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OMG, How to Deal With The "I Can't Sleep"s and therefore need to read all nights?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Dd read four long books last night (after bedtime) and is on the same track tonight. Anyone have any tips? She really couldn't sleep, but I can see we need a plan...

Dh loves that she is reading so much. Me, I'm fine with reading, but I think bedtime should be bedtime. How can I help her wind down and find another peaceful time to read? I think she wants to be a part of everything when her sister is awake and then stay up reading when dh and I are doing our quiet work. She is only home from school at 4 pm, dinner is at 5 pm, bedtime is at 7 pm, and she is very, very pokey at dinnertime and eats many, many courses. As you can see, that's not leaving her enough time to read. If she stays up past 8 pm, she really has trouble getting up for school in the morning and is cranky the next day.
post #2 of 32
Ds 'can't sleep' a lot. When that happens, we set the timer for 20 minutes, and he's expected to lie quietly in his bed for 20 minutes trying to fall asleep. If he's still awake when the timer beeps, he can get up for a few minutes (usually about 20-30), and then try again.

Ds is 8 1/2 and can read as long as he wants to in the evenings. I don't remember exactly when that started, but he is pretty good about stopping when he's tired. Usually he reads for 30 minutes, but it's been as long as an hour. His sleep needs are on the low end (about 9 hours).

Dd is 5 1/2 and we've just started letting her read in bed this year (she's upstairs now reading a Boxcar Children Mystery). Before this year she just listened to music. She needs considerably more sleep than her brother, and she's less good about self regulating. The only thing that makes this work is that she gets a rest time at school (she doesn't nap, but she does get a chance to read and be laying down). I don't know what we're going to do when she starts 1st grade and has to be up out the door 30 minutes earlier.

Have you tried music with your dd? Having a CD to listen to helps our dd a lot. If she doesn't like music, what about books on tape? I know the Magic Tree House books are on CD, and she could fall asleep to those.
post #3 of 32
Would you consider moving her bedtime to 8pm, giving her an extra hour?
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
I would consider moving her bedtime to 8 pm, as long as she isn't already cranky.

She shares a room with her sister, so I don't think the books on tape or music would work, as least not in bed. She really enjoys reading itself, not just the stories, so I don't know if that would go over, but she does like to listen to ballets and imagine what's going on in the story, but it would have to be a pretty gentle storyline for bedtime. Hmm, I'll have to think about music and books on tape. That's definitely outside what I was thinking...
post #5 of 32
My DD7 and I snuggle in MY bed, and read our books, till-8:00. At 8 she moves to her bed and its lights out.

This might be also be a good routine for you. It helps both my DD and I, wind down while having some snuggle time.
post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
She has reading time with me and then reading time with dh every night (that we're both home) before brushing her teeth and going to bed. Sometimes when we're done reading to her, she'll read to herself while I'm putting her sister to bed, or she'll sit next to dh and read to herself if he is working online. When we read with her we are reading to her.
post #7 of 32
I was the girl who couldn't stop reading (I still can't sometimes) and my mom tried so many things. When I was about nine I think she just gave up. With me it wasn't necessarily just reading though. Reading might have caused some insomnia but my books were taken away a few times and I still couldn't sleep. My mom tried making me listen to calming music, vacuum the whole house, lay in a dark room, gave me a deck of cards to play solitaire and nothing helped. I just never slept much. Could she maybe take a nap when she gets home from school?
post #8 of 32
I like Lynn's ideas.

I would not let DD stay up reading--she really needs her sleep. However, she is an early riser, and on weekends we make a big deal about how great it is to stay snuggled in bed and read half the morning (of course this benefits us, too!)
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkygirl74 View Post
I was the girl who couldn't stop reading (I still can't sometimes) and my mom tried so many things. When I was about nine I think she just gave up. With me it wasn't necessarily just reading though. Reading might have caused some insomnia but my books were taken away a few times and I still couldn't sleep. My mom tried making me listen to calming music, vacuum the whole house, lay in a dark room, gave me a deck of cards to play solitaire and nothing helped. I just never slept much. Could she maybe take a nap when she gets home from school?
This is pretty much my experience as well. I have serious sleep struggles now, and sometimes I wonder if it's because sleep was made into such a pathological issue for me as a child. I read by flashlight many nights because I would've gotten in trouble if I turned on my lamp.

When DS can't sleep, which is often, I usually let him stay up. DH and I argue about it, but I know what it's like to lie in bed for hours and stare at the ceiling. For people who've never had sleep issues, it's hard to understand.

I do sometimes read poetry to him, and when I can create a good rhythm, then he sometimes will fall asleep from that. If he wants to stay in his bed with a book, that's perfectly okay with me.
post #10 of 32
My kids both read at night, but my 7 yr. old will get sleepy, put the book down, and fall asleep at a reasonable hour. My 4 yr. old is usually up until at least 9:30, sometimes 10 (and last night, 11pm because of the time change!) I have started going in and turning off the night light at 9:30pm (bedtime is 8:30). Honestly, he isn't tired at 8:30 and a later bedtime would work better for him but big brother really needs his sleep and it wouldn't be fair for them to have different bedtimes, so I'm okay with the reading up to a certain point.

I'd focus more on helping her get to sleep and less on the reading. Maybe try chamomile tea or valerian? Calming music in her room at night?
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkygirl74 View Post
I was the girl who couldn't stop reading (I still can't sometimes) and my mom tried so many things. When I was about nine I think she just gave up. With me it wasn't necessarily just reading though. Reading might have caused some insomnia but my books were taken away a few times and I still couldn't sleep. My mom tried making me listen to calming music, vacuum the whole house, lay in a dark room, gave me a deck of cards to play solitaire and nothing helped. I just never slept much. Could she maybe take a nap when she gets home from school?
ITA

That was me, and my brother. I remember a period of my life where I didn't sleep.

I would hide under my blanket and use a flashlight, or read by holding my book under the nightlight. (my poor eyes lol).

I'd also sneak grapefruits into bed too haha.

Seriously though, when my mom would catch me and take the book away, I'd just lie there and write books in my head. Or start doing things like counting backwards or making up songs.

I wonder if it was some odd developmental milestone, similar to how we accept that infants do not sleep well during certain periods.
post #12 of 32
I haven't read any responses, however this was my problem as a child. I often stayed up half the night reading and still struggled to fall asleep after that. As an adult I take a supplement called "Tranquil Sleep" to help me get into a place where I can fall asleep easily at night. Actually, my sons both take it, too (it's chewable). We had been having a lot of struggles with getting them to fall asleep, now it is not really an issue at all. If we let them stay up later they just got more and more grumpy and emotional and everyone was miserable. And then they were more tired the next day. Now we have found a really good groove.
post #13 of 32
I didn't need much sleep as a little kid, and I spent hours in bed reading as well. My parents decided to let me dictate how long I read before I went to sleep- as long as I was in bed and quiet, it was ok. I use the same approach with my 8yo, and it works very well.
post #14 of 32
Just to add, some of us can't self regulate books. I know a lot of people read books to relax before bed and can just put them down. Not me. If I'm engaged in a book, I have to finish it. (Ok, I'm better now in my 40s, but I still stayed up an hour past when I should have reading ds' copy of Dragon Rider on Thursday last week!)
post #15 of 32
I stayed up late as a child, lying in bed and imagining all sorts of things. I know that if I'd been allowed to read, I'd have stayed awake even later. I can self-regulate with non-fiction, but if I'm reading a novel, I'll stay awake later than I should.

My dd is a night owl, too. We don't allow her to read, but we will often let her listen to an audio book (or part of one, for the longer books) followed by some music. On the nights that she sneaks her flashlight into bed, she will stay up past 11:00, then she's a basket-case the next day, so we try to stay on top of that.
post #16 of 32
Thread Starter 
Well, I got her sister to bed at 7 pm aand let her read until 7:30 last night. Then I read to her, brushed her teeth and still had her in bed w/o books before 8 pm. BUT, her daddy was not home last night. We'll see how things go tonight.
post #17 of 32
DD likes to read at night before lights-out as well, so we've incorporated individual reading into her bedtime. We used to read to her for about half an hour and then turn her lights out; now we read for a few minutes and then let her read by herself until a certain time. Sometimes she'll get tired and put her books away and lay down and wait for us to come tuck her in. Sometimes she'll fall asleep on a pile of books. Most of the time she is still reading when we come to turn off her light and tuck her in. She claims she never sleeps, but I suspect she just doesn't know where the line between awake and asleep really lies.
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Just to add, some of us can't self regulate books. I know a lot of people read books to relax before bed and can just put them down. Not me. If I'm engaged in a book, I have to finish it. (Ok, I'm better now in my 40s, but I still stayed up an hour past when I should have reading ds' copy of Dragon Rider on Thursday last week!)


I have a problem doing other things when I'm reading a book. I picked up the Mysterious Benedict Society (which was for my son from the library) and had to finish it. I am one of those people who would read while driving

I don't know how to keep my son from reading (he's the kid with a flashlight under the covers kind of reader) other then having lots of physical activity during the day and then down time to read at night. I guess it is good to remind them that the book will still be there in the morning...
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird Girl View Post
On the nights that she sneaks her flashlight into bed, she will stay up past 11:00, then she's a basket-case the next day, so we try to stay on top of that.
Totally! This is exactly how my son is. And the next day he is mean and grumpy and weepy.

On Friday nights, if we don't have anywhere to be the next day, I'll let him stay up as late as he'd like reading.
post #20 of 32
Eh, I did it as a kid, and I do it now. Why am I up at this hour?

For me it always signals some bad habit of the day before--stressed out or overcaffeinated. Since I'm guessing your child isn't overcafed, I would look at stress reduction methods. It could be tied to something in her life, or it could honestly be random. I would be awake late for weeks after a random mention of something like car accidents or housefires. I just couldn't get past the fear of something highly random and it kept me up although I didn't think about it during the day and couldn't have said "I'm afraid of fires so I can't sleep."

Also, though, experts do seem to say that if you can't sleep, don't stay in bed reading and tossing and turning. Get up and do something for a specific period and then go back to bed and try again. Doing things other than sleeping in bed makes it harder to fall asleep on other nights.

Might that help? Read a book in the living room for 30 minutes and then go to bed? Short stories maybe?
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