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3.5 year old getting up every 3 hours overnight and it's affecting her daytime behaviour

(13 Posts)
GlummyMummy Thu 08-Feb-18 07:13:45

My 3.5 year old daughter has never been a great sleeper, and I have posted on here before. For the last few weeks, she's got into the habit of getting up every 3 hours and coming into our room. You could set your clock by her! We take her back to bed, tuck her in and that's her until 3 hours later (to the minute) when it's repeated! Occasionally she wants a drink, but usually she wants nothing!!

She goes to sleep no problem at bedtime, usually cause she's exhausted by then, and is usually asleep by 7/7.30. We just leave the room after lights out and she's fine, falls asleep quickly.

The main issue is her daytime behaviour is testing and I'm convinced the poor sleep is adding to this. She's grumpy, always hungry, doesn't have a lot of energy and poor concentration.

We're knackered and at our wits end. How do we break this sleep cycle she's in? Anyone experienced similar?

GlummyMummy Thu 08-Feb-18 21:29:26


GlummyMummy Tue 20-Feb-18 19:19:51

Bumping again!

BangPippleGo Tue 20-Feb-18 19:23:17

She's old enough for you to tell whether jist because she's awake, doesn't mean you need to be. Explain that if she wakes up, she can play with a (pre-approved) toy in bed or read a book until she falls back asleep, but that she is not to wake you unless she feels very unwell or needs something that she can describe to you- so her saying there is nothing she needs isn't good enough. Does she have a night light?

Graphista Tue 20-Feb-18 19:26:38

Nightmares? Is she peeing before coming to your bed? What time roughly first waking? I'm wondering if she's cold, say your heating goes off 10/11pm by 1/2/3am could be quite cold in her room, or if you leave the heating on is she too warm?

GlummyMummy Tue 20-Feb-18 20:49:18

Thanks for your replies. She has a nightlight but it would be quite dark for reading or playing I think.

She usually gets up at 10.30/11 (could be related to heating going off) and then 2am. She usually needs us to help her at the loo so we do take her when she first gets up though she's pretty reluctant!

I have a feeling it's just a routine she's got stuck in now, but certainly willing to try anything!

Graphista Tue 20-Feb-18 22:03:49

Is she peeing when you take her to loo? A little or a lot?

I'm quite sensitive to temperature, 1/2/3am tends to be coldest time, she could be waking because she's cold.

As it seems to be same kinda times each night I suspect a temperature thing.

Is your heating noisy? So there's a sudden quietness when it goes off? She might be responding to that too.

43percentburnt Tue 20-Feb-18 22:17:11

Low background noise (radio or white noise) to mask the heating clicking off plus a onesie to make sure she is warm enough.

A gro clock - with a story, for example the star family don’t like her to get up until they have gone to bed, so it’s very important to stay with the baby stars all night. Or she needs to be in bed for the happy sun to appear in the morning?

I just got a wake up light and I love watching the light get brighter each morning. Maybe that would work? If she isn’t in bed she would miss it.

Or a little creature, mouse, squirrel, raccoon, who leaves pictures or notes for her if she stays in her own bed.

43percentburnt Tue 20-Feb-18 22:17:48

Not a real creature of course!

SM2132 Tue 20-Feb-18 22:18:03

Could you put on some background noise, a small fan or something similar? White noise helps some people have a better nights sleep.

PurplePotatoes Tue 20-Feb-18 22:24:52

We've had this with 4 year old DD for about a year. Wants to be tucked in, can't find a teddy etc etc ... at its worst its been up to 10 times a night. It started when DS was born. She doesn't come in though she just shouts and shouts and shouts until we go in. The only thing that's worked to any extent is a reward chart. Only problem is once we're at the end of the chart or lapse for any reason it starts up again. It's becoming more of a habit now though and we're down to shouting maybe once a night, some nights not at all.. so a definite improvement. My DD is afraid of the dark though so I think she just needs that reassurance that we're there.

theconstantinoplegardener Tue 20-Feb-18 22:55:19

If she is waking at very regular intervals, it sounds as if her sleep cycles have got into a habit. You could try rousing her slightly about 20 minutes before she's due to wake in the night - not enough so she's properly awake, but just tuck her duvet around her or move her arm so she stirs a little but doesn't wake. You will need to set your alarm clock to wake you at the appropriate times throughout the night for several nights. This may be enough to reset her sleep cycles so she doesn't wake every three hours.

GlummyMummy Wed 21-Feb-18 20:33:19

Thanks everyone. Some really helpful suggestions here. I particularly like the idea of leaving a little note for her, maybe from one of her toys - she'd love that.

Purple - she's also a bit afraid of the dark too, and it's very much a reassurance thing with her. That's why I find it hard as I'm so annoyed with her for waking us endlessly at night, but yet I don't want her to think she can't come to us if she's afraid or anxious.

Constantinople - you made a really valid point. In fact, her waking in the night coincided with us starting to go in and "check on her" at our bedtime. Basically checking she was tucked in, not hanging out the bed etc, but it was after that she started waking every 3 hours. Possibly just coincidence?!?

She was only up once last night actually so I was full of praise this morning for her!! We're lowering our standards - used to be reward for not being up at all, now it's a reward for just being up once!

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