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Gifted kids and sleep

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
So my first is apparently pretty weird, for a gifted kid: she sleeps. She sleeps alot. She is the kind of kid who has such high sleep needs she took 3 naps a day until 15mo, and 2 until age 2. At 4 she still requires a nap nearly daily, and she's miserable if she doesn't take one. She sleeps 11 hours or so at night.

BUT. Her baby brother? Not so much. He is reliable about needing a nap at about 1pm every day. It lasts anywhere from 40 minutes to 3 hours. I pray every day for the 3-hour nap, because getting him to sleep again in the afternoon is near impossible, and he's cranky anytime he's up for more than 2 hours. I really want him to stay up until 6:30, because otherwise he won't get to see DH at all in the evening. He also pretty much refuses to sleep in the mornings, even though he acts really tired and clearly needs a nap to be truly happy with life. He just won't take one. I swear, I put him in the swing 99% asleep, his arms swaddled tight (because he will NOT nap with free arms, even though he hasn't been swaddled at night for a couple months) and left him there for 30 minutes before, only to listen to him babbling or giggling at--the ceiling? until I give up and fetch him out again. I have tried conapping--I usually fall asleep, but he does not. I have rocked him and nursed him for literally HOURS trying to get him to nap. We have done white noise, music, extra curtains, mobile, crib entertainer, silence, sleep positioners, swings...

I, like my daughter, am a high-sleep-needs person. The concept of a child who won't sleep when tired boggles my mind. Every time he fails to nap I feel like I've somehow failed him. But at the same time I am terribly frustrated that every day I waste hours of my life rocking in a dark room in a futile attempt to get this kid a morning nap.

I am betting a lot of you will be familiar with gift child sleep issues, since apparently refusal to sleep is common among gifted kids. What I'd like to know is -- at what point should I just give up, at least on the morning nap? He's 6 months old on Saturday. Clearly I can't say for sure he's going to be gifted... but I suspect he will turn out to be.
post #2 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aufilia View Post
But at the same time I am terribly frustrated that every day I waste hours of my life rocking in a dark room in a futile attempt to get this kid a morning nap.
This is when you give up. I gave up when I was starting to feel like this, and I just learned to live with my cranky, tired little girl. Frankly, it's better that she be cranky from lack of sleep than that we both be cranky (her from lack of sleep and me from frustration about her lack of sleep).

When I gave up trying to force DD to sleep at particular times or for a certain amount of time, her natural sleep schedule became apparent. And it simply fluctuates. She goes a few days with not nearly enough (IMO) and then she goes a few nights where she sleeps like crazy, etc. No, she doesn't get as much sleep as I'd like. But I've come to accept that I can't fix that. And, most of the time, she gets enough that she is happy and healthy.
post #3 of 22
I have two non-sleepers, one dramatically so. The best book I've read on the topic was Sleepless in America. Really, really great practical advice.
post #4 of 22
Yeah, it's hard not to second-guess it, but I just started going with DD's flow, and it meant plenty of "fragile" afternoons where we couldn't do anything but play outside to make it to bed time, but it was better than my trying to get her to sleep (which made ME ready to nap, all that nursing and cuddling in bed) all dang day. DD did one nap from a year and sometimes no nap soon afterwards, for stretches at a time. Right now she's pretty well established in no-nap territory, at almost 3. I cannot relate to people who talk about their kids reliably napping until this age. They complain when their kid skips a nap once in six months... I just have no concept. Ah well, more time for fun with my girl!
post #5 of 22
My gifted DS also has a really high sleep need. Kindergarten was a real challenge because we only have full day here and quite frankly he really could have still used an afternoon nap at age 5. He always needed help falling asleep. So when he was an infant naps at daycare were a nightmare until we found a home daycare who was willing to put him alone in her room and stay with him patting his back while he fell asleep (she had other help even though it was home based). But even now at almost 7 he still occasionally takes a nap. He also falls asleep within seconds of going to be and needs at least 10 hours of sleep. More would be better.

When I read about how little gifted kids sleep and the common struggles with gifted kids turning off it seems so strange to me. Because we schedule alot of our life around getting enough sleep for my giftie with a high sleep need. Without enough sleep he doesn't listen well, he doesn't focus well and he's really hyper acting. His behavior is just so much better when he gets enough sleep.

Now his little sister is another matter entirely. I don't know if she is gifted or not yet, but haven't discounted the possibility. She didn't need as much help getting to sleep, but she didn't need as much sleep either. She gave up naps entirely at 3 and has never wanted to go to bed/sleep until past 10pm.
post #6 of 22
My kids all have high sleep needs and difficulty shutting down for sleep. Our solution has been to give up naps early and be quite rigid about early bedtimes. It has been frustrating, especially as they get older because a lot of the activities I would like DS1 to do are too late to be possible for us.

Our daily routine is very stable from 3:30pm and rigid from dinner at 4:45 until DS1 is in bed with the lights out at 8:00. All 4 of the kids need the whole routine in order to sleep well. If things get started late, I have to do everything for a shorter length of time; I can't skip things.

DS1 was unbelievably overtired until I realized that he needed that much structure to the end of his day.
post #7 of 22
My DS has never slept well. He is 6 now and tells me he can't stop thinking. When he was around 6 months old I would set naps at certain times and always followed the same routine. He would not sleep most of the time, but he was content to be in his bed and I could relax for a little bit. I would always give it 20-30 minutes and if he was still awake then I would get him out of his bed and wait till he was scheduled for his next nap. When he was 2-3 he literally only slept about 6 hours in a 24 hour period. We took him to specialist because I was scared that something was wrong. I have learned that he has to work his brain or he can not get tired enough to go to sleep. Many nights my other 3 will be sound asleep and he is in his room reading quietly. I am so thankful he has learned to read because it has help with him being able to work his brain on his own. Good luck!!!
post #8 of 22
My daughter didn't really stop resisting sleep until she was at least 4. She gave up her nap at 26 months because that's when her brother was born, and it was no longer possible for me to spend an hour with her essentially forcing her to shut up and stop moving long enough to fall asleep. She still fell asleep in the car all the time until she was about 5.

Anyway, I just put up with her being cranky and sleep deprived. Not what I would have preferred, but there really wasn't anything else I could have done about it without resorting to a straitjacket.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by hergrace View Post
My kids all have high sleep needs and difficulty shutting down for sleep. Our solution has been to give up naps early and be quite rigid about early bedtimes. It has been frustrating, especially as they get older because a lot of the activities I would like DS1 to do are too late to be possible for us.

Our daily routine is very stable from 3:30pm and rigid from dinner at 4:45 until DS1 is in bed with the lights out at 8:00. All 4 of the kids need the whole routine in order to sleep well. If things get started late, I have to do everything for a shorter length of time; I can't skip things.

DS1 was unbelievably overtired until I realized that he needed that much structure to the end of his day.
This is DS too. He's only 2y 4m, but he could easily sleep 12 hours at night and still take a 2 hour nap during the day. If he only gets 11 hours at night, expect a 3 hour nap. Unfortunately, during the week he is in preschool all day (because I'm a student myself) and he only takes about an hour and a half nap there, and he gets to bed later than he should to get a full 12 hours. So what I'm left with is an over-tired boy. He's also in such a huge language explosion now, that he sometimes can't stop talking long enough to fall asleep, which results in short or no nap at school, and it taking him longer to fall asleep at night. It's really hard to make enough time for him to sleep and I constantly feel guilty about it.

ETA: I've been known to, on mornings that I don't have to be anywhere early, let him sleep in until he naturally wakes up, and take him to school late. His school doesn't appreciate it but I don't care. There is nothing that he could be doing during those 2 hours, at 2 years old, that is more important than him catching up on sleep. I've only ever done that a couple of times, but I feel like it was unfair to send him to school exhausted, just so he wouldn't be counted as tardy.
post #10 of 22
I typed a really long reply this morning and lost it. Suffice to say we know all about the need for little sleep here. DD was only napping once a week at her second birthday. Three year olds still napping daily boggles my mind, let alone four year olds
Let it go, don't waste either of your children's precious childhoods trying to force him to sleep. A wise mother once told me she had a fifteen minute rule. If the baby/child wasn't asleep in fifteen minutes then they got up again. Saves everyone getting frustrated.
DS is nearly 11 months and alternates between one or two naps a day. I don't expect two to last much longer. He usually sleeps in a carrier on me which saves all the frustration since I just feed him in the carrier and he either goes to sleep or he doesn't and DD doesn't miss out on time with me (which she invariably does if I try to put him down in the bed).
post #11 of 22
My gifted kid won't sleep. We put him to bed at 8:30 and he's often still up at 10. It drives us nuts! He quit napping at 2 when he weaned. I'd say bedtime is our biggest source of conflict. If he would just lie in bed and read, that'd be okay, but he sings at the top of his lungs, yells things, and climbs in his brother's bed which makes my high-sleep needs 7 yr. old *very* unhappy. He comes out of his room several times a night and inevitably there is yelling.

Ever since he was a baby he hasn't slept much. He was always up late and up early, and took short naps during the day. He hates sleep. My first loves sleep, seriously, he's like a teenager, so the non-sleeping-kid thing threw us for a loop (4+ years ago).
post #12 of 22
My daughter never slept more than an hour at a time as an infant. She was pretty much a :15 after the hour nurser, around the clock. This went on until she was 18 months old, at which time she started sleeping 2-3 hours at a time before nursing again. By 4 she was sleeping 5-6 hours at a time. She completely gave up ALL naps by 18 months of age.

At 6, we still battle with sleep. My naturopath suggested we try GABA to help her shut her brain off, as that is her main complaint... that she can't get her brain to SHUT UP.

I've just come to the conclusion that she's not a sleeper. I've always had sleep issues as well, so we are two peas in a pod in that regard.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
I have two non-sleepers, one dramatically so. The best book I've read on the topic was Sleepless in America. Really, really great practical advice.
Thanks. I keep hearing good things about that book -- I am going to have to pick up a copy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by St. Margaret View Post
it was better than my trying to get her to sleep (which made ME ready to nap, all that nursing and cuddling in bed) all dang day.
That sound exactly like half my afternoons, except during the day I mostly rock him in the glider so I can read a book to keep myself awake. Friday we met my dad for lunch, I put DD right to bed when we got home at 1, went to rock DS, and fell asleep in the glider about 1:30. Of course when I woke up around 2, DS immediately woke up, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hergrace View Post
My kids all have high sleep needs and difficulty shutting down for sleep. Our solution has been to give up naps early and be quite rigid about early bedtimes. It has been frustrating, especially as they get older because a lot of the activities I would like DS1 to do are too late to be possible for us.
I don't mind an early bedtime on principle -- we did that for DD for a very long time. Only in the last year has she been able to get along with a bedtime after 7pm, and for a long time it was more like 5:30. But nowadays, unless DS stays up until 6:30 he sometimes wouldn't see DH at all on weekdays. Nor would I be able to cook dinner (unless he was asleep by 5:30).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvnsk9 View Post
Many nights my other 3 will be sound asleep and he is in his room reading quietly. I am so thankful he has learned to read because it has help with him being able to work his brain on his own. Good luck!!!
Despite DD's high sleep needs she has sometimes had trouble falling asleep at bedtime until she took to reading quietly to herself for a bit before lights-out. Though now that she is 4 and getting devious I have had to remove her little lamp from her bedroom entirely or I will find her conked out on a pile of books well after we've turned out her lights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittykat2481 View Post

ETA: I've been known to, on mornings that I don't have to be anywhere early, let him sleep in until he naturally wakes up, and take him to school late.
Sadly, DS gets up earlier than anyone else in the house. Lately I'm in the habit of going to the grocery store in the early AM, and we often leave before DH and DD even get up for the day because it keeps me awake and sometimes the excitement of all that shopping wears DS out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icequeen_in_ak View Post
I've just come to the conclusion that she's not a sleeper. I've always had sleep issues as well, so we are two peas in a pod in that regard.
Huhm, now that you mention it, my DH is a crappy sleeper as well. He's the sort of giftie who stays up until he falls asleep in the middle of whatever he's doing. Drives me totally bonkers.


Thanks for all the ideas. The last 3 days I've been just rocking and nursing in the morning (which is typically a 45-minute-event) and letting DS call that a "nap". I guess I'll see if that helps either my attitude, if not his napping...
post #14 of 22
Levi sleeps MAYBE 9 hours a day tops. Down to 1 30-60min nap by 6 months and waking up all night to nurse. No naps sense he was 12months other than in the car (which ended just a few months after that, now he wont nap ever, even after a full day at disney with an hour car ride home!)

I need to sleep more than he does, I have sleep issues and it sucks b/c he is up with tones of energy and Im sooo tired all the time.
post #15 of 22
I have two gifties. One sleeps, the other not much. It was that way when they were babies and its that way now that they are teens.
post #16 of 22
awww I feel your pain! As you know, I have two non-sleepers. Since DS1 is pretty go-go-go I'd just strap DS2 to me and take him out and about. The other thing that wears them down is constant, CONSTANT input. Going to the store, taking a walk, playing outside - something to stimulate their brains then they can go into "quiet mode" to think about it. Just so you can be prepared, DS1 dropped all naps at 22 months and DS2 is 21 months now and napping is 50/50 here, so he's right on track with his brother. On the plus side, DS1 does sleep nine hours straight at night now!

You are always welcomed to send your DS to my house, he can hang out with my boys and be all satisfied that he doesn't need to sleep.
post #17 of 22
I can so relate. The rigid schedule is the only thing that helped. It so cramps my style. nak w/ 8wk old now. SO different already!
post #18 of 22
I personally don't think giftedness is linked to sleep. My gifted child sleeps the appropriate amount for a child her age.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
I personally don't think giftedness is linked to sleep. My gifted child sleeps the appropriate amount for a child her age.
A sample size of one?

In Webb's Misdiagnosis book he devotes an entire chapter to sleep. He notes that there are no significant research investigations into the incidence of sleep problems in the gifted, he makes note of a number of themes through clinical reports.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=lWla...=sleep&f=false

@ Chapter 7
post #20 of 22
The two sentences are not connected. Let me try again:

Point 1) I personally don't believe sleep is connected to giftedness

Point 2) My specific gifted child sleeps a normal amount
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