Sleep.... again the question, however, this is nuts! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 10-16-2013, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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My DD is 3.2 years old.  I have no idea how much sleep she gets, because we can't stay awake long enough to figure it out.  We are pretty sure we have seen her go two days without sleep, no problem.  This is about how it goes.  We let her stay up, in her room, with a TV.  I know, I know, but like I said, its nuts.  If it is dark and empty she will stay up singing, and calling for us. If she gets a lot of sleep at home, she can't take a nap at day care, and staying in her "cot" quietly for 2.5 hours turns into her screaming, and having violent temper tantrums (hitting/biting/kicking).  We let her stay up and she takes naps, however she is only getting around 6.5 hours or less a day total, from what we can tell.  We use to let her stay up with an I-pad, and at least we would get some sleep, until the monitor we use for our 9m old started interfering with the internet, and she was waking us up ever 30 minutes to fix it.  Now we do TV (DVD) shows.   We both work full time btw.  Frequently she makes up excuses to scream and get our attention.  Ailments of painful body parts, which to be honest always seem very real, but (really?) tonight it has been her wrist that hurt, ice that got the bed too wet to sleep in, she needed water, and she needed another show (in the last hour and a half, while I have been typing this).  Other nights its bathroom breaks, or whatever will get us in the door.  Well, as if it isn't bad enough, us getting very little, torturous, her screaming is waking up her brother (9m) and things are getting impossible.  He is having a very hard time, and he is now starting to just stay awake for hours.  Between the two we are just....well, it's impossible.  We are so upset with her when she does this, but we can't seem to get her to stop screaming out at night. I know that a lot of you are saying that sleeping patterns are difficult, but does this sound familiar, or like its something really different?  


We now have to keep her door open so she will at least not scream to wake up her brother, because she just keeps screaming, no matter what the consequences.  We are at a loss.


Thanks for any advice.  And sorry for the horrible grammar and spelling.  I'm horrible at it normally, I can't imagine the endless mistakes atm.  

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#2 of 7 Old 10-17-2013, 09:47 AM
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I know it's really really hard, but unless you buckle down and decide to make changes and stick to them, it's not going to change.  I get it.  I really, really deeply get how hard it is to imagine coming up with a routine and sticking with it and dealing with the yelling and misery and it might take two weeks or more and things will get a little better and then a lot worse - I've been there.  It's SO hard.


We used a lot of the advice in Sleepless in America and it changed everything for us.  One thing that really helped was having a very finite bedtime shut down.  As it turns out, my daughter who was getting by on 6 hours of sleep really needed twice that.  When the dust settled about a week and a half after we started, she slept from 7.30 to 7.30.  No wonder she was miserable, she was exhausted!  She still needs that much sleep.


I'd be happy to tell you more about what we did (no CIO at all) if you're interested. It's been almost five years but I remember the basics.

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#3 of 7 Old 10-17-2013, 03:50 PM
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Is it possible she just doesn't want to be alone? Is co-sleeping an option? My kids started sleeping in their own rooms around age 4, by choice. Until then they were in our bed, or in a "nest" on the floor beside our bed. I'd much rather hold hands with a 3-year-old while sleeping than get repeated awoken by that same kid from another room in the middle of the night. We never tried the 'own room' thing until the kids were truly ready for trouble-free nights on their own. They all got there eventually, and when they weren't ready, no one suffered unduly. Your current situation sounds really awful. Maybe it would be worth considering co-sleeping?


Maybe it's just me, but the expectation of a 2.5 hour nap at daycare seems totally unrealistic for a 3-year-old. My kids would have to have slept less than 7 hours at night to be exhausted enough to fall asleep for that length of time. 



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#4 of 7 Old 10-17-2013, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post

We used a lot of the advice in Sleepless in America and it changed everything for us.  


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#5 of 7 Old 10-17-2013, 07:17 PM
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Her daycare/preschool should offer her an alternative to her nap at school.  Quiet time with books or play time with older kids.  Some kids do not need to nap that long, or at all, and that could be messing with her sleep rhythms.  My DS got about 8 or 9 hours a day(nap + night) at that age.  It got better when he dropped the nap at school,and went to bed earlier at home.  Now at 4.5, he gets a solid 10 to 11, all at night.  


Also, my DS would get far too little sleep if he stayed up too late.  Counter intuitive, but if he appeared cranky, emotional, or argumentative at 8pm, he should have been in bed at 7:45.  If he doesn't get to bed till 8:15, he will get a second wind and just keep going.  


I know another little boy who sounds similar to your DD.  His parents took him for a sleep study and it turned out he had horrible sleep apnea.  When he did sleep, he was waking(or stirring) like 20 to 30 times an hour.  He was so sleep deprived and also resisted sleep because it was frustrating to him.  You might check into a sleep study to make sure there's nothing physical going on.

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#6 of 7 Old 10-19-2013, 01:00 AM
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You need to tackle the daycare situation, fast. Putting a kid who isn't sleepy into a cot and making her be quiet for 2.5 hours is toddler torture. DS1 stopped napping at 2.5 for good and would fall asleep only if either he was running a 40°C fever or in the car after 5pm. At daycare, they asked him to lie down quietly and rest for 30 min, no expectations other than not to disturb the other kids wanting to sleep. It was only a few months till summer and he would very occasionnally fall asleep for another 30 min or so, so I let it go, but 2.5 HOURS? She's probably traumatized. I cannot imagine you can make any headway with the messed up situation at night unless you sort out the mess during the day.
Frankly, if they won't work with you, that'd reason to pull her for me. Either they'r incredibly lazy or stupid or cruel or all of the above...
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#7 of 7 Old 10-22-2013, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post

You need to tackle the daycare situation, fast. Putting a kid who isn't sleepy into a cot and making her be quiet for 2.5 hours is toddler torture. 


This is my first thought, too!  She's not the first 2.5 year old who is done napping, but no way should daycare be requiring her to stay in her cot if she never sleeps.  That's just cruel and won't help  her develop a more positive attitude about sleep.


Also, I really think you have to stop with the electronics and media. It's stimulating so it may be helping you get sleep, but it's probably making it harder for your DD to get sleep.  And all that screen time is really had for their brains. I haven't slept through the night more than a dozen times in the last 4.5 years so believe me, I really GET being exhausted and tired and desperately needing sleep above anything else, but I think you're in a nasty cycle and it'll be worth it in the long run to break the cycle now.


My DS has never been much of a sleeper.  When he was a baby, he could go 10 days without a nap.  By the time he was about 10 months old I was ready to have a breakdown from lack of sleep and I went on a sleep-advice binge.  I want to ditto the advice to try Sleepless in America -- it really helped me to figure out DS's sleep needs (which are vastly different from my DD's) and get him onto a semi-regular nap schedule, which helped both his attitude and mine!


Even with naps, he's never been a great sleeper and bedtimes have been really rough every since he gave up nursing to sleep.  I don't know if this will be helpful, but about 6 months ago (when he was about 3.5) I gave up on doing the "right thing" and trying to teach DS to fall asleep by himself in his bed.  It was a nightly battle and it just seemed so darned hopeless. I was spending half the evening repeatedly putting DS back in bed, trying to keep him from yelling for me every time I walked out the door, trying to keep him from waking up his sister, and ending up frustrated and stressed out and cranky. I implemented a strict "read-talk-rock" bedtime routine: get ready for bed starting at 7pm sharp, read 3 books, turn off the light and sit in the glider for 10 minutes talking about whatever DS has on his mind (and it turns out, he has a LOT on his mind and it really, really helps to get it all out), then we rock in the dark until he falls asleep.  When we first started it would sometimes take 20 or 30 minutes for him to fall asleep, now he's usually out like a light in 5.  He needs to empty his brain and he needs help transitioning to sleep, and rocking + cuddling helps him feel safe and soothed.


My advice would be to eliminate ALL screen time if at all possible, set up a strict by loving bedtime routine and stick with it for at least a couple weeks, maybe try something different if it's been 3 weeks and sleeping is still a disaster.  Try to have her either nap or not-nap but be consistent -- so if daycare can't get her to nap reliably, maybe just do without.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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