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sleep issues- time to call the dr??

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

My son will be 3 in March and has sleep issues to say the least! I also have a 4 yo daughter and I feel like her sleep is being interupted by his behaviors, they have to share a bedroom and I really think that she would be ok to put to bed but can't b/c of her brother. Basically the problem with him is he won't stay in bed. The bedtime routine is consistent, they get a bath every night, stay up for a little while, I bring them upstairs around 7-7:30, read them books (sometimes this is when his hyperness starts and he wont listen to the stories) then I tuck them both in and shut out the lights and go downstairs. As soon as I am on the last step I already hear him jump out of bed and start running! At this point he is off the wall hyper! he runs around, jumps on his sisters bed, she starts yelling at him and pushing him off, sometimes he will fall off her bed and run dowstairs saying "Da pushed me!" I bring him back up tell him to stay in bed, try rocking him, think i have him settled down put him in bed and then it starts all over again! in the end (usually around 9:30) after many many failed atempts by both me and my husband, my son will end up coming downstairs for about the10th time and crawling into my lap where he just passes out almost immediatly!

Oh and naps are the same story so that in the end they just dont take naps anymore! I've tried bring back the nap but it doesnt work. I can get my daughter to at least rest on the couch or in her bed with books or a Disney movie but it really seems like my son just cant sit still long enough to allow his body to rest and relax.

Another point worth mentioning is he doesnt sleep throught the night once he is asleep, he ends up in our bed (my daughter does too) and some nights he cries and whimpers in his sleep.

I am starting to think I should make him a drs appt. for this b/c im worried this lack of sleep is going to hinder his growth and development. Just looking for some opinions on this and maybe some advice?  thank you :)

post #2 of 15

Sounds to me like he's fighting sleep.  My ds is 4 and he does this.  Thing is, if you've had an easy to put to sleep child, and then you have a sleep fighter, it's going to seem extremely abnormal.  Fortunately for me, I have only had 1 of four that didn't fight sleep.  The others all fought sleep every night (all my boys fought sleep).  DD didn't fight sleep but would only sleep for 5 hours at a time, which was awful, but at least we didn't have a fight to get her to lay down at night.  My 4 yr. old doesn't nap either, hasn't in a while, occasionally I can get him to take a nap, but most days I'm happy if I can get him to play quietly for an hour. 

post #3 of 15

Magnesium and b12 both can help with sleep. If you want links to rda's and safe upper limits for mag, I'm happy to link for you. I also have a book that lists therapeutic doses. There's not really a UL for b12- it's pretty safe to sup even high amounts. B12, you'd want sublingual (dissolve under your tongue). Give the b12 in the morning, not evening.

Also, food sensitivities can cause whacked out sleep (like in my ds), including colours, preservatives, and whole foods. The hyperness, not staying asleep all night, and crying at night all say "food sensitivity" to me.

post #4 of 15

If he usually falls asleep around 9:30, why not make 9:30 his bedtime? Eliminate the 2 hour fight altogether. 


I don't think most 3 yr olds could fall asleep being left in a dark room with a 4 yr old. I'd either put him in bed already asleep, or stay in his room with him till he's asleep. It sounds like he needs your supervision, so he doesn't disturb his sister or get hurt. 


On "supernanny" this is what she does. First time the child gets out of bed, you walk them back to bed saying "ok sweetie, it's bedtime, you're staying in your bed now". Second time the child gets up, you walk them back to bed and you say "bedtime." The third and every additional time, you walk them back to bed silently. You do not engage them any more. I've never seen it fail on her show, but usually the child cries for about an hour for about three nights. You won't be able to do any of this while your 4 yr old is in the room, though, not without disturbing her.


Even if your kids must share a bedroom, they might need to be separated at bedtime. Staggering their bedtimes is one way. Letting one child crash on the couch, your bed, a sleeping bag in the hallway or under a table, might be another idea. If they both end up in your bed anyway, why not let one of them start out there?

post #5 of 15

has he always been like this or is this a new thing?


till dd started first grade her bedtime was midnight. there was no point in setting it earlier. even if i laid with her i'd fall asleep but in teh dark she'd sing to herself, play with her toes and generally be awake for 2 to 3 hours at a time. plus she has always needed less sleep than most kids.


she was also v. high energy. she had a have a hard playing morning and night before she could really settle down. 


however here's the funniest part. if i forced to bed at 9 she would have a v. fitful night. waking up quite a few times. if i let her go to bed at midnight she'd be up her usual once a night. she finally stopped waking up at around 2 am when she was around 3 1/2.


dd has always fought sleep and needed way little sleep than most babies or children. as a newborn she was more awake than asleep. she gave up her first nap at 9 months and her second at 2 (that's the oldest i could actually encourage her to sleep). she was fighting falling asleep at 4 days old. she'd roll her eyes just as she was falling off to sleep and wake herself up. 


your description of him going bonkers at night really reminds me of dd. dd needed a lot of deep body touch to get the 'craziness out of her' - like a totaly physical wrestling with my friends or a walk. even as a 10 month old she'd crawl up 5 flights of stairs at the library continuously for an hour. 


but crazy restlessness also could happen because he is so tired that he has gone beyond tiredness - so maybe try even earlier. 


i am wondering if your son could have some sensory issues, which i find these days is pretty common among children which go away or reduce by the time they turn 5. at ur sons age when dd went crazy she needed deep hugs, body pressure to help her calm down. if she was overtired i'd lay in bed with her and hug her with my whole body with my legs over her legs, my arms holding her and the rest of my body touching her. she is still v. much a touchy feely girl but no more of that deep touch that i had to do till she was about 5. many issues went away as she grew older. but her sensitivity to tags and socks seams still remain. 


post #6 of 15

Keep putting him back in bed. Set a boundary and stick to it. You just have to put him in bed one more time than he gets out :) but really, he will adjust and it will probably take fewer nights that you think!

post #7 of 15

My 3.5 yo dd won't fall asleep on her own. Ds didn't start doing that til he was 4. Either dh or I lie down with her til she's asleep. She still gets up in the night, usually just once, and we take her back in & lie with her again til she's asleep (and often just fall asleep in her bed also).


We tried to keep taking her back in her bed, tucking her in & leaving her there- she would fall asleep but it made the night wakings WORSE. One night, after trying that for about 3 or 4 nights, she woke up 6 times. She kept coming into our room & asking if it was morning yet. We tried explaining to her that nighttime is for sleeping, daytime is for snuggling.


She wakes up & says she's scared of the dark so we got her a lamp to keep on all night. It's not dark in there at all. She still gets up. We tried music, silence, making a place for her in ds' room, different pillows, blankets, different pajamas, stuffed animals. Nothing works. She's just not ready.


We tried a sleep chart, where she got a sticker for each night she slept thru & when she got to the end of the row she got to go to her favourite indoor playground. I think there were 8 boxes & it took her 6 wks to fill it.


We decided that lying with her wasn't so bad after all & that eventually she will grow out of it. I sure hope so LOL.


I second the PP who said to make his bedtime later & avoid the 2 hr fight though. Unless he'd go to sleep with you lying with him that early. What time does he get up in the morning?

post #8 of 15
Originally Posted by pbjmama View Post

Keep putting him back in bed. Set a boundary and stick to it. You just have to put him in bed one more time than he gets out :) but really, he will adjust and it will probably take fewer nights that you think!

unless you have a strong willed child like mine, and/or a child who really struggles to sleep at the cookie cutter time.


anytime we have time off - the weekends, spring break let alone the holidays - dd stays up LATE. that is who SHE is. fri, sat she stays up till midnight. sunday she stays in bed till seh can fall asleep. 


if your family can handle a later bed time then do that. if not then you have no choices. 

post #9 of 15

My almost 4 year old DD just started falling asleep by herself (asking us to leave the room, even) within the past month. We did take her to the doctor last summer because she had such a hard time falling asleep, even with a parent there, and was taking 2+ hours to fall asleep every night and was very sleep deprived. Our very mainstream ped recommended melatonin, which we used for about six months at bedtime until DD said she was fine, didn't need it, and now things are fine.


At almost 3, I would still see not being able to fall asleep alone as pretty normal, but I wanted to share our experience in case it helps. We took her to the doctor finally because she was so tired, all day long, and we didn't know what to do and the sleep deprivation was affecting the whole family. I'm glad we did, because it helped to have that resource, more than I expected.

post #10 of 15

what time does he get up?  At 3 my son didn't nap, got up at 7am and needed to be ASLEEP by 7.  Even now (4.5) his bedtime is 7.  To me it sounds like you're starting your routine a little late.


The other thing I'd do would be to get more firm at bedtime.  Definite consequences for the acting out.  I don't see anything wrong with sitting in there while he falls asleep if that helps, too.  At that age I think I sat with my son.  But if he got out of bed there were immediate consequences (for one, it made me leave the room).  


post #11 of 15

sounds like food sensitivity to me as well, but look into melatonin.  natural, safe...helps re-regulate a natural circadian rhythm.  one dose, 10 minutes later will see him sleeping peacefully!

post #12 of 15

Where do you get the melatonin?

post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

Where do you get the melatonin?

Any drugstore should have it. We were told to find one with a dose between 2mg-5mg, but we got DD down to the lowest dose available (300mcg) pretty soon.

post #14 of 15

yep, drugstore, health food store, Whole Foods market.  once they get a good normal rhythm down, you can eliminate it altogether. 

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

thank you!! I am going to call their dr. tomorrow to ask about melatonin and hopefully get some tomorrow as well!! I need a better bedtime to start happen sooner than later!!!

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