3 year old with long awake periods during the night--any ideas? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-22-2011, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS, 3 1/2, has always been a pretty terrible sleeper. Lately his sleep is actually the best it has ever been. He is now in his own bed, and sleeps from 7:30 until 7 or so without waking up maybe three nights a week. The other nights he may wake briefly once or twice and need re-settling, and often my DH will lie down with him and fall asleep for the rest of the night (since I'm in bed nursing our 3 month old).

 

All of this we can live with, but about once a week or so, DS will wake up in the night and not be able to go back to sleep for hours. He's trying--he lies there quietly--but just can't fall asleep. Last night he woke up because he was wet (still wears a pull-up at night, and had leaked through) and then wasn't back asleep for 3 hours or so. DH was in bed with him for most of this time. I took a turn trying too, and we took him to the potty and gave him warm milk, but nothing seemed to help. All of this means he is so tired the next day, since he doesn't sleep in and doesn't nap any longer.

 

Has anyone BTDT? Any thoughts as to what we could do to prevent this, or help him  if he does get stuck in a long awake period? I haven't been able to figure out any pattern in the days it happens--I was thinking about keeping a log of food, visitors, outside time, etc to see if I could figure anything out, but I don't know that it will show anything. Yesterday, for example, he had a very normal day--fun but not too much stimulation, lots of exercise outside, a quiet evening, etc, etc, but still this long period of insomnia. Help!


lucky mom to Oliver, 8/6/07, and Finn, 11/28/10, and wife to DH
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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ugh. we're in the exact same boat with our almost 2 year old. sometimes she just wakes up in the middle of the night, WIDE awake and wants to play. we still have no idea why or what is going on. we just let her play for a bit and then try to get her back to sleep.


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Old 02-23-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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When kids wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, and can't go back to sleep, they may be going through a developmental leap. This leap interferes with their sleep and can also cause irritability, fussiness, clinginess (sp?) and a change in nursing or eating. Look up the book The Wonder Weeks. While it only goes through the developmental stages of the first year and a half, the symptoms of these stages last for years beyond. Also, look up sleep regression. Askmoxie has a great blog about it. Good luck, and if the developmental milestones are causing the nighttime wakings, all you can do is try to get through them. 

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Old 02-24-2011, 08:42 AM
 
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Oh my Yuba-River, I could write your post WORD for WORD!  My dd was born a few days after your little guy and I would say she has NEVER been a good sleeper.  We didn't help her b/c when she was little, we would get up with her when she woke in the night and just "wait her out" til she was tired enough to fall back asleep.  When she was about 2.5 and I was pregnant, I realized we just coudln't live like that anymore with this total lack of routine and sleep all over the place so we worked really hard to get her on a consistent bed time and routine.  She dropped her nap most days around that time too.  So for over a year now, she goes to bed at the same time every night (7 PM) and on a good night will sleep 7 to 7 or at least 7-6.  I work pretty hard on having a rhythm to our days, meals and snacks regularly, good protein, outside time most days, limited tv watching, quiet evenings with a peaceful bedtime routine, etc.  But it feels like several nights a week, she wakes up and often stays awake for several hours.  We are hesitant to do much more than just lay next to her b/c we don't want to stimulate her too much or then she's really awake.  I've tried snacks in the night before-she ate but still couldn't fall back asleep.  Last night, I was wondering if she just wants a diaper change (she still is very wet most mornings).  In the night when she wakes, I feel totally frustrated and angry and I lay there thinking that we have to DO something about this.  Then in the morning, I feel better and wonder do I just need to get through this.  

 

My biggest question is......do lots of 3 year olds wake in the night?  I've never felt like I got a good answer to this question so I go back and forth between thinking I have to find the problem or maybe it's just normal and by the time she is 5 o 6 this will all be a thing of the past!  Luckily my dd2 is a WAY better sleeper! 

 

I'd love to hear if you get any great ideas!  In the meantime, know you are not alone at 3 AM-we're probably up at our house too!


Sarah, SAHM to dd C (8-9-07) and C (5-27-10), happily married to DH for 10 years

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Old 03-05-2011, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your responses--at least we're not alone! Still having some wakeful nights around here. I'm thinking we'll just ride it out for now.... I would love to hear from anyone with a solution to this one! 

 


lucky mom to Oliver, 8/6/07, and Finn, 11/28/10, and wife to DH
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