Three Year Old up All Night

Updated on March 23, 2010
N.H. asks from Ridgecrest, CA
9 answers

My son goes to sleep at 7:30 8:00 o'clock but like clock work h e is up at 1am at the latest i had to add all kinds of locks because he would leave the house I've seen a doctor who said give him Melitonia its a natural sleep product However i can get him to sleep its keeping him asleep and i don't want to drug him if there is another way i have tried waring him out i was wore out still he seem to be on a cycle a week out of the month he sleeps fine then back to the up all night.

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So What Happened?

well first thank you all for your advice, to respond to your question I Don't lock his bedroom door i put locks on the doors leading to the out side, no he does not sleep walk he is wide awake, I am having him evaluated for ADD/ADHD but i don't think this is the problem, he takes naps going down between 11:30am and 12: up no later than 2:00pm and seems well rested, he attends Daycare and they have mentioned his strange sleep behavior some times only sleeping 10min but acting as if he slept 8hours and some time so dead tired they have trouble waking him after nap time. but we have been keeping a record and he seems to be on some kind of pattern having normal sleep about eight days out of a month the rest of the time he is not able to stay asleep or he is wiped out and sleeps like he is dead.I tried the melitonia but opted out on that i can get him to sleep fine so his problem lies in staying asleep I am still in the process of getting him evaluated and will keep you posted again thank you for all your suggestions and i will try then to see if they help.

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answers from San Diego on

Good morning N., I would not give any child a sleep aid they have to take eternally. After reading some of the responses, i feel the real issue isn't him waking up, it's staying in bed, that's what needs to be disciplined, if he is getting up for any reason aside of using the bathroom, you have to address the getting up. Romatheropy Lavender oil in a defusser, will help him sleep through the night, if the waking up is an issue with you, for me as a mom the bigger issue would be him getting up. J.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I recognize that I will likely get some flak for this, but I have to say it: locking your child in his or her room is cruel. Please speak to your pediatrician, get a second opinion, or get a referral for a sleep specialist (not a sleep "trainer") if need be. There are other ways of dealing with this.

As far as Melatonin is concerned, I don't know much about it. Do lots of research before giving your child *any* type of medication - natural, prescription, OTC, whatever. Do not be afraid to ask your doc and pharmacist questions - that is what they are there for. Just don't forget to do your own research as well.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I honestly would question giving him Melatonin. Though it's an over-the-counter product, I've had several physicians question its use in adults let alone kids. Its use is to help maintain circadian rhythms.

Yes, Melatonin is a naturally occurring substance, but that doesn't mean it's safe. According to Wikipedia, it's banned in many other countries ( That alone, would make me pause for a child that young.

Is he sleep walking or is he wide awake?

The only information I could find on melatonin through the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics had to do with melatonin was regarding to possible natural imbalances of Melatonin and Seratonin and presumed links to ADD/ADHD:

I'd recommend another opinion as your son's sleep schedule is certainly not typical for his age.

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answers from Austin on

Does he take a nap in the afternoon? What time, how long?
Maybe it needs to be adjusted so that he takes a nap at 12:00 till 1:30 or 2:00. Make sure in the afternoon he plays outside for 1 hour to 11/2 hours of running, climbing, jumping, peddling, swimming. No TV after 4:00. Have a very quiet dinner, maybe play a quiet game, puzzles, then a quiet bath. Make sure his room is dark, maybe with quiet music. Read a story using quiet slow words. Do not engage your son.

If he does not already have one, purchase a sound machine and then use it for naps and night time. Let him know if he wakes up in the middle of the night he is allowed to look at books quietly, but not leave his room unless he needs to go potty. Do make sure he cannot get out of the house, even if you have to put keyed locks on the inside of the doors.



answers from Honolulu on

Your son wakes at about 1:00am... and he tends to leave the house???? You mean actually walk out of the house, out the door???
Are you sure he is not sleep walking or something?
Is he wide awake and conscious?

So he is only getting 5 hours of sleep a day? No naps????
That is very weird.



answers from Los Angeles on

when my son turned 3 sleeping was a nightmare...i had to put a lock on the outside of his door for a week and sleep train him to go back to bed b/c i wasn't going to let him out.
don't keep locking the door it isn't safe but u need to sleep train him to sleep son only sleeps 10 hours a night..he's very i let him stay up late now..he's 4..i think 7:30 is too early to go to bed..i would push it back to 9pm and sleep train him to sleep in drugs..just lock that door for a week and then he'll see its not so fun to wake at 1am


answers from Orlando on

First, I have to say OH MY GOODNESS 7:30 TO 8:00PM BEDTIME??????
That is dinner time in our house. = ) LOL.

Tomorrow at 8:15pm play some games with him to wear him out. Give him a drink and a snack.
At about 9:00pm have him get in him P.j.'s and brush his teeth and go pee.
Then turn down the lights a bit and lay next to him in his bed and read to him and softly talk to him. At about 9:30pm to 9:45pm leave his room and see if he sleeps all night.

Don't forget, give lots of hugs and kisses.

I just think that he is going to bed TOO early and when he gets up at 1am or 2am it is like he had a GREAT NAP and he is ready to play again for another few hours and mommy sits on the couch not happy and VERY TIRED. = (

Try putting him to bed later in the evening.

I wish you the best with this.

God Bless.



answers from Las Vegas on

Melantonin isn't a drug. It is a natural substance your body produces anyway. My now 6 year old has autism and was a horrible sleeper as a baby and toddler. At 2 & 3 he would frequently be up at 2 or 3 for the day. Needless to say I was exhausted. We tried melatonin and it was like a miracle for us. It helped him not only get to sleep but stay asleep. It was like it helped him get into a deep enough sleep he could stay there. You basically want to start with 1 mg and then play with the dose to find the lowest dose that willl help your child fall asleep within 20 minutes. You do not want to give more than 3 mgs in a 24 hour period. You can redose in the middle of the night as long as you haven't already give the full 3 mg. You need to give it when your child is calm and holding still. Whether than involves watching cartoons or you rubbing his back or whatever works. If your child is up running around it won't work. It is NOT a tranqualizer. It helps the normal process of getting to sleep it doesn't replace it. Don't give your child a dose too close to the sun coming up. I found that giving my son any past about 3:30 didn't get him back to sleep, it just made him super crabby. Basically if the sun comes up before they go back to sleep, you are screwed. LOL
Good luck,



answers from Los Angeles on

I give my daughter Melatonin to help her sleep. Melatonin is a natural substance produced by the brain. It triggers us to sleep (and stay asleep) throughout the night. Some kids lack this substance, so supplementing it really helps! In my daughters case, she had problems with falling asleep and sometimes with getting up in the middle of the night and being up for hours! This problem disappeared as soon as we started the Melatonin. Was she drugged? No, not at all. She was able to sleep like the rest of us. If she has to use the potty during the night, she can still wake up, go to the potty, then go back to sleep. She's perfectly coherent. It might be worth a try for you! Ask your doctor for the dosage amount. Whole Foods has it in drop form, so we just add it to some warm milk and honey before bedtime!

Good luck!

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