Gifted kids need less sleep??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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IS it true that gifted kids often require less sleep? My daughter has never slept or napped much. She is also very bright. Not evaluated yet, but her dr. said she sees a kid like my DD (3 y/o) maybe every 3-4 years. So I was wondering if the two go hand in hand. I've heard that, but wondering if you all experienced anything similar.
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#2 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 10:23 AM
 
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I was labeled as gifted as soon as I could be tested, and I have always been an insomniac. That doesn't mean that I needed less sleep, but that more often than not I couldn't turn my mind off and thus couldn't sleep. It wasn't until the past few years that I've been able to relax somewhat, and I find that I can function best, as an adult, with 8 hours of sleep plus a nap. When I was an older kid and teen I was lucky if I slept 6 hours.

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#3 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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Need is an interesting word.

I think it's fairly common for gifties to not sleep as much as typical children.
I'm sure quite a few mamas will chime in on this.

My dd definitely needs a certain amount of sleep and I do my best to make sure she gets it. She seems to have a lot of Active Alert characteristics. That being said, dd and I have a very strong connection and I generally just have a feeling that she's going to meltdown if we don't get her fed or to bed or whatever.

HTH

Sunflwrmoonbeam and I were posting at the same time. How funny! lol
I have the same affliction as sunflwrmoonbeam. I just cannot turn my head off at night. I don't sleep at all some nights. This does not mean that I don't need the sleep I'm not getting. lol Especially with a 2 1/2 yo possible giftied and a giftie dh. LOL

Cate
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#4 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 10:33 AM
 
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It certainly seems so with my daughter. She requires little sleep, which made for a very stressful baby/toddlerhood.

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#5 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 11:08 AM
 
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My middle child, the only one who is officially gifted (although I think the other two are, as well) did the following:

-slept very little as an infant. It started at birth (she was up for 5 hours!!!) and went from there. At 6 weeks, I remeber counting how much time she slept. Including cat naps (the only kind she took) - she slept 11 hours in a 24 hour period. The baby book said the average 6 week old slept 16 hours a day - I threw the book against the wall in frustration.

-She gave up naps before 18 months

-now (just turned 10) she sleeps about 10 hours a day. Of my 3 children, she seems to need sleep the most. She is insanely busy during the day, and sensitive by nature, so by the end of the day she needs to get into bed or she becomes accident prone and likely to snap over the littlest thing.
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#6 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 11:35 AM
 
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Well, I just want to say that as a former gifted kid, I need 8+ hours of sleep a night to feel normal. But when I was a kid, I barely slept because I had so many things I wanted to do. I was up all night reading under the blankets with a flashlight, and my folks wondered why I was always so exhausted.

But I will also say that sleep is _very_ important, and I think it is just as important for gifted kids. IMHO, they are just harder (and sometimes impossible) to get to sleep and to keep asleep.

Personally, I think the reason I did not sleep as a child is that my days were just so unchallenging (I went to public school with a very limited, insufficient gifted program) that I had to make up that wasted time by using my brain at night. I know I always slept way more on weekends and holidays.
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#7 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 11:39 AM
 
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It's true at my house. :yawning:

Both my dc gave up naps before they were 2. Other parents offered sympathy, but I was grateful to see napping end! Before they dropped naps, there was the terrible "I will be rejuvenated by a 10 minute nap and still be bouncing around at midnight" phase. THAT was the worst.
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#8 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 12:01 PM
 
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I'll second what no no said. I often wouldn't get tired when I was supposed to because I'd have things I wanted to do. I felt that sleep was a waste of time.

Of course, I'd always be totally exhausted the next morning, much to the dismay of my mother and teachers.

Things I found help me were creative pursuits. I sleep my best when I'm writing or otherwise intensely engaged, and as a bonus point it helps steer me out of depression (which I believe is common to gifted kids...certainly was normal for me and my friends in the gifted program).

Also, once your child is old enough to read time, DO NOT under any circumstances have a clock that glows in the dark in their room. That thing was the biggest trigger of my insomnia, because even when I was tired I would worry about how little sleep I was getting, how slowly the time passed, and I'd wind up just watching the clock and fretting. We currently have a digital alarm clock that only shows the light when you press a certain (rather large) button. So it's not something that breaks up the darkness, not something I can stare at passively and keep myself up over, but if i need to know what time it is in the middle of the night it's available.

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#9 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 12:06 PM
 
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Our preteen needs 11 hours minimum - 12 to feel good.

There is a huge range out there. Some kids genuinely need less sleep. Many kids need more sleep than they get.
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#10 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 12:19 PM
 
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The Gifted Development Center, where dd#1 was tested, claimed that gifted kids often need less sleep. That is true for dd#1, but not dd#2. Dd#1 never slept as a baby and stopped napping by 16-18 months. I gave up fighting with her to nap at that point. As a 10 y/o, I'd say that she sleeps an avg amount, though.

Dd#2 needs a lot of sleep. She napped until 4 and still goes to sleep around 8pm at 8 y/o. I recently picked her up from a slumber party in the middle of the night b/c she was so tired and couldn't sleep with all the noise.
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#11 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the input everyone! I guess I didn't phrase my question well. I know that DD "needs" more sleep. It's just impossible to get her to sleep more. She will wake up in the middle of the night to talk about things. She stopped napping before age 2. I'm glad that others understand what I'm talking about. All of my friends with kids who sleep think I just didn't try hard enough to get her on a good schedule. They also think I'm pushing her to learn to read and write, etc. She is just interested in those things so we go with it. I'm glad I found this forum.
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#12 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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My daughter has been deemed gifted and she LOVES to sleep!!! She requires at least 8 hours every night. I am not sure if I believe there is much of a correlation between the two.....? Hmmm, interesting thought though!
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#13 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 01:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janeysmama View Post
My daughter has been deemed gifted and she LOVES to sleep!!! She requires at least 8 hours every night. I am not sure if I believe there is much of a correlation between the two.....? Hmmm, interesting thought though!
I could be crazy, but I thought 9 year olds typically needed about 10 hours a night???
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#14 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 01:49 PM
 
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It seems to be the case in my house with my dd. On the day she was born- she was awake for 8 hours straight. Never slept as a newborn. To this day, (she's 3) she can lay awake in her bed for literally hours. Just last night, she was awake until midnight. I can make her go to bed- but can't force her to sleep. Seems just one of the many challenges in raising a gifted child...
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#15 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by no5no5 View Post
I could be crazy, but I thought 9 year olds typically needed about 10 hours a night???
That may be the typical amount needed. I was just commenting on what MY daughter needs! Maybe she does require less sleep...? hmmmm. But the general rule is if she does not get AT LEAST 8 hours we are in trouble as far as attitude and focus. She tends to get around 12 if I let her just sleep.
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#16 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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I think that the dropping naps early thing might be somewhat more common with gifted kids - at least, anecdotally, that seems possible. My daughter stopped napping at 20 months, and when she was just learning to talk, I remember she would often wake up in the middle of the night talking to herself.

She still has trouble shutting off her brain at bedtime, but we are actively working with her now on visualizations and techniques that she can do to help herself go to sleep. She also often wakes up in the morning highly alert and talking a blue streak, but fortunately, she doesn't seem to require a lot of responsiveness before I get some caffeine into my system.
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#17 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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I can make her go to bed- but can't force her to sleep.
This is something that a lot of people don't understand. They seem to think that the problem is that the children won't stay in bed, but that isn't always the case. Mine will go to bed and toss and turn for hours and wake up 2 or 3 times a night and then bright and early in the morning. They go through phases where they barely sleep at all and others where they sleep all the time and take 3 hour naps. It's very frustrating.
We're in a no-sleep phase right now and there is a lot of screaming, tripping over their own feet, falling off furniture, etc. It's such a nightmare. And nerves are frayed...
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#18 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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I know what you mean, VanessaS, other parents, friends, family etc look at me like I'm insane & bad mommy when I say- "she was up half the night" etc. I probably just shouldn't mention it! But sometimes, I feel the need to excuse her behavior if she is extra sensitive that day. People seem to think it is a discipline issue- but seriously, you can't make another person fall asleep. She has a bedtime and stays in bed- but I can't shut her little mind off.
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#19 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 03:12 PM
 
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my mom says i was exactly like my daughter when i was little ( and she says this is the proof that there is justice out there ). the only difference : i would just drop on the floor and sleep at 6.30

i loved and love sleeping! i loved having dreams and could nit wait to get back to them. i still have vivid dreams, a bit like watching tv

why did my dd never do that? she literally spents hours sitting in her bed "reading" to herself if i am lucky and screams if i am not :irke

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#20 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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This topic is being discussed at the same time dd seems to be on her 4th straight day with no nap. :
She's full of energy and yet not to the point where she seems overstimulated and in need of sleep. She seems kinda ok.

The past three days have gone like this:

DD got up in the morning and things were typical. She ate her meals, snack, and had a good time, as usual. When nap time came, dd went potty and got ready for bed. I put her down as usual and she got up to read books/play quietly.
Every. single. day. dd had an accident in her training pants. I would clean her up and get her back to her room for her nap.
I have been fine with her reading or quitely playing with dolls or whatever and not sleeping.
DD would stay in her room for about 2 hours total and then tell me she was done napping.
This is exactly how the past three days have gone. So, today I decided to let her stay up until she went potty. Well, she has NOT gone potty and she's full of piss and vinegar! Talk about a total back fire.
I finally decided to give up altogether and let dd watch The Nutcracker ballet while she sits quietly.

Thoughts from those of you whose children gave up naps at a similar age?
DD is 2 1/2:

TIA
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#21 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 04:16 PM
 
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You have my total sympathy! We're getting rid of our nap right now (Becky is not even 2 yo) and it's gruesome. For a while I was letting them watch a video in leu of a nap but that backfired on us. They're only allowed to watch TV once a day (they'd sit in front of it all day like zombies if we let them) and my DH reeeeeally wants them to use their TV right before bedtime. It calms them down a bit. Otherwise, they'd never sleep.

On the positive side, they go to bed pretty early now (7:30 pm) and get up at 7:15 am or so. So, I could get enough sleep if I wasn't such an insomniac right now.
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#22 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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It's true here.
And dd gave up her nap--ha ha, if you want to call it that--at two.

:Mama to 2 :
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#23 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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Aaah... You mean she had Blitz-naps (short and destructive)? Mine do that sometimes. They have a 10 minute blitz-nap and it moves their bedtime forward an hour. That is soooo bitter...
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#24 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 05:55 PM
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My gifted dd needs a lot of sleep.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#25 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 09:12 PM
 
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Until recently, dd has been a great sleeper for both nap and night time. She is asleep right now. LOL Couldn't hang, poor little booger. She punked out at 6:45! But, you all know what that could mean for tomorrow.
dum dum dum EARLY RISER!
As if I don't already have to get up an hour before dd just to get something done in the morning.
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#26 of 49 Old 12-22-2008, 11:17 PM
 
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My two gifties need a lot of sleep. We religiously followed our bedtime routine when DD was younger, and had a strict nap schedule as well, otherwise she was a screaming mess. She napped until past her fourth birthday.

My personal view is that many children need more sleep than they get. Parents need to take the lead as far as schedules/daily rhythms, and enforce a bedtime and naptimes for preschoolers. I'm definitely a sleep Nazi!
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#27 of 49 Old 12-23-2008, 12:59 AM
 
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Not sure, but my one friend who is gifted works best on 4 hours of sleep, but she does need a nap. She needs the nap regardless of how much sleep she got the night before too.

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#28 of 49 Old 12-23-2008, 02:58 AM
 
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This topic comes up often here, and I am all too happy to take the opportunity to vent.

Ds1- awake hours after he was born- and alert! We have pics from the whole first day with him looking intently at whomever was holding him or at the camera. He slept for 1-2 hr stretches for a total of 10 hrs/24. We brought him home immediately, but he was around 32 weeks, so it isn't too surprising that he wasn't on a diurnal cycle yet at that point. He began napping after 6 months, when he began to sleep most of his 10 hrs at night. He had two 1-hr naps, dropping to just one at 12 months, but adding the other to the night and then dropped his second nap at 14 months, right when ds2 was born. Now he sleeps 10 hrs, just beginning to sleep through at 3.5. He's 5.5 now and still only sleeps 10 hrs.

Ds2 dropped second nap at 12 months and second nap was gone at 16 months (right when ds3 was born). He still doesn't sleep for more than three hrs in a row, and shrieks when he wakes- every time. 10 hr sleeper then and still; he's 4 yrs old.

Ds3 also slept much less than average and dropped his 1st nap at 12 months and the second one went at 18 months- although his naps were never more than 20 minutes each. 10 hrs for him too, but he's much happier if he sleeps 11.

I had high hopes for ds4's napping. He dropped one nap at 8 months and only naps every second day or less and only for 15-20 minutes, long enough to keep him up from 8am to 11pm-1am. It is insane. And he nurses all night long. If we go into town, he sleeps in the van, so if he's had a few 1am nights and short naps, we purposefully go for the drive in so he'll sleep for 30 minutes there and 30 minutes back. Otherwise, at home, he'd just go and go and go.

I have always been an insomniac and suffer chronic illness as a result. Right now I am working with a naturopath whose assistance has garnered me sporadic actual sleep for a few hours every second night or so, which is double what I had before! So, I am feeling better, but still need so much more sleep than I am having.

I am concerned that given that my boys grew in my body, deficient of proper hormonal activities from my ailing endocrine system, they have inherited the same problem- the reason why I don't sleep. It is possible that this is why I could stay awake all night thinking as a child and even now, and how I would have formed this as a habit. I wonder if I was well, could I reform my behaviour to be conducive to sleep? I guess I'll see.

They sometimes go through phases of 8 or 9 hours/night. Then after a few weeks of this, they end up sick enough to keep them in bed the usual 10 hours, and they are reset by that. The cycle seems to be about two months long. I am diligent about their nutrition and they don't stay sick for more than three days, no matter what they've caught and how many weeks other people are out with it. They always manage to still be up and playing for the whole day regardless, stopping only to vomit or for short rests on the couch.

I grow very weary of criticism about how if I would just do xyz then my dc would sleep. Sleep for some of us is a very complex issue, the least of which being that while I can insist upon them being in bed, I cannot will them to sleep- even as I cannot do the same for myself. I have done everything possible (within limits and excluding baby-training).

I had to share my experience and frustration at the criticism regarding noise while dc are sleeping- people who think that because they vacuumed while their lo was sleeping, s/he sleeps through everything. There are just so many variables that this is just too simplistic a conclusion. One of our children can sleep through noise- ds2. The rest, even ds4 who should be the most accustomed to enduring it, cannot- right from birth, or more accurately from in the womb. It was frustrating to me when I'd be out and sitting quietly with my unborn baby asleep in my belly only for him to be startled awake by someone yelling or worse, honking or setting off car alarms while I was awake in the dark in our livingroom, unable to sleep myself.

Sleep is by far our family's biggest challenge, and while that might seem melodramatic, keep in mind that I have been near death many times as a result of this issue and that our life is far from normal as my functionability is drastically reduced relative to my ambition and it is much harder for me to keep up with our needs than for most, even other mums of gifties. I have nothing left after doing the most basic things for everyone to do anything that is for me or my interests, and I am no super-mom, by any stretch. The best I can do for my dc is to give them a loving home; everything non-essential to our relationships is a far far second and rarely addressed. As my health improves, I hope this aspect of our life will too.

I suspect our dc will begin to have enough sleep when the amount they currently have becomes 'commensurate' with their ages.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#29 of 49 Old 12-23-2008, 05:30 AM
 
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My gifted ds never sleeps more than 5 or 6 hours. Never napped, ever. As a baby fought sleep.

I actually cried when people would tell me sleep when the baby sleeps. I could never get by on 5 or 6 hours of sleep in my life.

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#30 of 49 Old 12-23-2008, 11:25 AM
 
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We are similar to a pp who said she's a sleep nazi. That is exactly what we're like.

DD has been quite alert and aware since birth. She didn't sleep much, for the first few months, unless she was sleeping on me or dh. She just started sleeping through the night at about 8 weeks old. She would sleep for 12 hours at a time, at night. She also took two naps during the day, each was probably an hour or so long. When she consolidated her two daytime naps, it led to one 2 or 3 hour nap but she was still sleeping about 12 hours at night. As she grew, the one nap continued and night sleep grew to 13 or 14 hours without much waking at night.
DD now seems to be sleeping about 11 hours a night and had been napping about 1 1/2-2 hours a day. As I mentioned in a pp, dd hasn't napped in 4 days now.
I truly feel that dd needs a nap because instead of going to bed at 7:30 she went to sleep at 6:30 last night. She did wake up at 7 instead of 8 but she still got just about 12 hours.

Interesting how different all of our lo's sleep and have slept. Is the one common trait alertness at birth?
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