HELP! 5 1/2 Year Old Still Not Sleeping Through the Night! - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-26-2008, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just discovered this forum and am hoping to get any help I can. I'm so desperate for sleep and this is really starting to affect me, my DH and my overall health. I'm in such a rot and it got so bad that I couldn't get into the holiday spirit. It's been the worst Christmas for me and DH. We tried to put up a good face for the kids but I'm just exhausted and stressed out.

Here's alittle background:
DS is my first. He was always really high needs from the beginning. DH and I had to literally hold him all the time. He couldn't sleep on his bed or any surface. If he fell asleep and we put him down, he would wake up within a minute. So we always had to held him for the first 4 months. I was miserable. I didn't have any time to do anything. I think I had a bit of PPD also. He was also so colicky. So during the nighttime, it was worse. He would cry for no reason and we couldn't do anything for me. I ended up learning to breast feed on the couch all day and night so that I didn't have to hold him constantly and I was able to get some sleep. Eventually he was able to sleep well when I had him in a sling or the hugabub. It was the best thing for my sanity b/c I actually could use my hands and do things. Then later he was able to sleep in the crib and in his own bed. But he has always had bouts where he wouldn't sleep well.

Well he is 5 1/2 and lately it's been getting bad. He usually would wake us up at least 3 times. Every night he would get up and cry hysterically at around 9:30pm. We finally figured out it was confusional arousal. Sometimes it would last 5 minutes and sometimes it would last 30 minutes. It was always so stressful b/c there was nothing we could do to make it better. Then a few nights ago he started developing a new issue. He would feel the urge to pee all the time so that was keeping him up. Each time he would pee a bit but the urge wasn't going away. So we let him wear diapers at night for the couple of nights. This is on top of the the wakings. Last night we had him sleep in our room thinking that maybe he feel safer and better. But literally he was having these fitful sleeps. We brought a mattress into our room so that he could sleep with us. He was talking a lot in his sleep. It was just talking it was yelling. So he was having a lot of bad dreams (nightmares). Literally it was happening all night long. Finally at around 3am, he was awake and crying about his feet hurting. We massaged it and it didn't work. By 4am I just couldn't take it anymore so we had him go back to his room to sleep with DH. We figure one of us not sleeping was better than 2 of us. So they went back to him to sleep together.

I'm just exhausted and tired. The sleep is not getting better. Yesterday at nap time he took a nap and it was terrible. He stopped napping this summer. But today when he napped, he was yelling and crying a lot. As if he had another confusional arousal.

I would love to hear any advice you may have. We are looking into magnesium supplements and probiotics. I just ordered the "Living with the Active Alert Child" book on amazon. Am really hoping to learn how to handle it. He is very alert and aware. He has a lot of anxieties and has some sensory processing issues. We were in OT for a bit but we can't afford to pay out of pocket ($120 each visit). Any advice would be appreciate. We just can't sleep like this anymore.

thanks.
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Old 12-26-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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OT: He should be eligible for some OT services through your local school district.

If he has SPD, it is possible he has a sleep disorder as well...I would take him to evaluated by your DR and see if you can get a referal for sleep study.

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Old 12-27-2008, 12:35 AM
 
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Hi there, we have a similar issue, just so you know you're not the only one out there with a kid this age who doesn't sleep! First of all, about your Christmas, it is hard with kids like this on special occasions, maybe you've found the same thing- the anticipation, change in diet, more sugar, lack of schedule that the holidays bring! Our day was not great, either due to this!

My ds just turned 6 and is highly sensitive, bordering on SPD. It was all very similar to what you describe when your ds was a baby; the constant crying, never getting a break, causing me PPD, etc. For a brief time he was in his own room, we would have to lay with him for hours until he'd fall asleep (still do!), and most nights one of us would have to sleep with him. Then one day, horror of horrors, a wasp stung him in his room, and now he'll never go back in there again.

Now he cosleeps with dh, and I moved into his room! He absolutely won't sleep alone now and even in bed with dh he will wake up crying, is restless, and otherwise keeps dh up at night. He also wets the bed on most nights. I have a similar sensitivity issue as ds, so the being up all night is torture for me and I simply am unable to parent if I don't sleep and dh can tolerate it better.

I second the pp in asking if you could get an OT eval and treatment from your county? It is free here and I believe in most if not all states. My ds had the free therapy from 18 mos until recently b/c he went to private school, and now is homeschooling, so isn't eligible. Maybe you've already checked this out.

I also believe very strongly that there is a diet sensitivity component; I'm not sure if you've already explored that avenue with your son. I have never been able to pinpoint exactly what sets off ds but feel it may be processed dairy. Just recently I've been trying to keep a mental note and I think he wets the bed more consistently on nights when he's eaten pizza or other pasteurized dairy, but I need to pay closer attention and see if I can make more connections.

Anyway, I hope things improve with time and you find some strategies to deal with this. That book looks really good; I will have to check it out. I've also heard about magnesium but haven't tried it yet- I hope it's helpful for you ds (and you by extension!).
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awaken View Post
Hi there, we have a similar issue, just so you know you're not the only one out there with a kid this age who doesn't sleep! First of all, about your Christmas, it is hard with kids like this on special occasions, maybe you've found the same thing- the anticipation, change in diet, more sugar, lack of schedule that the holidays bring! Our day was not great, either due to this!

My ds just turned 6 and is highly sensitive, bordering on SPD. It was all very similar to what you describe when your ds was a baby; the constant crying, never getting a break, causing me PPD, etc. For a brief time he was in his own room, we would have to lay with him for hours until he'd fall asleep (still do!), and most nights one of us would have to sleep with him. Then one day, horror of horrors, a wasp stung him in his room, and now he'll never go back in there again.

Now he cosleeps with dh, and I moved into his room! He absolutely won't sleep alone now and even in bed with dh he will wake up crying, is restless, and otherwise keeps dh up at night. He also wets the bed on most nights. I have a similar sensitivity issue as ds, so the being up all night is torture for me and I simply am unable to parent if I don't sleep and dh can tolerate it better.

I second the pp in asking if you could get an OT eval and treatment from your county? It is free here and I believe in most if not all states. My ds had the free therapy from 18 mos until recently b/c he went to private school, and now is homeschooling, so isn't eligible. Maybe you've already checked this out.

I also believe very strongly that there is a diet sensitivity component; I'm not sure if you've already explored that avenue with your son. I have never been able to pinpoint exactly what sets off ds but feel it may be processed dairy. Just recently I've been trying to keep a mental note and I think he wets the bed more consistently on nights when he's eaten pizza or other pasteurized dairy, but I need to pay closer attention and see if I can make more connections.

Anyway, I hope things improve with time and you find some strategies to deal with this. That book looks really good; I will have to check it out. I've also heard about magnesium but haven't tried it yet- I hope it's helpful for you ds (and you by extension!).
Thank you so much for your encouraging note. I tried to get help through the county but he is on the threshold so we didn't qualify. I think I am going to look into the diet. I heard about food addictives but I don't know what it is about. If you eliminate dairy, how does your child get their calcium? I am curious b/c I may try to eliminate dairy. But I am interested in other diets that may help him. We don't eat a lot of processed food b/c we just don't have a lot of snack foods. I am on the waitlist for another OT that is in my insurance plan. Have been on the waitlist since August and am hoping to get in soon. Most OTs in our area don't take insurance and the ones that do have a long waitlist of 6 months or more. I hope you get more sleep too. But it is also nice to hear that we are not alone in this.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:28 AM
 
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Lose the nap. That was the first thing that struck me. Most 5 year olds do not nap.

Increase activity level before dinner to some very vigorous play. Even if you have to hire a mother's helper or something to run him around at the park for an hour before dinner. It may be worth it. Stick to a strong routine for bedtime.

Also, I had a friend whose kid didn't sleep. She took him to a Chinese herbalist that really helped. Her kid took a tea in the evening that would help him wind down and stay asleep. I don't recall what was in it... this was 10 years ago. Maybe you can find a recommendation in your town for one.

Lastly, and I know this won't be popular on Mothering... but I had one active sleeper that kept all us miserable in the family bed. I transferred her to her own quiet room and she slept soundly from then on. You can still practice closeness during the day or lie with your child in their bed till sleep comes.

Good luck.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:59 AM
 
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You know, I think you need a sleep study. You might be describing a child with apnea-does he snore or seem to stop breathing? Fitful sleep and even the bathroom stuff can be a sign of apnea. And over-tired kids are more likely to have the other sleep disturbances (the partial arousals and talking/yelling) you describe.

The sleep terrors you describe--try waking him briefly an hour or two after he goes to sleep. You are trying to wake him about 15 or so minutes before he would typically have an episode. This can sort of somehow re-set the sleep cycle and prevent the terror.

But I think you need a sleep study.

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Old 12-27-2008, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you are right. I will definitely try to get a sleep study in. He does snore. He used to breathe really loudly and we found out that he had a large tonsil and adenoids. The ENT recommended that we take the adenoids and tonsils out. Which we did. But he still snores right now. My DH has had a sleep study done and he has a slight sleep apnea. Wonder if it's genetic.

Thanks.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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Just a few things:
Eliminate any sources of caffeine. This really sets dd off.
Have water a longer time before bedtime.
Regarding his recent wakings, check for a bladder infection and diabetes if he feels he needs to pee all of the time.

I know that sometimes I have trouble moving into a deep sleep, or I awaken frequently from deep sleep. I have vivid dreams too. If he is having a lot of bad dreams and waking from them, perhaps he is having trouble moving between phases of his sleep cycle into sounder sleep?

One technique from the No Cry Sleep Solution that worked for dd was to have me time her first waking and be near her for that waking, just to reassure her that I was there. Perhaps he is getting so disconcerted during his first waking that he has uneasy and has restless sleep afterwards. If you don't feel safe, you have a hard time sleeping properly! I still find that if dd manages to wake and I am not there, then she has a more restless sleep afterwards. If she wakes a little and settles herself, she is fine.

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Old 12-28-2008, 02:26 AM
 
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I've been there and done that for myself. I have no kids of my own yet, but I'm totally blind. Two thirds plus of the blind community have sleep disorders due to circadian rhythms being totally off.. I drove my parents nuts. I never slept through the night. I brought my crappy sleep habbits into adulthood, until I finally found what worked.

Take him to a doctor or therapist. He needs to be evaluated. This is not normal. I will be praying for you.

I am married to my soul mate and best friend, and I am truly blessed.

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Old 01-02-2009, 11:35 PM
 
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Well you have gotten a lot of good advice. I hope with the holidays over things will ease up a bit. I know looking into all this stuff and investigating all the different treatments can be time consuming and overwhelming (not to mention expensive!) but in the long run worth it when you hit on what works for him.

I hope you get in with one of the OT's soon!

Diet- definitely check into this, even if you just think about cutting out/way down on dairy and minimizing any processed or non-organic foods. It sounds like you're already doing great in that department. Even if you search here on MDC you will find lots of threads on diet and behavior- there is one about "dairy and behavior" with lots of parents' experiences. Without going too far on a tangent, processed/pasteurized/non organic dairy is a problem for lots of kids (and adults)- there are many other dietary calcium sources and raw dairy is an excellent option as well (still has all the good stuff in there, not heated and killed off.)

I wish you the best- I hope you find some answers, some peace, and some more sleep soon!!
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:47 PM
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My son at the age of 2 had severe ear problems, plus he just didn't want to go to bed. So I started him on a nightly pill of 2mg Meletonin and it put him out like a light. I gave it to him everynight. But not past 12;00. He's now 14 and him and I still take Meletonin to help us rest. Search it online and read about it and see if its right for you and your son.
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Old 01-03-2009, 01:02 AM
 
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this is all very interesting...

I'm 27 and the only time in my life that I've ever slept through the night on a consistent basis was at one point during college when I was going through an episode of clinical depression and one of my symptoms was hypersomnia (was sleeping somewhere around 12 hours/day and was still very tired/sleepy/fatigued.

But other than that one point, I have never been a good sleeper. Not from day 1. I always wake up several times/night.

Maybe I will check into the diet thing.

Sorry for highjacking the thread... carry on now

mommy to Christopher 2/29/08
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