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6yo doesn't sleep. I am desperate.

(19 Posts)
LiegeAndLief Sat 16-Feb-13 07:52:12

He's never been a brilliant sleeper and was a very early waker for years, but got much better when he started school. However, for the last few months he's been getting worse and worse.

He started off not being able to get to sleep, saying he had bad thoughts and that he hated going to bed because he was lonely and bored. He's quite anxious and the bad thoughts were usually something like being worried about a lion coming into the house and eating everyone. We got him some worry dolls and let him listen to a story cd to go to sleep to, which helped a bit but he is still often awake at 9pm.

Now he's started waking early as well. He's not allowed to get up properly until 7am, and he is very good at reading or playing quietly by himself, but he usually still finds something to come in to us about. Just recently he has also started waking in the night for things like drink, wee, lost a teddy etc.

He can't cope with this little sleep and, although very bouncy when he first wakes up, gets really whiny and stroppy in the afternoon. I can't cope either as his 3yo sister is also not brilliant so on a bd night we can be woken 5 or 6 times between them at then ds is awake from 5am. I can make him stay in bed but I can't make him stay asleep!

He gets plenty of exercise as well. Yesterday we went to a safari park all day and he ran around like a lunatic outside all day. He fell asleep at 9.30pm and woke up 5.15am! Am dreading the resultant meltdown later.

Was going to post in sleep but everyone there has non sleeping babies or toddlers and i didn't want to depress them! Would be so grateful for any advice as we are all on our knees.

weaselm4 Sat 16-Feb-13 08:03:57

Hi LiegeandLief, you have my sympathies, this could be my DS.

He is 7 in a few weeks, has never been a good sleeper either. When I was working FT we just used to let him come in with us so that we could get some sleep.

Now he will only go to sleep if myself or DH are cuddling him. We do get an evening to ourselves, but he'll come into our bed early hours.

It's the same as for your DS: feeling lonely, having bad thoughts (often about our hamster dying), feeling anxious.

I've tried a reward system for staying in his own bed, light on, cuddly toys, story CDs, talking through his fears. sigh

So I'm afraid I don't have any answers, but wanted you to know you're not alone. I also have a 4 yr old DD, but I think she'll stop getting up at night when her big brother does as she's much less highly strung than he is!

LiegeAndLief Sat 16-Feb-13 22:27:40

Thanks very much, I'm sorry you're going through the same thing but it's good to know we're not alone! Seems like by the time you get to 6 noone's talking about sleep problems any more...

He does come in our bed sometimes but is the most terrible wriggler even when he's asleep, and he's all knees and elbows and bony bits, so we both find it very hard to sleep with him. Funnily enough he also has a very laid back younge sister, I spend a lot of time worrying about ds but I think she will cruise through life!

weaselm4 Sun 17-Feb-13 07:34:16

Yy! My DD is the same. She seems so sorted, at the tender age of 4! I've always worried about DS way more.

I know what you mean about the bony bits, especially elbows!

I think the next step for us will be trying to make sure he always sleeps in his own bed, even if that means me getting some uncomfortable nights cuddled up with him! Hopefully he'll start to feel happier in his own room...

HotheadPaisan Sun 17-Feb-13 07:41:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

roundabout1 Mon 18-Feb-13 18:24:35

My dd is 7 and an awful sleeper of late but complicated by recent medical problems, we have tried audio books, meditation cd, reward system you name it but rarely is she asleep before midnight. She is awake 7 - 7.30 so not an early riser but can't be having the sleep she needs. I think with my dd it is a real physical inability to sleep so I do sympathise with her but it is so frustrating, I am on my knees with tiredness & have a younger dd who wakes in the early hours so normally ends up in with us as I am so exhausted. I am embarassed by how bad our nights are, it makes me feel a complete failiure as a parent blush

orangeandlemons Mon 18-Feb-13 18:26:34

Lavender seems to help my dd settle

Krustyandthekids Mon 18-Feb-13 20:40:15

This is the post I have been hoping for!! My DS (6) is also an awful sleeper (always has been) and it's driving me mad! He's regularly up for 2-3 hours a night complaining that he cant sleep / has had a bad dream / is too hot / something else that's a load of rubbish!!

I think he's lonely and wants to check we are still there but it's driving me so mad that I get cross with him (this has been going on so long and he won't just play/read/relax in bed) - it's the middle of the night and so I often lose my temper which is the worst thing to do I know but I just can't help myself!

Last night I even got to the stage where I dragged him out of bed while he was whining / crying and said "see - that's what you make mummy do every night - not nice is it!?!" blush angry

Juustanothermnetter Mon 18-Feb-13 21:25:33

Not sure if this will help but when I was primary age I wa terrified when I woke at night and generally crawled into parents bed. My parents were at breaking point when they decided I could come into their room but I slept on the floor - made myself a little camp bed (lay on one duvet with another on top). Perfectly comfortable for a child, close enough to feel secure yet no need to wake parents. (although mum always woke a bit I think).

Good luck smile (am currently struggling with 2yodd and 10mo ds bad sleepers - think its my payback).

Krustyandthekids Mon 18-Feb-13 22:32:27

I remember doing something similar but not till a bit older. My mum says she feels my pain so perhaps you're right and it's payback!! grin

However, it's reassuring to feel like I'm not the only one. This too shall pass (apparently just in a few years!!! hmm)

LiegeAndLief Mon 18-Feb-13 22:58:30

Wow there are more of us! Sorry everyone. Amazingly, ds slept right through from about 8:30 to 6:30 last night (although he says he woke at 4am, but that doesn't count as he didn't wake me!), but dd was very unusually awake for 2 hours from 3am. And ds was back to school after half term, which exhausted him so he was in a terrible mood this afternoon. Which I was far too tired to deal with.

Oh, and it' my birthday, so feeling a bit sorry for myself! Fingers crossed for tonight... Seriously considering camp bed in our room. Think we'd never get rid of him though and dd would probably want to move in too.

narmada Mon 18-Feb-13 23:12:45

I am wondering, if this has got worse in recent months, could it be to do with the fact it's winter, OP? For some people (I am one) sleep and winter are a difficult combo - there's not enough bright morning light to regulate circadian rythyms properly. It's really really common for people to have winter sleep problems in countries with little winter daylight (like finland, northern sweden etc).

If you can afford £50 it might be worth getting a SAD light and sitting him in front of it for half an hour or so in the mornings before school.

Suttyshotty Mon 18-Feb-13 23:24:33

You could be talking about my life, I thought it was only my 6 year old DS who doesn't sleep! He drops off in our bed, we evict him when we come to bed and then the wandering starts, I'm hot/cold/thirsty/had a funny dream/just want to ask a question/have a cuddle/stroke your hair......aaaarghhhh. It improved slightly when we started bribing him with cold hard cash which we kept in a little pot £1 for all night in his bed £1 taken out if works quite well as an emergency wine fund come month end.
How I laugh when new parents speak of this sleeping through the night myth....six bloody years of broken sleep!!brew

fanjobiscuits Mon 18-Feb-13 23:32:17

My brother was like this, and was allowed to listen to the radio at night and given a toy that lit up, which distracted him and helped him sleep.

Branleuse Tue 19-Feb-13 08:42:59

ask your doctor about melatonin ?

MerryCouthyMows Tue 19-Feb-13 09:47:36

My DS1 is still a terrible sleeper at nearly 11. By 7yo, though, he learnt not to wake me. I am a bitch when woken from what little sleep I get.

He reads. He goes to bed at 9.00pm on a school night, but is rarely asleep before 11pm - often 1/2am in the winter. He wakes at 7-ish. When I get him up.

Tbh, he probably has elated sleep phase disorder, lots in our family have it, me included. Holidays and weekends he will sleep in far later.

As would I if 2yo DS3 EVER flipping slept!

Just teach them that it is unfair for your sleep to be disturbed unnecessarily, and that you will be far more able to play with them and be kind and non-shouty if they don't disturb your sleep too much.

Mine know the rule - unless it is medically induced (runs, vomit, fallen out of top bunk, bleeding or damage to limbs, or a nightmare) then I have no wish to know, no need to know before 7am!!

If it is general anxieties (and there are a lot of them, all my DC's are on the Spectrum...), then they can have a quiet time on the morning 1-2-1 with me, to discuss it and we will come up with a solution we can try that night. I don't need to be disturbed for every anxiety. If I was, I would LITERALLY NEVER sleep.

They learn eventually. It's fine for them to not need as much sleep as you. It's NOT fine for them to disturb your sleep unnecessarily.

LiegeAndLief Tue 19-Feb-13 19:32:54

He has been listening to the radio/story CD to help him get to sleep at night, I think it takes his mind off all the things going through his head.

Interesting about the SAD - I'm now wracking my brain to try and remember when he has been sleeping particularly badly! Come to think of it he slept terribly over Christmas and the last month or so when the weather was bad - the last two nights he has slept much better and it has been lovely and sunny the last two days. Maybe there is something in it! Might start a diary or something to see if there is a pattern.

Does melatonin help regulate sleep patterns? I think I would feel a bit of a fraud going to the doctor as he will go through quite long phases of sleeping well- then it all goes to pot again. Dd is very similar.

Neither of them have ever needed much sleep, which doesn't bother me in itself. Dh is similar and apparently still woke at 6-7am all through his teens! (very unlike me...) and ds, to be fair to him, is generally not bad at staying quietly in his room. It's more a problem when he isn't sleeping enough even for him and his behaviour deteriorates, and I'm not in a good place to deal with it because I'm sleep deprived too.

I waited and waited and waited for these toddlers who were going to sleep 7-7 with a 2 hour nap in the day - never happened! Both dropped their naps by about 18 months and have slept 12 hrs straight a handful of times when ill. It's just as well I love them grin

tazmo Tue 19-Feb-13 21:58:47

Poor you. Are you sure he isn't getting over stimulated? Do you have relaxation time to help him wind down? Not an answer but when I find ds out do routine and up late, he tends to wake up,early too. Our ds sleeps,relatively well but he does come through at night a lot and we just let him sleep in our bed. Maybe his time seeing as he hasn2 sisters who r younger than him. He is 4.5.

orangeandlemons Thu 21-Feb-13 10:19:43

I found story cd.s over stimulated my dd so she couldn't sleep. Se now has lullabies, and lavender.

You have my sympathies, my dd also has delayed sleep disorder. She always has to be woken in the holidays, and prefers to go to bed late. I think this causes problems for children and is often unrecognised. I agree that melatonin is supposed to help, but not used it myself

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