Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dreaming of electric sleep

I'm so tired my head feels spinny. Do you ever get like that?

See, the problem is that Child has had insomnia, for the past few nights. She goes to sleep fine, then wakes up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep...so she comes in our room to tell us she can't sleep. We tell her what to try, she does...then she comes back in half an hour later to tell us it didn't work. For hours.

It's got to the point now where she's so worried about not being able to go back to sleep that she can't go back to sleep! I relate, since I go through periods of this myself every once in a while. But at 6, it's freaking her out. And we're ALL starting to get seriously sleep-deprived.

I've given her the following "tools" to try:

-go back to bed, relax, close your eyes.
-turn on your music again, close your eyes and listen
-make up a story in your head (this is what I do after all!)
-if all else fails, turn on the light and read.

She swears every night that she's going to do these things and handle it herself, and then she starts the routine of coming in. Again.


Anyone have any other ideas?


Carol A. Spradling said...

Hi Susan,
I have one. Have her remember everything she did that day in detail. Generally, by the time they get to afternoon, they have fallen back to sleep. If she is still awake, have her make plans for tomorrow, the weekend, vacation.

Julianne Douglas said...


I'm going through the same thing with my two year old, ever since we switched him into a "big boy's bed' two weeks ago. I've decided that it's easier to just sit in the corner of his room and read silently until he falls asleep. No talking, singing, holding allowed. It seems to work--he just wants the assurance that I'm there and he falls back to sleep very quickly. It takes much less time than taking him back to his room, settling him down, and leaving, only to have him get up again a few minutes later. Maybe you could try this a few nights to help her get over her bout. If she fell asleep soundly from the beginning, she might stop waking up so many times. It might be worth a try! In any case, it's a good excuse to get some reading done.

Good luck! I know how hard it is to function on little sleep! I'm amazed your daughter's not falling asleep during the day after nights like this.

Precie said...

Children's Benadryl?


We're having similar sleep issues with our little one. He's a little younger than your daughter so, for now, I go in and lie down with him until he's settled again.

It's not a great solution, but I'm hoping the interrupted sleep is just a phase, possibly connected to the time change or spring.

DA said...

Hmmm...it's been a while, but I suffered this situation for, oh, about eighteen years in a row (eldest is 20, youngest is 10) - about the time the two oldest finally stopped interrupting my sleep, the third and then fourth arrived, and it started all over again another eight or so years. So...sounds like you're doing everything right. We did all that too, and finally resorted to a lock on our bedroom door. Youngest child would rattle it, DH would yell: GO BACK TO BED. Youngest child would flop on floor and wail. I would creep out of bed, usher said child back to bed and sit on bedside until said child drifted off. About the time I slipped back into bed, said child was smashing into bedroom door again. DH roared out of bed, carried said child back to bed with stern admonishments that he remain there. Said child started to cry. Sappy mom crept back into soothe him, balance precariously on the edge of his single mattress bed. Morning found said mother puffy-eyed and slouched at breakfast table nodding off in cereal. In short, I have no guaranteed 'fix'. Except time. Youngest child is now ten and hasn't required night time soothing for about two years. I've almost caught up on 18 years of sleep deprivation. :)


Catherine Karp said...

My oldest has this problem at bedtime these days. She can't get to sleep and gets really frustrated about the fact that she can't fall to sleep. She started getting up for bathroom trips and coming downstairs, wanting me to tuck her back in bed when Husband and I were relaxing and not wanting kid interruptions. Finally, I gave her a talk about how we were having too many bedtimes and explained that after a long day of taking care of kids and everything else, one bedtime was plenty. She objected at first and made claims about how I didn't need my rest time (sure, kid), but after that talk she stopped asking for me to come help her get back to sleep. She still gets up and uses the bathroom, but she's learning to deal with it on her own. I also had her decorate her own night light from a kit we got at a craft store. It's a little brighter than most night lights, but it helps her feel comfortable. Oh, and I also turn her digital clock away from her so she can't stare at the numbers and see how late it's getting.

Good luck. I feel for you. Our youngest just finally started sleeping through the night last summer when he got potty trained, so we had nearly a three-year run of sleep deprivation.

Cindy said...

Hi Susan:

It's a tough call, isn't it? Coddle or be stern? Foster independance or give comfort that she might be needing?

I don't know, I'm a softie mom. I'd help her crawl into the middle of the Big Bed, and she'd still be there six months later, probably. (G)

I give BamBam the hot water bottle to hold aginst his front, the heat makes him drowsy.

I might consider a bit of mild chamomile tea at bedtime. If it does help her sleep through one or two nights, you may break the pattern (and ease the related anxiety) without creating a dependance. If you don't want to do that, you could try carbs (a piece of bagel, maybe) for a bedtime snack, I read somewhere they'll help.

Do you have the thing that makes ocean sounds, waterfalls, heartbeats? The monotony might work better than music.

In any case, good luck. I hope things go back to normal soon.

Susan Adrian said...

Thank you SO much, everybody! Some excellent ideas. Believe me, I'm taking notes. (And I'm feeling better this afternoon, after a good, carb-heavy lunch!)

We were permissive about the bed thing for many years, and it was a very hard run to move her from our bed to her own room when she was 2 1/2. Like 2 full weeks of me not getting any sleep at all, staying in her room until she drifted off, then going back when she woke up again. I'm NOT going back down that path. :) I'm hoping (hope hope hope) that this is just a phase, as she's slept well in her own room since then!

Lindsay York Levack said...

Hi Suze,
Most likely it is a phase, and it will pass. You're doing everything right. Best of luck.

I'm also very sleep-deprived these days, and compensating with carbs. It's just about time to go make a fresh pot of coffee. *wry g*

Meanwhile, here's a couple of interesting posts for you:

16 of the most extreme and modern beds you'll ever see

and Justine Larbalestier on overcoming insomnia

The first one is just for fun. The second has some good bedtime tips.