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Please help my 6 year old DD get to sleep

(10 Posts)
ninja Sat 05-Sep-09 08:15:42

My 6 year old DD really struggles to get to sleep - she's normally in bed between 8 and 8.30 (it used to be earlier but now she goes after her 11 month old sister).

She's always had a story and we normally let her listen to a bit of a story CD.

She then lies in bed for up to 2 hours trying to get to sleep

She's never been a good sleeper (and that's an understatement!) and at least she now goes to bed happily.

However, she increasingly gets bigger and bigger bags under her eyes during term tiem and catching up in the holidays just makes getting to sleep harder.

I think it has been slightly worse since her sister was born and since DD2 was 2 months DD1 has been wetting the bed (this would be most nights if we didn't lift her).

Please give me your words of wisdom, it's awful going to bed and going into her and she asks me how to go to sleep.

I've tried child relaxation/mediataion CDs, night lights, no lights, massage hmm, ...

FlamingoBingo Sat 05-Sep-09 08:25:38

Why can't she have the story cd on while she's going to sleep? Sometimes listening intently to something does actually help you to switch off.

I'm also wondering if the pressure isn't helping. If I'm worried about going to sleep because I've got to be up early the next day, then I invariably take ages and ages to get to sleep.

I'd suggest that you just tell her it doesn't matter if she sleeps or not, but that she needs to rest, so just enjoy listening to the story, and then change the cd when it finishes.

Get her loads of new stories, and don't make bed time about sleep, but about rest.

ninja Sat 05-Sep-09 10:03:17

Thanks Flamingo - that's a good idea about telling her to rest.

I'm not sure about the story CD as she does have a great capacity to stay awake, but I guess it can't do any harm to give it a try.

jamandjerusalem Mon 07-Sep-09 14:17:43

I remember my mum taking me to the doctor when I was about that age as I used to lie awake for hours and it bothered me. Doctor said exactly as Flamingo suggests - it doesn't matter if you sleep or not. I think it did change my perspective. I've been a relatively good sleeper since then, really.

Might be worth trying one of these Bodyclocks. Expensive, I know, but they can really help your brain to know what it's supposed to do! You can set it to dim slowly over 30 minutes from bright daylight to darkness, and the reverse as an alarm clock in the morning - this wakes you up gently.

We bought one for when we had blackout blinds in our bedroom - meant we could set a consistent waking up time which wasn't too sudden and made up for the 'unnatural' blackout. I loved it, it helped my moods and with stress too.

Think they have a 30 day trial on their website so worth a go if you can spare £60 up front?

ninja Tue 08-Sep-09 08:57:24

thanks Jamandjerusalem that's good to hear that you sleep well now.

The thing is DD does seem really tired a lot of the time, she has rings under her eyes and she gets grumpy.

I have been letting her listen to the story, but after 2 nights of indefinite listening (asleep after 11) I turned it off at 9.30 last night (asleep by 10.30)

That bodyclock does look interesting I might investigate more.

jamandjerusalem Tue 08-Sep-09 13:22:21

The other thing a friend of mine tried with her DD (admittedly much younger than yours) is to set an alarm, after which it's lights out and sleep time.

She said there was something about the 'authority' of the alarm clock that really helped - sort of took all the emotion out of it.

Really feel for you, ninja. It's my current bugbear that people accept newborns don't sleep but assume by toddlerhood all is sorted. Think it's a big fat lie that's peddled, very unhelpfully! Good luck x

ninja Tue 08-Sep-09 14:48:31

Thanks JandJ - I do really feel for her as she asked me to try and find other ways to go to sleep. DH isn't good at going to sleep (well he's good at falling asleep on the sofa and not coming to bed until 4am hmm) and I'd love to get her into better habits.

Still thinking about the bodyclock - I don't think it'd wake her though, when we were camping in the summer she managed to sleep through the light mornings there.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Wed 09-Sep-09 15:29:46

I have the same problem with my five-year-old. She sleeps soundly once she's asleep but it takes hours to get her there -- she just can't seem to switch off her thoughts --and she is often very tired in the morning. DH and I were both like that as children too, so we do feel for her, but various strategies to help have so far failed.

TheFoosa Wed 09-Sep-09 16:01:41

She sounds EXACTLY like myy dd, also 6 - she finds it really hard to "switch her brain off" and has never been a good sleeper

Everyone used to say to me "just wait until she starts school, she'll be out like a light" - it never happened, in fact she got worse

we have just bought this, very good, we are working through it together

we have also started a lights out but door open policy, as before this she would insist on the light being left on, which isn't conducive to falling asleep

this week she has been falling asleep at about 9:30, which is fantastic for her as it would often be gone 11pm before she fell asleep

ninja Wed 09-Sep-09 21:27:16

We changed to a night light and often she has turned the light off which is a step up.

I do like the look of that book though - thanks

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