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using sedatives for sleep problems? Opinions please

(10 Posts)
oliveoyal Fri 18-Jan-13 22:50:27


I have a 5 year old daughter who sleeps poorly. She goes to sleep ok but wakes in the night at least once, sometimes more. She cannot be settled back in her own bed without me or dad, so we end up with her in our bed, or one of us in hers. Sometimes she wakes up madly scratching and screaming things like 'get off me' or just screaming as if in pain, while scratching. We have tried lots of things over the years (night lights, different bedroom, sleeping with sibling, not sleeping with sibling, cooler bedding, warmer bedding, leaving her to cry), but she literally does not settle again.

My mum, who is a nurse, has spent a lot of time at our house over the last 6 weeks, witnessed the exhausted parents first hand and has queried whether we should ask the GP for a mild sedative. She suggested after a few nights of a proper night's sleep the habit of waking could be broken.

I'm not sure, but as parents we are exhausted, her sister is being disturbed more often so we then have 2 awake children, and it is beginning to seem like a reasonable option.

Thanks for reading, and any views on this x

amazingmumof6 Fri 18-Jan-13 23:15:36

your mum is way more qualified than me, but I'd say no.

your DD is way too young and I'd be worried how a sedative would effect her brain both in the short and long term

my eldest is 12 years year and we have 6 kids and I can't remember the last time I had a full night's sleep (so trust me, I'm qualified to talk about broken nights and sleep deprivation! grin), but I'd try and find a solution without medication.

I'm sure your gp can tell you what options you have, counselling, therapy , sleep clinic, so take that route to start with

timidviper Fri 18-Jan-13 23:18:39

I'd speak to the GP too. They are far more reluctant to use sedatives now than they used to be but there is place for their use in breaking the habit of waking as you mum suggested.

notapizzaeater Fri 18-Jan-13 23:19:20

We cracked when my ds was 4 and our doctor prescribed phenergan for a week to break the cycle. In our case it worked so was worth it but we deliberated with it for a opulent of months after having it prescribed.

toomuch2young Fri 18-Jan-13 23:25:18

Maybe melatonin could be what your looking for.
It's a more natural sleep hormone medicine without side effects I believe that is very useful helping children sleep. I took it as a teenager, it is prescription only but discuss it with your gp.
Good luck.

Goldmandra Fri 18-Jan-13 23:34:04

DD's paediatrician told me that Melatonin is only prescribed to children with ASD as it is a hormone naturally present in our bodies but often deficient in children with ASD.

She said lots of other parents ask for it but are turned down because low Melatonin levels are not likely to be the problem.

Melatonin is not a sedative but the hormone your body produces to make you fall asleep. It doesn't help you stay asleep or sleep more deeply.

Obviously rules and advice could be different in different areas.

There are question marks over long term side effects.

toomuch2young Fri 18-Jan-13 23:43:48

Ahh thats interesting, yes it is a sleep hornone, although it is not true about only prescribing for children with ASD, I do not have ASD, though I am not NT as have Tourette's and ADHD.
It was prescribed for me and worked brilliantly and I know it's been used very successfully in my friends DS who has no diagnosis other than severe sleep problems.
It adjusts the circadian rhythm to promote a natural sleep pattern, I was always led to believe it was very safe?
Anyway it's all interesting and worth seeing what your doctor reccomends I guess, I just thought was worth a suggestion, obviously the doctor won't prescribe it if not suitable anyway.

Goldmandra Sat 19-Jan-13 10:00:08

I was always led to believe it was very safe?

The paed was explaining about question marks over the effect on future hormone production, particularly fertility.

She said that concerns would be less for my DD2 as she clearly had a much reduce production of her own so the medication would bring it back up to normal levels. However she was trying to persuade me to allow her to prescribe it at the time because she was concerned about the affect sleep deprivation was having on DD2.

toomuch I wonder if it worked for you because ADHD and Tourettes are closely related to, if not on, the Austism spectrum so perhaps the natural deficiency is part of those too?

oliveoyal, have you tried heavy (in weight, not thickness) bedding? Using a weighted blanket definitely has a positive effect on DD2's sleep pattern. Lots of people find weight reassuring and comforting so it might be worth a go.

Also playing audiobooks can help her settle again as they take her mind off whatever had woken her up.

oliveoyal Sat 19-Jan-13 19:03:58

Thanks for all the replies on this, I'm really grateful for the advice and other strategies ... we've only tried audio books at Christmas, but she wasn't that keen. Used them at bedtime and kept her awake, but we could have another go.
Will try the heavier bedding.
I can't easily see the doctor until half term anyway, so will try other things over next few weeks and see how we get on.

Goldmandra Sun 20-Jan-13 01:16:21

I should have added it is best to have a very limited selection of audiobooks so she can get to know them well. New ones are too exciting and DD2 stays awake to see what happens. She needs to know what is coming next to be able to settle with them.

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