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just can't cope anymore

(16 Posts)
lavesh Fri 21-Mar-14 10:19:30

My kids have both been terrible sleepers, they are now 7 and 3. We have tried so hard to be strict, we have a nightly routine that we rarely deviate from. We've tried every 'intervention possible' making sure we give everything a chance to get established. We have success for a day or two and then it goes back to being bad again. they are lovely kids in the daytime although very tired.

DD(7) claims to have 'nightmares in her head' when she tries to go to sleep and becomes really hysterical and wakes up/keeps awake DS. DS generally goes to sleep but is prone to waking up for an hour in the night and shouting really loudly for us or coming in our bed.

It's got to the point where DH is sleeping in the spare room more often than not (as he works long hours), I have given up my job as can't cope with lack of sleep. Our physical relationship is suffering. The sleep deprivation and lack of mental space is making us both really angry and we have resorted to shouting to get the kids to go back to bed and stay asleep.

It feels like we are at a crunch point, my DD announced to another Mum at school that I had shouted 'shut up' at her - which I did after hours of messing about at bed time and making so much noise I thought she would wake DS up. It made me feel dreadful. I am losing my temper all the time. I can't understand how we have got here. Both DH and I were apparently bad sleepers as children.

Has anyone got any ideas? I feel like the shittest parent on the planet right now. Would just completely refusing to acknowledge them (apart from illness or a really genuine nightmare) after 7pm work?

Pleasejustgo Fri 21-Mar-14 10:30:20

Im afraid I've no words of wisdom having suffered severe sleep deprivation for two years.

I will say losing your temper is understandable under the circumstances so don't berate yourself. Losing it only makes you feel worse but you're only human so it seems like you're caught in a vicious cycle. My eldest daughter knows when I'm exhausted and she plays up most then for some reason and yes I don't handle is amazingly much of the time.

The effects of sleep deprivation are utterly horrendous and not given enough recognition.

Re the sleeping someone once suggested lying on the floor next to them an wait for them to sleep an each nice lie a little further until you've eventually in your own bed. They did this and it worked for them. Mine are so hyper in the day the just crash but the baby won't sleep unless she is on someone but she is very new.

My physio won't even see me at the moment as she says it's pointless until I get some sleep as that's what's causing my aches and pains-I agree.

Sleep is how our bodies heal so easier said than done but try and formulate a sleep plan. (Says me after throwing the soup on the floor and crying hysterically last night as I've not slept for 36 hours - business trips! Argh!).

Handholding. It's not easy functioning like this.

Pleasejustgo Fri 21-Mar-14 10:35:04

Sorry forgot to add she may be having night terrors. Which is fairly common and I've break breaking the sleep cycle may halt them.

There is a lot I research out there which may help. Hopefully she'll grow out of it soon.

lavesh Fri 21-Mar-14 10:38:41

Thank you Pleasejustgo,I'm so grateful to hear that we're not alone. I feel so stupid posting this stuff as I'm sure all parents struggle with sleep at some point but this has been relentless for years.

I just don't like myself very much at the moment and body aches all the time and I can't think straight - thought I was just getting old but think you're physio is on the money!

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 10:39:58

Is there anything in their lives that are frightening them?
What are they like during the day?

lavesh Fri 21-Mar-14 10:42:37

I'm not sure about night terrors, she is a very lovely but highly strung anxious character and always has been. The nightmares come in phases but she seems to get anxious at bedtime as she's frightened that they will come in the night. We always read her a calm story and sit on the landing until she falls a asleep but recently this has not been enough. I think over tiredness is a big issue.

I'm not sure what causes the insomnia in DS - although I think I was the same in the 1970s but drs just used to give out strong antihistamines (phenergen) to my Mum which I don't think they'd do anymore.

lavesh Fri 21-Mar-14 10:45:47

Bluepen, thanks for responding, their lives are pretty lovely really, apart from two now very frazzled parents. They both have lots of friends, trips out, school and pre-school are lovely. we've had a couple of stressful bereavements but this was going on long before that happened. We've talked to a counsellor about helping DD with losing a grandparent, but genuinely this situation was going on long before that happened. I don't think it helped but it hasn't triggered it either.

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 10:48:55

Is your daughter frightened of things during the day?

Pleasejustgo Fri 21-Mar-14 10:51:52

Sleep detoxifies your brain so as crazy as it sounds you do actually go a bit mad with prolonged sleep deprivation.

Ive done a little reading recently grin

And no you're definitely not alone.

My daughter also has come to realise her mother is not a raving loony and realises there is a difference in me when I'm tired. She is old enough to be sensitive to things like this thankfully as she is almost a teenager. He sisters are babies so a little different there.

I find massage helps but then I need everyone from me for a bit afterwards to recharge and enjoy my bubble of serenity. I don't know if you're able to have that space - I have to demand it sometimes as we have babies everywhere at the moment. I don't know how possible a day in a therapy room is for you but it absolutely makes a difference to me as it enables me to relax. I mean a proper therapeutic massage though for aches and pains and all the rest not flouncing around a day spa type massage wink

Each to their own however but this is what greatly helps me as if I'm not functioning on a physical level it all goes to bits.

Failing that I live in hot baths with all sorts of oils promising deep sleep and relation in sheer desperation!

As long as your rested and relaxed it all falls into place so whatever you need to do to get there do it.

lavesh Fri 21-Mar-14 10:52:59

In the day they are like normal kids (lovely but naughty at times). DH and I are fine too relationship wise. Apart from crushing sleep deprivation!

lavesh Fri 21-Mar-14 10:59:15

DS is in pre-school 2 mornings a week so I get a bit of head space and DH encourages me to just put my feet up during that time as I am doing the lion share of getting up in the night.

Pleasejustgo - I do feel like I am going mad so it is good to know that lack of sleep is a key factor. I am flying off the handle for small bits of bad behaviour and can't cope when they wind me up at the moment. I really hate being like this. DD sulks a lot and is very reproachful about me losing my temper. I end up feeling like a complete shit. I have tried calm 'mummy is so tired' etc chats as well but she just says she is too scared when she feels like that. I've explained that everyone gets nightmares and they are horrible but they don't hurt you and she can read her book for a bit when she wakes up but doesn't really sink in.

DS is too young to reason with. I have shouted at him in the night on occasion and he just looks mortified.

I do have friends whose children just sleep through the night 90% of the time and I can't see much different between how we are as a family and them.

Pleasejustgo Fri 21-Mar-14 11:09:08

Maybe track her day as it where and see what she is being exposed to as dreams are processing awake time.

Maybe try a day where she is exposed to different things so she is thinking about different things before bed?

I'm no psychologist though! It may just be an horrendous phase you're going to have to wait out. Maybe she is scared of dying due to rent deaths? My DD had something similar as she is also very highly strung. She doesn't wake up but has trouble falling asleep as she ruminates for hours. Yes it drives me to distraction too sometimes.

lavesh Fri 21-Mar-14 11:16:40

Yes, maybe cutting out TV after a certain time might help she watches TV (only Cbeebies so not scary) between 4 and 5 while I make tea after school. Would also act as an incentive to sleep.

I think DD thinks that she should fall asleep the minute she gets in to bed and gets frustrated after about 30 seconds of trying.

I am going to try the TV thing, it is the last thing we've got left to try...

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 11:42:35

Lights. Do you have lights on or off?
Strangely, when I was little I liked a bit of light, now I dont want any at all.

bluepen Fri 21-Mar-14 11:43:25

Also say that resting is good.
I am of the opinion that resting is nearly as good as sleeping - for you and for her!

Twinklestein Fri 21-Mar-14 14:28:42

Do your children listen to audiobooks as they go off to sleep? That can be effective.

I guess you've tried sleep and relaxation CDs.

I say no tv an hour or two before bed, and make sure that we don't rev them up just before bed.

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