I learned a lot from NCSS. Here is an old post of mine about adding sleep associations and other ideas and issues related to getting to sleep and staying asleep. Some are about toddlers, rather than infants. Hope something helps.
|We have experienced a lot of challenges with ds's night wakening
through the years. Here are a bunch of ideas that I have accumulated.
Some work at different times, some are now obsolete, some are routines
for us. I hope something helps you all find more restful sleep.
Apparently, Kurcinka has a new book "Sleepless in America", which is
supposed to have some more ideas. I am not sure how consensual her
suggestions might be though.
Our major issue stems around food intolerances which affect our son's
behavior and disturbs his sleep. We have mostly identified and
elminiated them. You might check The Feingold Diet on-line for
specifics. But dairy (including casein and whey) causes him to be
aggressive and less able to process information about other people's
needs and boundaries. Artificial colors red and yellow and high
fructose corn syrup and foods naturally high in salicylates also cause
hyper type behaviors and loud vocalizations (loud noise, loud voices,
loud forceful talking). If any of these are consummed late in the day,
he has more trouble falling asleep and has increased night wakening.
Wheat used to disturb ds's sleep, also.
Offering less to drink late, after 6 or 8pm might help some children.
And I have heard that dairy before bed is highly correllated with
night waking and night bedwetting. Soy seemed to disturb ds from
settling and resting for long periods as well. A protein food helps
our son settle for the night, like peanut butter and some OJ. Sugar
seems to hype some kids up. Obviously avoiding caffeine, chocolate. We
generally don't consume chocolate after 3-4 pm, if we can avoid it.
We use an aromatherapy called "Peace & Calming" which helps all of us
settle down for the night. It is part of our nighttime 'atmosphere'.
http://www.aroma-essence.com/catalog/peace-calming.html I put a couple
of drops on his feet or back, or on my wrists, and cuddle ds and he
will settle. Another thing that ds still at 4.5 liked was getting in
the sling and being held closely when he was overtired, but not
wanting to sleep. The chest pressure helps to center him. Bouncing,
rocking and swinging help to soothe too. I have also used Melatonin
(herbal) recently after a few late nights so that I would get right to
sleep. I have also used White Chestnut, a Bach flower remedy which
helps 'when thoughts go round and round in your head'.
Another thing that I found recently, is to be sure to get some
sunlight during the day at regular times to enhance the biorhythms and
hormones. And dimming the lights earlier in the evening helps
melatonin production, apparently. We have also tried melatonin
supplementation about a dozen times when we have had inadvertant days
of food intolerance exposure disrupting our sleep patterns. Melatonin
is great at helping our son get to sleep. If he has that second wind
and winds back up, he can be up for hours and hours. Apparently,
melatonin levels are low in hyperactive and autistic children. But,
there are some hormonal and immune system issues associated with its
use. So, we are very reluctant to rely on it. We've also noticed that
if it is given to get to sleep, he wakes up after 5 hours or so and
has a hard time getting back to sleep.
Rescue Remedy liquid or RR cream helps when everyone is too exhausted
to be quiet and settled. The cream helps you both. Outdoor play in
daylight helps our son sleep more soundly. A familar video helps.
Creating a routine of sleep associations helps. Certainly not
immediately but over time. Cuddle, blanket, lovey, specific chair,
song, video, rock, sling, pat, shussh, night time story. Car rides as
last resort. Caution they become habits too easily.
Cod liver oil (essential fatty acids) is supposed to have calming
factors too. Ds LOVES Nordic Naturals' peach flavored cod liver oil. I
heard that calcium in foods or supplements might help. Lavender helps
to soothe and calm. Especially in bath water or as a lotion or rub.
And transitions, strange places, or busy overstimulating
outings/activities energize and disturb our son from settling for at
least 2-4 hours after returning. He seems to need to process all the
going on while doing some familar free play before he can stop and get
quiet enough to fall asleep. So, we try to avoid exciting stuff in the
evening. Dh coming home late seems to delay ds from winding down for
the evening also. He seems to be waiting for him.
I have heard that Epsom salt baths have a calming effect due to the
magnesium in them. And it is available at chain pharmacies. It
apparently has a detoxifying effect also. Have iron levels been
discussed? I am ambivalent about trying iron supplements for our
little guy due to toxic potential. But from what I have read, iron
deficiency is related to hyperactivity/restlessness. I believe it was
Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc and Iron which are attributed to
restlessness. I've heard the best thing is to get some magnesium
citrate powder and take 3 - 4 times a day for a while. We've been
using Natural Calm for magnesium supplementation and it seems to help.
The No Cry Sleep Solution helped us to create additional sleep
associations. Now ds will just cuddle his lovey, I give him a pat and
a shussh and we both go back to sleep.