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insomniac dd

(6 Posts)
bamzooki Tue 18-Sep-07 21:54:25

Hope this is the best place to put this. I have searched for previous threads but didn't really find much.

I am hoping for some suggestions for new ways to tackle dd's sleeping habits.
She is 9 and has never needed as much sleep as ds, and doesn't go to bed as early as I would like, but if I make her she just lies awake. So to allow for individual differences, her bedtime is usually around 9.30pm and mostly will drop off fairly quickly. That I can live with.
The problem now is she wakes after about 3 hours and then we have anywhere from 30 mins to 3 hours of 'i can't sleep'. This has been gradually getting worse over the course of this year from being an occasional bad night to there being an issue of some sort most nights.
We have tried no tv after 5pm, ditto electronics of any description, hot chocolate, lavender baths, reading, listening to gentle music, chamomilla drops etc. Nothing helps consistantly.
Part of the issue now is that she goes to bed expecting to have problems getting to sleep which obviously doesn't help.
I am worried that if we don't find a way round this then she will be setting herself up for much bigger sleep problems in later life.

It is also wearing me down too - and I am finding it hard to remain sympathetic when she appears at my bed yet again and I just desperately want to be asleep! blush

Anyone have any ideas/experience of this?

Elasticwoman Tue 18-Sep-07 22:24:57

Poor you, Bamzooki, you must be bushed. You are doing a lot of good things, like banning electronics after tea time etc.

My dd is an owl rather than an insomniac, in that she tends to stay awake in the evening and not want to get up in the morning. The way I have always dealt with it is to say: this is your bedtime, you have to go to bed and leave Mummy and Daddy alone. if you can't sleep you may read. Now my dd has always been a keen reader. If yours isn't, could I suggest story tapes in a personal stereo so no one else can hear it? Let her use it any time of the night she likes, but encourage her to be lying down and turn the light off (the pictures are better that way grin). Explain that you are there for her if she needs you, but if the only prob is she can't sleep, you don't want to be disturbed. Give her other strategies for getting to sleep too, like imagining restful situations, tensing and relaxing each muscle in turn etc. You can probably get a relaxation tape/CD from somewhere.

You can't make her sleep, but you can insist on some rules that make it more likely and give her ways of making her insomnia bearable. Just because she can't sleep, doesn't give her the right to inflict her insomnia on you. My dd accepted that at her age, it is not an unreasonable expectation on your part. Of course if she is unwell, or distressed for any reason, that's different.

BTW is she v bright? Stephen Fry who is notoriously brainy, said he could read 4 books a night in his insomniac phases!

bamzooki Tue 18-Sep-07 23:06:07

Hi Elasticwoman - thanks for your thoughts.

The 'owl' tendancy is similar except that I had put the reluctance to wake in the morning to her lack of sleep at night. Admittedly that is another change - she always used to be first up in the morning.

She is bright, but will only concentrate on stuff that catches her interest, so certain aspects of school get scant attention!
But she does internalise everything. Ds wears his entire psyche on his sleeve, but I have to catch the subtle vaguaries with her to pick up on things that may have upset her. Odd comments said to her can resurface days/weeks later and only then do I realise that it was a problem.
Obviously I realise that this side of her begs the question 'is she worried about anything?' but as far as I am able to tell or get out of her, there doesn't seem to be.

I hate the thought of her lying there for ages unable to sleep, my own odd experiences have shown me that it can be an isolating time, but at the same time I have no magic wand to wave to make her sleep, and I need sleep too!

<hearing footsteps upstairs> Sigh. Here we go again. I checked a few minutes ago, she seemed dead to the world.

bamzooki Wed 19-Sep-07 10:09:45

Bit of bump for the day time folk.

Last night wasn't so bad in the end - she was only around for about 50 mins.....but still didn't want to get up this am.
I might go back to the herbalist lady as she said there were other options to the chamomilla, but I can't help wondering if I'm missing something in the big picture?

Elasticwoman Wed 19-Sep-07 15:57:49

My dd never wants to get up in the morning. Not unless it's her birthday or she's going on a long journey. Don't expect a whole personality change!

bamzooki Thu 20-Sep-07 23:56:50

Lol, I guess you are right!

Actually <whispering> she slept right through last night. Crossing fingers for tonight now.

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