luck! I know it's tough...being a sister, i can't imagine being a mom to an ADHD!

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C.M.

answers from Bellingham on

I have heard of mothers who have had success with calming hyperactive children with a tea called Sleepy Time Tea found at www.bulkherbstore.com

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K.R.

answers from Bellingham on

I just put my son (10 yrs. old) on medication this past summer. He stays up until 10pm! He is happy just drawing or reading in his room, quietly, but he has always been more of a night person - hard to wake up in the morning.
The pediatrician said his meds would start wearing off in the evening. I have him swimming everyday after school. Water is great therapy for these kids. It gives them all that tactile stimulation, they are using all their muscles, etc.

I really don't think more medication would be good in this situation. If you can avoid it in any way - you should.

Do you have the boys together because your daughter is special needs? or just because of gender? My two younger children are 20 mo. apart, boy and girl, and they share a bedroom. It has worked out great, (but we are planning on splitting them up next year, when my daughter turns seven).
The kids of similar age seem to require the same sleep patterns and go to bed at the same time.

I would try putting your two-year old to bed an hour before your seven-year old. Let your seven year old hang out and be quiet in your bedroom. Give him a warm bath with lavender oil. You could try giving him a book on tape and headphones.
You could try playing soft music.
Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful
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B.M.

answers from Portland on

Hi K.,
I am not an expert at adhd, but my brother is. He is a developmental specialist. I do know that he has studied melatonin for sleep aid for adhd and kids. I also give my daughter melatonin, she has autism and sleep issues galore, and this does help quite a bit. They had a chewable available at Fred Meyer. Just know you are doing a great job. Our kids with special needs are tough and quite draining. I wish I had more for you. My brother's kids also have adhd with odd and I know how challanging they are. They are also wonderful kids, as ours is too. What is hard to remember is that our children don't mean to react to things the way the do. Take care and if you ever need to talk, email me and I will send you my number. Good luck mom!

1 mom found this helpful
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C.A.

answers from Portland on

I've seen melatonin on here a couple of times. My daycare gal's son who has ADHD has major sleep problems (12 and shares a room with a 7 AND 2 year old - you can imagine her headaches!). Her doctor gave her melatonin, said split it into four quarters and just start with a quarter of it before bed with a glass of milk (helps absorb faster). Maybe right before a hot bath since the warmth will help encourage the drowsiness. Since melatonin is a natural substance it is safe to take.

After I got out of the Army I had horrible sleep disorders. I would start awake at the slightest sound would often resulted in one or two hours of sleep at night. I began taking melatonin (whole one for me! half if I have to get up early) and it totally put me back into a good sleep schedule with no addiction to sleep medicine. It is over the counter and a big bottle can be purchased for about 5-8 dollars. Why anyone buys expensive sleep meds it beyond me. I hope this helps some. Just be sure to talk to your doctor about it first!

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/natural-sleep-aids-r...

1 mom found this helpful
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V.G.

answers from Seattle on

Wow, you are a busy gal!

Maybe you've already tried this, but the thing that seemed to work best for my son was to make sure that he got plenty of exercise and fresh air in the late afternoon and early evening - sports like soccer, basketball, swimming, a trip to the park, a long walk, a trip to the beach, playing outside in the backyard with a friend, etc.

Then after dinner he would start to unwind and often fall asleep fairly quickly once I could get him to sit still for a few minutes. I used to sit with him on his bed and read to him most nights. Having bunk beds does present a challenge but maybe you could sit in the room and read to both of them although I think being right next to my son touching him, hugging him or pointing to a word or picture in the book to try to keep him calm, redirect his attention to the book or talking about the book was helpful.

Or sometimes on the weekends to give myself a little break, I'd put in a DVD of a movie that he enjoyed (but was not too action-packed, funny or stimulating) to hold his interest long enough to get him to sit still and he would start to nod off within a few minutes. My son had a couple of favorite ones that he would watch over and over again and had the entire dialog memorized, but I think the familiarity and repetitiveness of watching the same couple of movies helped calm him down.

Hope you get some ideas that will help you!

1 mom found this helpful
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S.C.

answers from Spokane on

I am mainly writing this to let you know that you are not alone! Our 9 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 5 and has always taken HOURS to fall asleep at night (meds or no meds). It is exhausting. My suggestion would be to talk to your son's doctor. My son's doctor suggested Melatonin, which is supposed to be a natural substance to help sleep. I think it helps my son fall asleep a little faster, but mostly helps him sleep well once he does fall asleep. I also have a three year old, so I get him to sleep first (divide and conquer?) I hope this helps! Good luck! S.

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C.A.

answers from Seattle on

Have you thought about allergies contributing to hyperactivity? I know a lady whose son has seasonal allergies and he is "very" hyper during spring and summer when they are at their worst. (and only "hyper" in winter)
Also, my kids all have food allergies that affect their behavior -- milk, soy, food coloring, rice, sugar, etc. I know food affects brain function because after I have milk, I feel drugged for hours. Of course, sugar and caffiene make it nearly impossible for my kids to obey.
I know it may not be a "cure all" for you, but checking into allergies may help things be more manageable.
Hang in there! Keep up the good work!

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P.C.

answers from Seattle on

Hi!
I have two active boys both with ADHD. They both share the same room as well with bunk beds.They are 71/2 and 6. The 7 year old gets mean and wild when not on his meds.We had the same issue of meds wearing off too soon.Talk to your doc on about other meds.Some with a longer duration.We did do the booster med for awhile but it was difficult to give at the same time every day.However it did help.That is why we switched to a different med with a longer duration. Good luck I know what you are going through. It will get better.
Take care,
P. C.

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S.B.

answers from Seattle on

K.,

Our oldest was on medication and had a lot of trouble sleeping. Without a sleepaid he would stay up all night thinking. The doctor that gives his meds should be informed of this and can give a sleeping medication (like ambian). One problem with sleeping meds- my son would sleep in school a lot because they are strong. Good luck, it is not easy.

You are in my prayers.
S.

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K.W.

answers from Seattle on

I feel your woes. I have four children of my own. My oldest with special needs and the other three typical. My young man used to be very much like you described. Many people thought I was crazy to try this- but it worked wonders for us. We gave my son a small cup of regular coffee before bedtime. It was enough to settle him down. We experimented with times and amounts before we found what was just right for him. For us it worked- I work with kids with ADHD, Autism, and various other disabilties- many of them have the same effect from caffiene as I described for my own boy. Good Luck and feel free to contact me. I would love to know if it worked for you.

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B.B.

answers from Portland on

My son is medicated to. ADHD is not his only issue, we also deal with OCD, but thought I would pass on some thoughts.
I give my son a Melatonin 1 hr before bed time - found that trick from some "special needs kids" forums on Yahoo (great place for ideas and support!!) it works really well for him. Also, check with whoever is perscribing for him and let them know. We did and ended up moving one of his meds to bedtime just 'cuz one of the side effects was drowsiness and there are tons of ADHD meds out there- some are extended release to help out in the evenings. I also make my son get into bed 1/2 hour before "lights out" and he can either read, draw or listen to music - kind of gets his mind into a slower gear without all the stimulation of TV, his brother, toys etc. Some research is also saying that Red Dye #40 is a big trigger for ADHD kids, so if he's getting that in dinner or a night time snack you might try excluding that. All in all, I think the Melatonin has been the biggest help of all and we've been dealing with this for 4 years.
Good luck. If you'd like any info on the forums, let me know I'd be glad to pass on the links to you!

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J.T.

answers from Anchorage on

I have my son who was diagonised last yr. with ADHD. I have consulted with his dr. lots. I was completely against the whole med. idea and then I finally gave in. My son is on a medication called Adderall during the day and Quonadeen at night. They are a counter act of each other. The day time keeps him good through school and starts to wear off around 5 pm that is time for him to be outside or doing something active to keep him going. Then about 1 hr. before bed he get the night time, which helps him wind down and sleep easily. I used to have to sit in the bedroom and rub his back and lay with him til he would sleep BUT not no more. The med. I thought would make him spacey BUT no way did it. It actually helped us have a better talk about his day then anything. If you have any questions just message me and I can give you more info. one on one. Good luck

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C.R.

answers from Richland on

Hi K.,
First of all I want to commend you on your status of staying at home and taking care of three children. I have two (3 yr and 1 yr) and I know it can be tough. I'm a working mother so I don't have the ability to read up on a lot of stuff about raising children but I did have a little tidbit that I hope will help.

I have a 14 year old stepson (who stays with his own mother most of the time but stays with us on holidays and during the summer). He can be a handful especially when he forgets his medicine. He has ADD also (I'm not sure if it's ADHD). He's getting to that age where he wants to wean off his medicine during the summer. His mother wishes this also. Anyways, I have been told that giving a child with this condition coffee (or caffiene) will offset the hyperness. I haven't thought about it until just now so I haven't tried it myself, but others have sworn by it.

Maybe this will help. Good luck! I would love to know if it did. Could you let me know if it works?

God Bless!
C.

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L.M.

answers from Yakima on

i have a 16 year old that has a terrible time with sleeping and has sincehe was an infant.He has been diagnosed as ADHD since about 12 but could have been many years before that.
I washaving problems with sleep patterns when he was the age of your son and he was taking an ADHD medication. The doctor had me give him a teasoon of Benedryl every night about an hour before he was to goto bed. He saidit would either keep him up...eversing the effect of the antihistimine like somany meds doin bi-polar/ADHD kids or it would bea solution and not be habit forming or harmful to him. Iwaseven having problems with his sister but she was not ADHD..just a terrible sleep pattern. so every night i would give them each a teaspoon of benedryl...it worked. It made them just drowsy enough to fall asleep and they stayed asleep. Now my 16 year old takes an Abilify..mood stabilizer that makes him tired at night. He does that also because they have him on an afternoon dose of ADHD medication...for homework hours. He takes it at lunchtime and then hs medicationworks until bedtime. I should say that it was working. He gets immune to the medications so fast. He is rapid cycling right now and being very defiant and refusing to even stay in school during the day.he got caught driving a friend's car and he does not have a license. I have filed papers yesterday putting him on a teens at risk program through the state. We go before a judge and write up a contract..such as curfew times, coming right home from school first and doing homework,taking medication,attitude around the house and school. He has to abide by these or he is sent back before the judge and the punishment can be anything from having community service to time in juvie. There is also an attachment that we can have random drug testing, and acause that the school is suppose to report any truancy days or periods of school.
He missed 3 periods today and they can pick him up for me if he does not meet curfew tonight...and take him to CSC...where they keep them in lockdown for 3 days. I have reached my limit with him and Ihave to do this before it is too late. He has to learn to take responsibility for his disorder. But also I would love for them to get him on something that really works. We have tried ritalin, adderal, straterra, and concerta that I think did help some but he has to take such a high dose that his insurance company does not want to pay for it. Now they substituted it with Medadate and I think he has aggressive issues on it because the last week has been awful. Two physical confrontations,caught by the police driving the car,defiance on coming home and just severe mood swings. Ihave been in court with him yesterday and I will be on the 8th and 9th and October 16. I am about to ask the judge to put him on house arrest so that I can medicate him properly as the doctor prescribes tomorrow at his appointment.
Hope that ianswered your question about the sleep...I just started venting away to you...sorry..L.

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L.B.

answers from Richland on

I know you posted this question awhile ago but it is very close to my heart because I have a son that had the very same issue!! We adopted him a few years ago and ADHD was among the list of his issues, and after much ironing out of his medications we have finally discovered what works well for him. He is a peach now and I am incredibly greatful!! My son takes adderall 20 mg two tablets upon waking, Clonidine 1/2 pill at noon and clonindine 1 1/2 pills and melatonin 3 mg at bedtime to help him sleep. melatonin is an herbal sleep aid the dr. told us to give him. His bedtime meds take about 20 mintues to kick in and he is out. He tells me he is tired and he wants to sleep. It took us a long time to figure out the best doses for him. He is 12 years old now and weighs about 98lbs. He was on Ritalin and clonidine previously but it didn't seems to hold him until bedtime.....I called the 5-6pm hour the witching hour because he would act like a crazy child!! He would be bouncing off the walls. We tried giving him a dose of clonidine at 6pm but he got too tired at dinner and would fall asleep eatting. I talked to the Dr. about it and he said that the Adderall is great for a longer lasting med and it helps with the acting up when they come home from school and through dinner. My son would be really mouthy and rude when he got home from school because of the transition. I really hope this helps. Please if you want anymore info let me know, I would be willing to talk with you. It has taken us a couple of years to get my sons meds at a good level. He's doing really fantastic right now....I know your son can get there too!! [email protected]____.com

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M.B.

answers from Portland on

I have no advice for the meds but I think in the state of Oregon it is illegal to have children with that age range share a room. you should check it out

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