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Giftedness and sleep?

(19 Posts)
TerrysNo2 Sat 26-Oct-13 08:58:28

I have read a few articles that gifted children need less sleep. No one has told me DS (almost 5yo) is gifted but he ticks all of the boxes which I read online (except he hasn't had an imaginary friend smile) and he is on an advanced reading programme at school but I am fairly sure.

He really struggles to get to sleep at bedtime, even if he is in his room reading alone by 7/8pm he won't fall asleep until 9/9.30pm. He doesn't seem to suffer the next day at all and so I am wondering if he just needs less sleep and therefore I should stop stressing about it. Although he does have to be woken for school at 7.30am.

Are there any recommendations as to how to help him wind down so he falls asleep a bit easier and earlier? FWIW he's not allowed computer games or TV after dinner anyway.


Lonecatwithkitten Sat 26-Oct-13 11:31:50

I wasn't aware it was associated with giftness, but DD has always needed less sleep dropped naps very early, was a very early riser and now struggles to sleep before 9pm unless I have exercised her to within an inch of her life. I don't have a solution though I am afraid.

JemimaMuddledUp Sat 26-Oct-13 11:37:53

DS2 refused to sleep as a baby, dropped naps really early (I had the ridiculous situation that pre-schooler DS1 was still napping in the afternoons long after baby DS2 had stopped), and as an older child every day starts at around 5.30am for him. I have come to the conclusion that he just doesn't need to sleep.

He is on the gifted and able register, not sure whether the sleep thing is linked.

EBearhug Sat 26-Oct-13 11:42:29

The clocks are about to go back, so you'll have to do some adjustments anyway. If he's used to waking at 7:30, maybe he'll wake earlier (or at his normal body clock time) and be more tired at the end of the day?

richmal Sun 27-Oct-13 07:26:34

What about story CDs.

Dd used to read for about half an hour then listen to a CD. I think darkness rather than reading with the light on tells the brain it's time to sleep.

I had not heard of a link between sleep and intelligence either.

sanam2010 Sun 27-Oct-13 21:54:09

i've heard about the link many times but i think it has actually not been proven, it's a typical gifted myth, there was a proper long term study with thousands of gifted pupils done in Germany and in that one there was no link, some gifted kids slept little, some a lot, I think on average they even slept a bit more than average. which is not to say that some gifted kids wouldn't sleep little. but you could have this problem of not wanting to sleep with lots of children, gifted or not. Just use the time productively with stories or reading. but not stressing about it is probably a good idea anyway, this 7pm / 7.30pm rule is very British but lots of Russians and Indians living in the UK, for example, are all fine with their kids staying up till 9 or 10pm and they have no problems in school either from personal experience. I was just talking to a Russian friend who's 3 year old is always up till 11pm and they had no idea this wasn't the norm.

Shakey1500 Sun 27-Oct-13 22:04:30

No idea if there's a link.

DS is on the "Able and Talented" register at school and is currently having a CAMHS assessment. He's 6yrs 2months old.

As a toddler he dropped his naps really early. Don't ask exactly when as I spent most of his young years in a sleep deprived fug grin

Consequently he was always shattered around early evening, frequently going to bed as early as 5.30pm. He was a deep sleeper and rarely woke. The downside was he always woke very early, around 5am was the norm. I had to reconcile that he was an early sleeper/early riser.

Even now, there is no quibble at 7pm when he goes to bed (I have to wake him at 5.30am to be at nursery for 7am, hence early to bed). He falls asleep fairly quickly after reading and really only wakes during the night if he's ill. Again (touch wood) this is rare.

At weekends he will still wake early, brush his teeth, wash his face and head downstairs, happy to amuse himself till we get up around 8am.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sun 27-Oct-13 22:14:06

Interesting. I haven't heard of a statistic link, but DS2 is our most highly able of the four (somewhere between the top 0.1% and the top 0.01%) and he has always needed a lot less sleep than most children his age. One of the benefits of him reaching adolescence is that he has started to sleep a bit more.

17leftfeet Sun 27-Oct-13 22:15:22

Both my dds are classed as 'g&t'

Dd1 had dropped naps before she was 1 and even if she did nap it was 10 minutes at most

She's now 12 and although she's in her room by 9pm she is seldom asleep before I go to bed between 11 and 11.30

Dd2 napped like a dream and I had to wean her off her afternoon nap before she started school

She is 10 and still likes 11 hours at night

Dd1 is very much maths and science focused, dd2 literacy and languages

Perhaps there is something in the theory depending on area of talent?

Shakey1500 Sun 27-Oct-13 22:21:55

Interesting 17

DS is seemingly talented in literacy. Also absorbs and craves data/facts/figures and has a far reaching memory.

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 27-Oct-13 22:22:25

DS1 is gifted (very very high IQ also has ASD) and is a horror if he doesn't have enough sleep. He's 10 and ideally needs 12 hours.

I've heard about the link and believe that they're all born different. If you're having to wake in the morning, then i think you'd be on a better track finding a calmer bedtime routine to settle earlier. Maybe start at 8 for in room time.

If you have a happy child then its not something to overstress.

TerrysNo2 Mon 28-Oct-13 13:06:55

Thanks for replies! I think you're right, each child is just different and thankfully DS doesn't seem to suffer from his late nights. Last night he was in bed with his lamp on at 7.30 and he was asleep at about 9pm. He was chirpy as anything when he woke us up at 7am!

SamPull Tue 29-Oct-13 11:21:43

DD (4.3) has never been G&T when it comes to sleep and currently seems to need about 10 hours, which gives us either a very short amount of 'down time' or not enough sleep.

If she's done nothing - or not much - physical she will only have 8 or 9 hours. Hopefully in the not too distant future she will be able to take herself downstairs and make her own breakfast but at the moment she is too young and so it would inevitably result in some kind of milk and/or cereal related disaster which would mean she'd wake us up anyway.

No solutions other then empathy I'm afraid. Also, the very strong coffee that is on offer at Sainsburys is quite nice.

Tanith Wed 30-Oct-13 11:35:09

DS is highly gifted and has always needed his sleep: 2 hours solid every afternoon right up until he went to school.

His school are evidently used to dealing with gifted children and Matron has a room where they can go and sleep if they need to (it's a boarding school). When he's at home, he does need his rest and we're careful about it, although he's a typical teen and likes to stay up late!

chillikate Thu 31-Oct-13 09:32:05

My DS struggles to shut his brain down to sleep.

We find the Christiane Kerr bedtime meditation CD really helps.

Idratherbemuckingout Thu 31-Oct-13 18:33:20

I have four highly gifted children aged from 13 to 29. The oldest, a girl, slept so much she worried me as a very young child. I must be the only mother who went to a health visitor and said my baby was sleeping TOO much as I was worried she wasn't getting enough stimulation.
She skipped Year 6 and went to selective school with a massive scholarship and bursary.
DS 1 and DS 2 both slept really well too and have huge IQs.
DS 3 however virtually NEVER slept and from the age of one wouldn't take a day time nap at all. This and wouldn't sleep before ten pm.
Later on it rose towards midnight and was a nightmare.
He sleeps a little better now - or should I say he amuses himself better when in his room supposed to be sleeping. He was extremely naughty as a small child to the point of being recklessly dangerous. Fingers crossed that now at 13 this might be past.
I was like him. I have a very high IQ and had exactly the same sleep pattern.
So I don't think it is related. It is just the individual child.

Cat98 Thu 31-Oct-13 22:30:26

Ds ticks most of the high potential boxes. Sleep is dreadful, still, age 5. He doesn't need much sleep, never has. It's exhausting - for us, he is coping just fine! No wonder he's an only child!

wearingatinhat Fri 01-Nov-13 08:58:39

DS is gifted and we had to seek support when he did not need much sleep. At 2 we had to take the day time nap out; he needed less sleep than we did! I too read that it was part of being very bright.

However, all this has changed and once he turned 7 he suddenly started to need 12 hours a night. He is in a school now that is more formal in its approach to learning and he gets a lot more homework, otherwise I cannot think what has changed.

Rockinhippy Sun 10-Nov-13 12:57:08

Interesting - I'd never considered sleeplessness to be linked to G&T,

DD definitely has this - I won't say suffers, because as a lot of you say, she doesn't seem to suffer with it at all, she just doesn't sleep much - I had put this down to her EDS/ JHMS as its linked to that too, hadn't realised there was a link here too.

She never really napped in the afternoon, even as a baby & has always been difficult to get off to sleep, though for the most part she's always been happy just lying in bed quietly reading or listening to music, even when very small, so it's not really been an issue & TBH I wasn't a baby person when she was tiny so just took her lead on it as I knew no better, so just thought it was her personality & thought no more of it. Its only since school started that I've been a bit concerned she should sleep more as her peers do - but even though sometimes she can have as little as 3 hours, she always amazes me & seems to cope just fine -

she now 11 & sounds very like your DD1 17 in that she's in bed by 9, but is still awake when I go to bed & often still awake if I get up in the middle of the night - she's Maths G&T too, though also with arts etc too

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