Friday, 26 November 2010

Once a bad sleeper...

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Nugget was not a good sleeper as a baby.

He was happy to sleep on me, in the sling, in the pram (for 40 minutes as long as it was moving) or next to me in the bed. But never on his own. And never for long.

When Doo Dah came along, I was already sleep deprived. Nugget still wasn't consistently sleeping through the night and he was trying very hard to drop his day sleeps too. I won that battle until he was 2 years and 8 months old when we all got sick of pretending.

Doo Dah was a happy little sleeper. He settled well and woke only for feeds. He took his sweet time to drop the 10pm feed (he was more than a year old), but once he did, he just slept. Night after night.

Nugget was about three and a half when I first realised that I no longer wondered if I would see him during the night once he had fallen asleep. But even though he been a consistent sleeper since then, he is still not a 'good sleeper'.

He is often found sleeping at the end of our bed. It seems he has realised that we don't come when he calls out (unless he is obviously distressed) and will take him back to his bed if he wakes us trying to get in, so he has devised a means of 'being with us' without waking us. I often wake in the morning with his little hand wrapped around my foot. It would be cute if he weren't five and a half!

He has a string of nightly excuses. I am thirsty. I need to go to the toilet. I have sore legs. Doo Dah is snoring too loudly. It is too dark. It is too light. There is something in the cupboard. I am not tired.

It is truly exhausting.

As we are nearing the end of the school year and life is super-busy and we are all getting tired and grumpy, Nugget has developed what can only be described as 'insomnia'. He is exhausted, and yet he cannot sleep. He still goes to bed by about 7.30, our night-time routine hasn't changed, and yet he is often still lying, wide awake in bed at 10pm when I check on him.

Night after night.

For at least the last 4 weeks.

That is a very late night for a kindergarten child, and you can imagine how his behaviour is as a consequence. Diabolical.

I just don't seem to know how to help him 'switch off'.

His latest problem has confirmed for me that once a bad sleeper, always a bad sleeper.


Anyone experienced this themselves or with one of their children? Any ideas?

21 comments:

Gill@OurParklife said...

this is tough, poor little guy, sleep is one of those funny things, when you don't get much, it gets harder and harder to fall asleep...

Nic at Our Park Life has been having a similar problem with Mini Hoges and I babysat him last week and found he was wide awake until quite late - i tried all of my tricks and NOTHING worked! Eventually I sang him to sleep,but it took about 40 rounds of Hey Diddle Diddle and this is not an ideal thing to have to do EVERY night. We put on a audio book for M2 and he always falls asleep within the first ten minutes of listening..

More sport and fresh air perhaps? Only suggestion I have and I am sure you have tried this already. and he is quite young so he probably uses up plenty of energy!

Hope you get some good responses here

Gill xo

DancingInTheRain said...

No answers here, sorry. Goofy has decided she can manage on less sleep so doesnt want to go to bed at night wakes up with the sun in the morning. Thinking about mixing up the room sharing arrangements to see if that helps! Would Minx/Dew Drop and Nugget together make any difference?

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Oh, poor Nuggett - and poor you! That's very hard going, and I know exactly what you mean about the kids getting tired by the end of the school year. They're tired enough when they're going to bed at normal time, but at 10pm? He must be truly exhausted.

I'm not sure how to help, as I haven't experienced this yet - only when kids were still sleeping during the day (so I of course dropped the day sleep). The only thing I find that gets the kids to fall in to bed at night is exercise, exercise, exercise. But if you're already doing that, I'm not sure. I hope someone can help you!

xxx

Maxabella said...

I have, I have!! Every night for six plus years!!!

We don't use it any more and I know you laugh at it behind my back, but I will give you our copy of the hippy "Peace Time" CD. It really does seem to help them settle a little at night when they are too tired to sleep. Worth a try...?

x

JANE said...

Oh, MM. I hear you. Now if you don't mind, it's time to hop out of my head! So I can concentrate on trying to get the pixies to sleep...J x

Posie Patchwork said...

Oh no, they still need like 12 hours sleep when they are in 3rd grade, it's pretty full on how their bodies grow & rest.
I had 4 sleepers, from 3 weeks of age, so i know, hate me, they never felt the need to wander & find us, thank goodness. That said, they are all different. Some would gladly read until 10p.m. especially the 9 & 11 year olds.
Are they worn out?? My trick, as we live out of town, is to let them run wild after school for an hour, then hop in the car, drive the 25km home & straight into homework etc, dinner, play & bed. I've done this since my first started school with 3 little ones running around after her, seems to wear them out.
Hope that helps!! Right now we're swimming after school & boy do they crash!! Good luck, love Posie

Good Golly Holly! said...

You poor thing :(

Perhaps there's something in the air?

The Bug, who is 3 is tucked up into bed at 7:30pm each night but this past week, can still be heard talking and playing as late as 10:30pm. She also insists on sleeping with the lamp on because "there is a boy monster in my room"

Sigh.

Let's get them back when they're teens and want to sleep their weekends away!
xx

katepickle said...

My girls went through this at around this time last year... one more so than the other. They just couldn't switch off at night and I tried everything.. even loosing my temper and threatening to separate them... nothing worked.

I was really worried how it would all work if it stay that way when they started school but eventually they went back to a more reasonable sleeping pattern.

Sorry I have no answers but maybe it is a common thing for kids at this age and time of year? Mind you my girls had always been fab sleepers until then...

nessy said...

I have no answers either, maybe it is a common thing at this age? I'm glad I stumbled across your blog as I was really worried about Miss 2's legs that are 'sore all the time' lol now I see that might be a common thing too:)

Lucy said...

MM - I suspect it may be an eldest child thing - Olivia sounds EXACTLY like Nugget. Even down to the sore legs thing.

My only solutions may have already been mentioned - shedloads of physcial exercise to exhaust the body. Lavender spray in the bedroom at night.

A sleep CD (we use Peace Baby for all three kids, all night, every night. Charlie and Lexie have no need and sleep like logs instantly, but I maintain the ritual for Olivia.)

The other thing that works well for Olivia is if I spend 2 minutes with her after lights out and we "do breathing" together. Just slow, deep rhythmic breathing.

Then if she appears later with the "I can't sleep" drama, I bore her back to bed with "Just breath....."

You have my sympathy.....

(And how funny about the ii. I noticed that just the other day too!)

Lizeylou said...

This might sound a kind of weird suggestion but maybe a trip to a child friendly chiro who can help kids switch off? We have a great lady who we see and she never cracks a bone ... she uses a little activator gun thing and she helps with sleep, with bed wetting, with all forms of toilet stuff, with Mstr 5's attitude ... and she fixes me too. Good luck, cause lets face it - lack of sleep SUCKS!! xx

Tat said...

There is a book by Elizabeth Pantley called No-cry sleep solutions for toddlers and preschoolers (or something like that). There are a lot of activities in it that aim to teach kids how to relax. My son was too young for them at the time I read the book and then things sorted themselves out, so I didn't get to use it, but it might give you some good ideas. It should be available at your local library.

Kymmie said...

Oh, you poor love. I'm sure you've already tried every trick in the book: night time routines, warm bath, no tv before bed, etc. But I did learn very early on that sleep creates the need to sleep. Is there an opportunity to give him a day sleep early on in the day (before/after kinder)? I have found that once there is a good sleep and routine, it can keep on happening.

I am feeling for you. You're hands are full, and now this.

xx

Suzie G said...

I found you again! Haven't really been on here for a month and when I went to catch up on everything your URL wouldn't work :)

We haven't hit this problem yet (I am sure it will come) so I look forward to reading the replies in case we can ward it off somehow!

Good luck ;-)

@jencull (jen) said...

I have one of those and he is 8 now. He often says that his brain won't let him sleep and he did the coming into us in the middle of the night until he was 6. He will still occasionally do it, but only if he has a bad dream or is sick so I suppose that is different.

We tried everything and nothing really helped, he is the way he is. We just make sure to let him sleep in late at the weekends and try catch up on his rest with relaxing days as he is quite busy during the week now. We did find having TV turned off an hour before bedtime helped a little.

Good luck!

Jen

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

I'm another cd fan. Monkey Boy has never, never , never slept well so I understand where you are coming from and he is nearing 5 soon. He's got a little cd player in his room, and if he can't go to sleep in the beginning, I put it on. He might not fall asleep straight away, but it distracts him enough not to be calling out and it does relax him, same if he wakes in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep. We did one same sleep cd for the first 18 months of his life- drove me nuts listening to it every day. Now he's got a selection of about 7 putomayo world music cds, that he puts on himself.

life in a pink fibro said...

As a person who has never slept particularly well before midnight, I reckon he'll be fine. Is just an end of term, too much going on time of year. Does he read to wind down? That can help. I'm hanging out for the holidays too!

Kelly said...

My daughter Skye does the same thing. We put her to bed at 7.30 and she is almost always still awake 10pm. I was the same as a kid, and i have no solutions.

Debra said...

Poor kid, my little girl is like this. It is so frustrating because she doesn't get the sleep she needs and it sounds like your child doesn't either. Our pediatrician suggested using things that suggest it is bed time. We have a story that we read everynight that is just a story we read a bedtime and then I put a CD on for her that we only play at bedtime. It seems to help.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

With a younger child, I've read that sometimes you may have to drop your "standards" to get an interrupted sleep schedule back on track. The baby how-to series I follow tells you not to rock your babies to sleep, for example, but it cites there comes a time when you may have to do that for a couple of days to help the baby catch up on sleep. The theory is that sleep begets sleep, and if you can help your baby begin to catch up, it will help him get back on the larger track.

I don't know if there are applications for an older child, but this is what came to mind when I read your post. Hang in there, Mama!!!

Rebecca said...

I'm afraid it will be the same for my Matthew...unlike his twin sister who sleeps like a dream, he's awake at 9:20 every night (while we put him down before 8:00). I wonder what their little brains are concocting...probably schemes on how to drive us nuts the next day.

I like the idea about the lavender spray...always works for me. Good luck...maybe the pedi will have some advice???

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