sleeping issues in 5yrs old

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by firstangel, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    But while D is doing better during daytime, night time is hell. He wakes up and doesn't want to go back to his bed, he says he wants to sleep with me instead. I'm not thinking straight enough at night to apply plan B, and I don't want to let him sleep with me, since I'm a single mum and I've read kids might get confused and think they can "replace" their dads, so I've never applied plan C and I go with plan A. Which implies I have to get up and bring him back to his room 5/10 days per night in periods like this. In good periods he would sleep through the night, but they're very rare. He's never been a sound sleeper, not even as a baby. Maybe he got it from my part, I've always had a sleeping issue and I take drops everynight.
    What do you think I should do? I'm really shattered, I NEED MY SLEEP to function during daytime!!! Do you think I should give in to plan C and let him sleep in my bed? Do you think I should try and give him melatonin??
    I tried to talk to him about it this morning, I said "We sould find a solution to this problem, do you have any ideas how we can do?"
    His answer was "No!"
    So I said "Do you want to listen to my idea? I think that when you wake up at night and see that it is not 7 yet you should go back to your bed and try and sleep again. What do you think?"
    "I think it's a great idea"
    "Are you sure you can do it, go back to sleep again without waking me up? Then when it's 7 you can come in my bed and we'll have our morning cuddles"
    "I'm not sure I can do it". And I'm quite sure he can't do it too.
    I have tried massage, reflexology, bach flowers, and drops of lavender essential oil on his pillow: nothing works. When he sleeps for two nights in a row and I start thinking "hey it's working!!", he proves me wrong with 2 weeks of interrupted sleep.
    One thing that I would like to understand: does melatonin give addiction? From what I gather it doesn't, right? But is it suitable for a 5yrs old?
  2. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    Obviously talk to a Dr before starting anything, but here is our routine...

    For DS, dinner, bath, wash hair, blow dry hair/take nebulizer medications/play nintendo ds, take melatonin (I crush 3mg and put on a spoonful of applesauce, but he knows its there), and allegra, put on pjs/diaper, pick out story, beat mom to bed, read, kiss, play nintendo ds again (he'll play for 5ish minutes and put it down and go to sleep).

    IF he gets up, I use the bedtime technique from supper nanny- First time he gets up, I repeat "time for bed little man." Give him a kiss. 2nd time he gets up, "time for bed" with no kiss. 3rd and any following times, say nothing. Take his hand and lead him back to bed.

    There is a clock out there that you can with a morning time. It'll stay lit a certain color all night, then when it's 7am or your chosen time, it'll change color so the child knows he/she can leave their room.

    My daughter doesn't fight about going to bed, but she can't fall asleep at a decent time without melatonin. I don't think melatonin is addictive. And from our experience it's certainly not- daughter took it for 2 years straight, and we stopped it this past november. She had no problems except being right back to not falling asleep at a normal time.
  3. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    Yes, of course I'll call the doctor tomorrow. Thing is that D.'s problem is not going to bed (provided we do all our rituals the right way), but he wakes up usually around 4 and won't go back to sleep again. Does melatonin only help to fall asleep or also to keep sleeping through the night? I'm not sure about that (and I take melatonin myself!!).

    D. can read numbers, so he knows what time it is when he wakes up. He has to come to my room, though, to see the time because he doesn't want lighted "scary" numbers inside his room. That's why it's even more difficult to get it back to his bed, he would only like to nuzzle near me at that point.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Have you talked to his pediatrician about the sleep issues? Have you had your child evaluated by a mental health professional to rule in or out childhood disorders? Having an understanding of what is driving the behavior will sometimes help determine the proper interventions that need to take place.

    Sometimes finding a middle of the road solution can be acceptable to both parent and child. What has worked for us at times is setting up a sleeping bag or mattress on the floor by the side of the adult bed and telling the child that he cannot wake mom when he can't sleep in the middle of the night, but he is allowed to come to the mattress in the parent bedroom and sleep there. That seems to alleviate the anxiety that often drives nighttime wakings but eliminates the need to engage the adult in making it better. It's a win-win situation in that everyone gets a better night's sleep.

    Hang in there and good luck.
  5. I used to keep a sleeping bag under my bed. If my son woke up early like that, I would allow him to sleep on the floor next to my bed. It served his need to not be alone at that time, but served my need to not have him in my bed.
  6. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    I forgot to add a few things-

    I personally wouldn't (and don't) worry about the taking the father role in your son. My little man slept in my bed for quite some time. My daughter slept with me from birth until 7, but since she's a girl it didn't seem weird to anyone else.

    Your siggie says you suspect aspie- I have not yet come across a parent with an autistic child that didn't deal with big sleep issues. It seems like autistic kids don't need as much sleep or just are not able to sleep in one long stretch like a typical kid.

    I have 2 here. Thankfully I'm a morning person. So when my son goes through his 3-5am waking stage, I'm good to go. My rule is 4:30. I will not get up before then. My daughter will sometimes get up between 1-2 and go watch TV. Once in a blue mood she'll fall back asleep, but for the most part, she's hopping on my bed at 4:31!

    My son got up once at 3:00am and decided to give the ferrets a bath in the toilet! LOL.

    When I go to bed, I set up a quiet morning activity in the livingroom as well as a sippy cup of strawberry milk, and a bowl of dry cereal in the fridge. If ds gets up before the allowed time, he's on his own (my apartment is autistic kid safe- locks and alarms everywhere).
  7. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    And again, sorry...Are you taking care of YOUR sleep issues? I had all my sleep studies done about 2 years and not faithfullly sleep with my CPAP every single night. This has made a huge difference in my mood and helps all around. Sleep well makes sleeping great, so I look forward to going to bed on time instead of dragging it out.
  8. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    People have such strong opinions about the notion of "the family bed." I, personally, have no problem with it and am convinced that almost every child will migrate to his/her own bed at an "acceptable" point.

    A couple things I have done with success, though, after I was getting some indications that she was "ready," (and I did it with both girls), was letting her pick out sheets she particularly liked, maybe choose some special, new things for the room to make it a place she felt ownership of, etc. What about a special "theme" for wall decorations, etc.?

    I didn't do this one, but what about some special reward immediately in the morning for having stayed in bed all night? Even something that would be "taboo" under most circumstances? A couple Hershey's kisses or a small handful of M & M's shouldn't totally destroy appetite for breakfast.
  9. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    I'll definetely give the sleeping bag a try, sounds like a good compromise!!

    Autismkids: what is CPAP? I'm taking Lormetazepam and Melatonin 5mg to help my sleeping issues. Lormetazepam is addictive, but it's better than not sleeping.
    I don't know how you do it, waking up at 4:30: it makes my 7am limit sound oversleeping :). I couldn't do it, work all day, minding D. the house and everything on top of sleeping 4 hrs per night.

    Emotionally: we've tried that and he also gets to watch cartoons during breakfast when he sleeps all night. But I think he can't control it: if he weaks up he'll get agitaded, and at that point falling asleep again it's probably impossible.

    Smallworld: D. has been diagnosed with ODD, but I do suspect Asperger's. I talked to the therapist about the sleeping issues and he suggested not to give in, which I didn't in the past 2 years. Looks like it doesn't work though.
  10. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    Have you ever had a sleep study? My doctor refused to prescribe anything for sleep until I had a study done. I have mild sleep apnea. So I stop breathing while I sleep, and it wakes me up so I breathe again and go back to sleep. This seriously disrupts the sleep cycle, so without CPAP (explained lower) I could sleep 12+ hours every single night and never actually sleep.

    Obstructive sleep apnea is when something physically causes one to stop breathing. In my case, my airway relaxes too much and basically closes. CPAP is continuous positive airway pressure. It's a small machine (with a hose that goes to my mask) that forces just the right amount of air pressure to keep my airway open while I sleep.

    I go to bed around 8-9, so I get my 8 hours (for the most part). Sometimes I'll be an idiot and stay up late. But now that my sleep disorder is treated, if I have a short night, it's still more restful than before CPAP. I also have no need for sleep medications, and never did, I just wasn't sleeping!

    ETA- when your body wakes from not breathing, you don't know or remember it, so you think you've just slept 8+ hours and still feel like ****
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  11. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    How about an alarm clock radio for his room. Turn it away from his bed (you said he didn't like scary lights) and cover it with a towel to block out any "scary" light. Set the time to when he is allowed to wake you and turn the volume down very low so if he IS sleeping it will not wake him but it is loud enough for him to know it has turned on.

    Once the radio turns on, then he can go to your room.

    Each night have a "theme" night. When he wakes up, if it is not time to go to your room, he is to lay back down, close his eyes and imagine an adventure. Together you can come up with the subject. For example, "Tonight if you wake up, think about what it would be like to take a trip to the zoo. Imagine visiting each animal, you get to pet the ones that are safe to pet. In the morning, you will have a story to tell me about your zoo adventure." Notice I used "if" and not "when" - you want to send the message that it is not necessary and you will not be disappointed if you don't get a morning story.

    Whatever your theme is, try to come up with an object (like a toy animal) to represent the theme and set it by his bed. That might remind him of what his adventure was going to be for the night.
  12. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Marge addressed nightmares in your Opposition Defiant Disorder thread.

    One other thing to watch for: When Diva was about 5 or 6, she started coming into our room and wanting to sleep with us every night. We did the cot on the floor. I could tell she was upset about something but she was unable to tell us what was bothering her.

    A few weeks later, she was able to face her fears and tell us. She had seen coverage on the news about a young girl who was abducted out of her bedroom and was missing. She was afraid that would happen to her. I was not even aware that she had heard this news story. I was very careful about not allowing this kind of news to be heard by her.

    I don't feel this is going on with your son since it seems to be an actual sleep issue. I thought I would mention it in case anyone reading this looking for possible answers does have an older child who without nightmares seems to be struggling with something. There is so much more coverage regarding missing children and then the earthquakes/other natural destructions and pictures. Kids don't have a concept of miles. A kid who does not live in an earthquake area can still be terrified for themselves in watching the Haiti news.
  13. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I think your pediatrician ought have D. seen by an ear/nose/throat doctor and have a sleep study completed. He could have sleep apnea or enlarged adenoids. Also, does he have asthma? That can disturb his sleep too. And, many children with sleep disorders find their behavior problems slip away when their sleep improves.
  14. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Haven't read any of the other replies, but one compromise might be to put a little sleeping bag or some pillows on the floor near your bed and let him lay there. It could just be anxiety and there's not a whole lot you can do about that. With his own little bed near yours, he still gets to be near you, but you also get your sleep and he stays out of your bed. Two of my three kids often woke up in the middle of the night at that age and crawled into bed with husband and I, and they are my two most anxious kids. With my youngest, we put her old crib mattress on the other side of our room on the floor (she had a twin size bed in her own room), so she could just lay down there if she woke up and came to our room.

    Just an idea...
  15. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    Thank you all for your advices, we'll give them a try and keep you posted.
    As I thought melatonin is good to help you fall asleep, but not to keep you sleeping, so it's not really working. I've put a sleeping bag near my bed tonight, and explained that if he has a bad dream he can come into my room and sleep near me. He was so thrilled that he wanted to go directly to bed into the sleeping bag :)
    I had to make it really clear that is just an "emergency bed" to be used for EMERGENCIES, but I expect to find him in my room earlier than usual tonight :)
    Have a good night everyone!
  16. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    And he did come into my room earlier than usual :), but we both got our night sleep, so I guess it's a good compromise. I'm a bit worried, since he likes his sleeping bag so much, that he'll keep sleeping there, just because it's fun... We'll see..
    We're leaving tomorrow, going on a well deserved vacation, have a good week!