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Difficult sleepers. What do you do for yourself?

(10 Posts)
twiice Tue 05-Dec-17 21:33:53

Parents of difficult sleepers. I won't go into our details suffice to say we are on 5 years and counting of difficult bedtimes and broken nights. Expert help is being sought for DC but I feel I need something too.

Some kind of counselling / support / even just someone who listens.

Anyone come across this? I don't think anyone in real life really understands how tough this is. No SEN so there is no obvious charity / support group.

FATEdestiny Tue 05-Dec-17 21:51:31

Cry-sis may help.

Closer to home, you could try your health visitor.

twiice Tue 05-Dec-17 22:05:55

Thanks FATE. For the avoidance of doubt these issues are with 1 DC who is now nearly 6 so I'm not sure HV would still help? Cry-sis also appears focused on babies. But I guess they may be able to signpost another service..

isittimetogotobed Tue 05-Dec-17 22:53:33

My child is 13 so we have been at this for a while.
He was a good sleeper until age 6/7 and then he developed a bit of a sleep phobia.

People don't really understand the pressure it puts on you/ your relationship and your other kids.
I have four children and a full time job to contend with on very little sleep and it's awful.
Add in housework and having to do some work in the evenings on top of driving kids to after school clubs and I honestly feel like I could break.

I try to be kind to myself but I think counselling would be good for me too

WhoAteAllthePercyPigs Wed 06-Dec-17 02:24:06

flowers for you OP. My DC are only 2.6 and 4 weeks, so I'm nowhere near experiencing what you are going through. But wanted to reach out. My DD is currently going through a good stage where she's sleeping through the night, but this is a very recent thing. Since she was born sleep has been a huge issue for us (or lack thereof!) and has definitely taken its toll. My DH and I have mostly been sleeping separately, just to cope with the multiple wakings and full time jobs. Then I got pregnant again so that didn't help!

Since DS arrived DD's sleep got better - very grateful for that as I'm going through night feeds again. But I know there are no guarantees of this lasting.

Two years of shit sleep has affected my health - physical and mental - my marriage and my looks, and given me major anxiety issues around sleep, so I can only imagine how bad it's been for you.

I was referred for counselling when DD was 9 months. Did it help? A bit, if only to get me some 'me' time and put things in perspective. It didnt help i was going into it with an attutude of 'i don't need therapy I need sleep!' Looking back, I can see how useful the CBT techniques I picked up can be, and they have helped me on really bad nights. Could you ask your GP for a referral?

Lostmykeys Wed 06-Dec-17 02:33:10

Watching with interest - I have an 11 year old DS who rarely goes through night. I work full time and there have been some low points! Agree with isittinetogotobed - affects you, relationships and your other kids.
Not something that many can understand unless they’ve had first hand and experience. Others can be judge about poor sleep management when they were younger which is not helpful when some days you are literally on your knees.

twiice Wed 06-Dec-17 11:40:27

Thank you. It is good to hear from people who are going through something similar although of course I am very sorry to hear that you are also struggling.

I feel very sorry for DD and of course regularly ask myself whether there are things I could / should have done differently. She was a clingy baby and I held her a lot... Maybe I should have done less of that. But I know I was only doing what felt right at the time. I have another DC who sleeps really well so it can't be just our parenting.

The impact on me / us is so enormous and is hard for others to understand. It is hard for our relationship as we don't get evenings to ourselves, we never go out, we don't sleep in the same bed, we are constantly tired and we don't always agree on what approach is likely to be best (to be honest I think neither is us really knows anymore).

It is hard on me as I work as well as looking after DC and I am so tired. I have put on weight because I don't have time to exercise and I eat to combat exhaustion. My skin is constantly spotty. I don't know what I would do if my other DC wasn't good as gold and I feel bad for him in a way as he doesn't get as much of my time and attention.

Sorry this is basically just turning into a moan but it is good to write it all down. Oh and lostmykeys I know exactly what you mean about others' views on sleep management. My mum is particularly good at very deliberately trying not to criticise me but saying things like "I think it is really good that you are willing to look at what you might need to do differently" etc...

DubiousCredentials Wed 06-Dec-17 11:45:43

Op I could have written your post albeit my troublesome dc is 9. In all other areas she’s happy and confident but bedtimes and nights are a mess of separation anxiety for her. I was the same as a child and I have resigned myself that she’ll grow out of it. I did at around age 11/12 so probably the onset of puberty. I also have another dc who is an absolute angel at bedtimes and always has been.

Sleep issues in older children feel a bit like a dirty secret!

NameChange30 Wed 06-Dec-17 11:52:02

Hi all,
My son is nearly 9 months old and has never been a great sleeper but it’s been really bad since he was about 5 months old and terrible for the last month.
I realise it hasn’t been very long in the scheme of things but it’s so so hard and I can really relate to everyone’s posts.
Especially this:
“The impact on me / us is so enormous and is hard for others to understand. It is hard for our relationship as we don't get evenings to ourselves, we never go out, we don't sleep in the same bed, we are constantly tired and we don't always agree on what approach is likely to be best (to be honest I think neither is us really knows anymore).”

My two pet hates at the moment are:
1. Other parents who moan about their baby’s sleep when I would give my right arm for the amount of sleep they are getting. It’s not a competition but they don’t have a clue.
2. Well meaning and sympathetic parents who nonetheless can’t help being fucking opinionated. “Just stop breastfeeding” as if that’s going to magically fix things! And a particular gem that is still giving me the range... a comment about “responding to every whimper”. My Dad is particular seems to have decided that I’m some kind of anxious helicopter parent that picks up the baby every time he makes the slightest sound. Er no Dad he wakes himself up crying countless times a night so fuck off but thanks for that nugget of wisdom hmm

twiice Wed 06-Dec-17 12:10:28

dubious we're clearly in very similar boats. DD is also happy and confident during the day.

I was very anxious** at bedtime as a child (still to some extent) and my parents just told me to read until I fell asleep. Which I did and still do. I've tried the same approach with DD but she simply doesn't go to sleep - will read for 2 hours and still be calling downstairs for new books to be brought up..

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