How worried should I be about sleep issues?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by julierose24, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. julierose24

    julierose24 New Member

    Hi! I'm relatively new here. I have an adopted 6 year old daughter who was recently diagnosed ADHD. She is also defiant, can be aggressive, has major meltdowns, etc. (which all started recently).

    My question is about sleep. My daughter slept normally until age 3- at which point she took about 2 hours to fall asleep and was up about 6 times per night. More recently, she goes to sleep in her own bed, and then comes to sleep on our floor sometime in the middle of the night. I'm not sure how much she actually sleeps because we have taught her not to wake us up unless she needs something (otherwise no one would sleep).

    I know she has trouble falling asleep and wakes up several times each night . We give her 3ml of melatonin each night- not sure if it helps or not.

    Last night she had a major meltdown. This morning she slept until 8 (very rare, usually up at 6). I think maybe her meltdown was related to being tired. How big a factor is sleep?

    She is going through a scared phase right now, doesn't like to be alone, afraid of dark, etc.

    Is there anything I can do to help her?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It is common for drug exposed kids to have sleep issues. We adopted my son Sonic at age two. He and us didn't sleep for two/three years. It seemed as if he never slept. Melatonin helped for a while, but it seemed to wear off. Naturally, we felt it was important. We were exhausted!!! But he didn't seem affected by it. He reminded us of the Energizer Bunny: He took a licking and kept on ticking! Nothing slowed him down.

    I don't know about your child, but my son would melt down the most when he was frustrated and sometimes when he was overstimulated andl, yes, tired. But the tired part was only one aspect of what made him melt down. In his early years, it honestly didn't take much.

    If it makes you feel any better, he outgrew the sleep problems and is a good sleeper today, as a young adult. He got a lot of interventions and rarely shows difficult temperment these days...keep the faith!

    Is your child on ADHD stimulants? That can make the sleep issues even worse.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I would definitely be concerned. Seems, from your description, that something is "disrupting" her sleep. While it may be typical childhood anxieties (such as monsters under the bed) - it may also be more serious.

    Did you discuss this with your pediatrician? Perhaps a sleep study is in order?
  4. julierose24

    julierose24 New Member

    Yes, her pediatrician is aware, but didn't offer any help. I'll ask her psychiatrist at our next appointment. She is on adderall xr, but the sleep issues started way before we started medication.

    Im just wondering if sleep might be the reason for these meltdowns. The meltdowns/defiance/aggression is new, and the sleep issues are not- so probably not.
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    If the sleep issues are caused by something malfunctioning in the brain - it can all be related....and become more and more pronounced as she continues to grow...
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The effect of sleep issues is cumulative.
    I can run for months on 6-hours-a-night.
    I can handle a week or so of 4-hours-a-night.

    But... too many 4-hour nights, and... I start going down hill, and each additional week that I push too hard, it gets worse.

    Even if the sleep issues are not new, the impact may be newer due to other changes such as school.
    For example... she may have had "some" anxiety, but school etc. makes that 100x worse... so the sleep problem gets worse?

    There's just so many possible causes when it comes to sleep. And SO very many impacts.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm just curious. How well does she communicate? Has she been able to tell you how she feels? Does she have a pallet in your room that she uses when she gets in there? Sometimes there is a rather normal explanation for changes in behavior or patterns especially around that age. Fingers crossed. DDD
  8. julierose24

    julierose24 New Member

    She has a sleeping bag under our bed -when she wakes up, she comes into our room, takes it out and uses it.

    As far as communication -I've always thought of her communication skills as good. She spoke early, and talks non stop. But recently, I'm not so sure. She has trouble articulating how she is feeling, and why she is acting the way she is. She knows that she has changed (she recently wrote "I'm not who I used to be." I asked her who she used to be, and she said "Kind."). But she can't tell me why or how. She once said that she has something inside of her that tells her to make mommy and daddy mad.

    As far as sleep, is there something specific that I should ask her dr about? or a certain test to request?
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm just brainstorming so don't get concerned. Has she been exposed to new people or a new environment lately? Some of our kids are hyper sensitive and don't make changes well. DDD
  10. julierose24

    julierose24 New Member

    No, no new people or situations that I can think of.
  11. aliyawilson

    aliyawilson New Member

    Yes you are right! sometime kid didn't sleep because of nightmare and any horrible experience. So, talk to her.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Let's see... age 3? Did she start pre-school about then?

    Anything remotely related to school can be a trigger for a kid with challenges.
  13. SmallTownMom

    SmallTownMom New Member

    This reminds me so much of my difficult child, for a couple years I would wake up and find him in my bed with me. If I sent him back to his room a meltdown of epic proportions would ensue. He was started right before his 8th birthday on Concerta and Risperidone. This helped with his mood swings. I was fortunate enough that he was old enough to communicate with me.

    We talked about me needing my room as my private space just like he had his room. I asked him when he was going to start sleeping in his room.. he said "when I am 8". We then made a countdown sheet as to how many more day he had before he wasn't allowed to sleep in my room. We had many discussions about what he could do if he woke up worried or scared. I let him pick out his own special night light, and he would turn on the hall light if he felt he needed to.

    As soon as he turned 8 it was such an easy transition for us. He has at times, asked to come into my room and I have said yes on 2-3 occasions. He is a very independant 9 year old now, but he still sleeps with a hall light on. It makes him more comfortable and that is fine with me.

    Good luck.
  14. ciounoi

    ciounoi New Member

    Hi there,

    I have had sleep issues through much of my life. It could definitely be causing your daughter's meltdowns. If I do not have enough sleep, I get what I call "emotion volcanoes". I could be just sitting on the couch doing nothing and all of a sudden I will have a very strong negative emotion come over me... anger, depression, guilt, etc. I'm an adult and it's very hard for me to not burst into tears or snap at someone when I feel so incredibly angry/depressed/guilty!

    My sleep issues are caused by sleep apnea, which is a condition where breathing stops while you sleep and your brain is "woken up" so you can breath again. You could get her checked out for that... go through your general practitioner and ask to have a sleep study done, if possible. If you do this, however, keep in mind that most people believe you need to be overweight to have sleep apnea. Most doctors (not sleep doctors) I have seen are shocked that I have sleep apnea since I'm a normal size... I have a very small windpipe that causes my apnea. Might be worth checking out!