I have begun many sleep-deprivation threads and have participated in many others here as well, so I thought since I've had adequate time to observe the results of our experiment, I am ready and excited to share what we discovered in our home.
I am working with a naturopath for my many and varied health issues, many many having been exacerbated by or being a direct result of a severe lack of sleep. My dc didn't sleep either- 8-10 hours max since birth and not in a row, and they are significantly advanced, so the day isn't just 14-16 hrs long, but 14-16 hrs of uncommon intensity. Actually longer because the baby didn't sleep at the same time as the others, so I was up around 6 am and in bed around 1 am every day.
Sooooo, my naturopath, knowing this and being well aware of the gifted family's journey- and also with having many children (he has 5), he suggested giving my dc loose leaf linden flower and catnip tea before bed. We bought some and began the routine. It took three nights before we saw any difference, and it wasn't enough still; they were calm, but still awake and aware until 11 pm for the older 3 and 1 am for the babe- just much quieter.
We kept up with the tea mixture and added a nightly regimen of 1/2 cup of the tea and added to it 3 granules of arnica 30X, chamomilla 30X, and biochemic phosphates (12-in-one); each recieves 2-3 TBSP of the tonic. This helped even more and since they've been having this, they've been sleeping from 8 pm until 7 or even 8 am!!! Although the eldest stays up for about an hour quietly in his bed while the others are already sleeping, so 10 to 11 hours for our 5 yr old (much better than 8 which was his usual night previously).
My naturopath explained that children like ours often have very sensitive nervous systems to go along with everything else making it physiologically difficult for their bodies to take the cue to sleep when they are tired.
The result for us for the past month has been four boys who are still very active, very alert and aware, but they pack all of what they did in their 14-16 hrs into 12 hours. There has been the equivalent of a revolution in our family life with this. I am much better able to keep up with 12 hours of extreme intensity than 14-16+ hours of constant intensity with grouchy and over-emotional children due to inadequate rest.
They are higher functioning as well. I know that some believe that gifties need less sleep because they sleep less, but I'm not convinced of that as a universal law or as being a logical conclusion either. I know they often don't
sleep well, but like me, I think it's sometimes because they have a hard time turning off, and if they could, they would sleep and feel better than they do.
It's been only a month, and maybe my dc are just loading up and once they're sated they'll go back to 8-10 hrs- I don't know and I hope not, but I have to be willing to consider the possibility. Anyway, even if it's just for now, it's been enormously helpful to all of us.
*Rynna, you're excluded from the non-universal law of gifted paltry-sleep-needs.