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Sleep and 6 year old. Desperate for help
41 replies to this topic
Posted 08 September 2019 - 11:52 AM
Has she had her iron levels checked OP? Mine is low and it was causing her to be awake for hours several times a week. It was horrendous and I’m so sorry your dealing with this.
Posted 08 September 2019 - 12:04 PM
I’ve found sleeping with earplugs myself helps me sleep through a child’s restlessness better too OP
Posted 08 September 2019 - 12:06 PM
I like PP's suggestion of an ENT and child psych.
But while you are waiting for that:
- White noise in the room all night rather than meditation music
- Mattress on her floor for you/DH rather than in your room to keep her used to sleeping in her bed
- If you don't already, a baby monitor and encourage her to call (not too loudly!) for you rather than get out of her bed, which will wake her up more
- A later bedtime
- Banana tea before bed - I suffer insomnia and this is a recent discovery of mine, it does seem to help. Simmer a banana skin and a little bit of banana (for sweetness, all the goodness is in the skin) for a good 30mins. Strain and drink.
- If its been 30mins of trying to get her to sleep, get her up and out of her room, read her a low key story in the lounge with a cup of warm milk or banana tea
- Then get her back in bed, and play a sleep story. I use the Calm app, they have kids sleep stories. We often play this one to DD which can also be found on Spotify
They have also have a bunch without music that are much more 'boring', I actually like the nonmusic kids ones for myself
- Once again, if she isn't asleep after 30 mins, get her up again. I know this sounds painful, but its about removing the association of restlessness and the pressure to get to sleep, and make the bed just about falling to sleep.
On the Calm app, one of the sleep stories is one on sleep science by Dr Orma (or something? might have his name wrong). It is just him drolling on and on about sleep which not only puts me to sleep but I've learnt all sorts of useful tips!
Posted 08 September 2019 - 12:35 PM
Have you tried melatonin, to help her get back to sleep? Our DS has had major sleep issues and melatonin helps him go to sleep and also helps him if he wakes up. I still cosleep with him (aged 7), as nothing else has worked so far. I should add that DS has ASD and separation anxiety, plus finds it hard to get to sleep.
In terms of blankets, he has one doona and I have another!
PS, we saw a dev paed and were prescribed melatonin after four years of terrible sleep. We had tried most things by this point. Hoping to transition DS back to his own room when I'm on holidays next year!
Anyway, not saying it'll be applicable in your case, but something to consider if all else fails. But yes, an ENT is good to see as well (DS also saw an ENT, to rule out any other issues)
Posted 08 September 2019 - 12:51 PM
Has she seen an ENT or had her iron levels checked? Low iron levels can cause insomnia and restlessness, especially restless legs. Low iron can also cause fluctuations in anxiety. Tonsil or/and adenoids issues cause also cause sleep disturbance. (And even if she has had them out they can grow back and become problematic again, I have a child who has had them out twice).
It’s really painful have very little sleep and a child who seemingly functions on a tiny amount of sleep where the rest of the family is shattered.
There is also something called sleep anxiety. My youngest had it. I’ll be honest and the only thing that helped it was when he went on adhd meds that have a side effect of lowering overall anxiety (and sleepiness).
Lastly could it be sensory? My kids always sleep better when they have a higher sensory load. Like a heavier blanket or having been tucked in tight. You can actually get sheets that make you feel like you are tucked in super tight. A weighted toy helps too because it’s almost like someone else it sleeping with them, so a comfort.
Posted 08 September 2019 - 01:03 PM
No sleep absolutely stinks! It seems weird that she’s generally happy during the day with such a little amount of sleep. Normally tired kids are cranky!
Right, I’d be doing a single bed on the floor as it seems anxiety /worry related.
I’d try a weighted blanket and see if that helps. Otherwise it seems you have implemented lots of things.
But it would be worth going to gp. Asking question about blood tests for iron levels etc
Is there anywhere local that does paed sleep study?
Could be an idea to see if she is getting any quality sleep... or if need to query re ENT
Posted 08 September 2019 - 02:04 PM
Definitely head down the anxiety path, but id also organise a sleep study for her & a trip to an ENT.
Also sounds nuts, but ask about things like asthma or floppy airways, my asthmatic is a nightmare to co-sleep with when his asthma is not under control, he tosses & turns like no tomorrow. Depsite that he wakes for the day totally full of beans.
Posted 08 September 2019 - 03:45 PM
My son is 4, and cows milk protein intolerant. When he was cows milk in ant form he wakes through the night and is awake for hours with tummy uncomfort. Its not pain particularly, its just sore. And that for some kids might feel like anxiety?
I'd suggest a sleep study or good GP review..
Posted 08 September 2019 - 04:05 PM
IMHO it's evolutionarily normal for a young child to be afraid of being alone in the dark. The kids who kicked up a fuss survived to reproduce themselves. Thousands of years ago it was wise to sook until mum let you sleep next to her in the cave, and you were then the 1st kid grabbed by mum to run away when the saber-toothed tiger wandered in for dinner.
Historically kids weren't left alone to sleep - a bedroom (even a bed) each is a very new idea in the history of human habitation.
Even considering all this, as mentioned above, she sounds anxious, so sessions with a child psychologist around reducing sleep-related anxiety may help.
I'm sure you're already doing all the common sense sleep hygiene things of:
no screen last 2-3 hours before bed;
do something calm and boring to wind down before bed (e.g. jigsaw, bath, book);
no fights/arguments in house at night, and try to reduce all fights/stress in front of her;
warm milk before bed;
warm bath before bed;
check diet overall especially additatives, sugar etc;
enough physical activity to tire her out during the day and not exercising just before bedtime if that excites her;
not taking any energising meds near bedtime;
... and on and on, google them.
I'd put a mattress in your room. All your lives will be better, so why not.
BTW a small percentage of the population have the genes for short/ little sleep (e.g. DEC2 and ADRB1 DNA mutations) and just don't need much sleep each night. If this is her, she'll be fine during the day, not tired/irritable/cognitively slowed,
even on little sleep.
Posted 08 September 2019 - 04:28 PM
Buy some beautifully smelling "Pillow Mist" from L'Occitane
It has beautiful essential smelly oils lavender etc in it and i have started using this for the past 2 years and it seems to relax my two children and also puts me to sleep. Just spray on their pillow and in their room, get them to breathe in the smell from the bottle when you spray it. My two had lots of trouble to sleeping and i have tried lots of things until a friend mentioned this. The bottle lasts a little while and when you are finished with it, take bottle back to L'Occitane and you get 10% off your next purchase. This french product is really good. Give it a shot.
Posted 08 September 2019 - 04:39 PM
I would be trying a later bedtime. Difficulty falling asleep in middle of night happens to my kids if I try to get them to sleep longer than their inbuilt maximum of 10.5 hours a night.
Posted 08 September 2019 - 06:07 PM
I second the idea of a later bedtime. We have learned through trial and error that if we put DS to bed before he's been up for 14 hours, his body considers it a nap and he'll be up after five hours! If we put him to bed at 13 and 3/4 hours it can still happen. He has the most amazing inbuilt clock. So maybe try a later bedtime and see how you go.
Posted 08 September 2019 - 06:22 PM
The issue we have with later bed time, even with melatonin, is she will wake at 430-5. If she goes to bed at 7pm she wakes then and if she goes to bed at midnight she wakes then. For some it doesn't work
Forgot to mention we also now use a weighted blanket which I was recommended and I think helps a bit at night but she still wakes early no matter what tweaks we try. It's hard. Luckily she's old enough to just go play or watch TV or whatever and she's been told not to get out of bed until 6 (we put a digital clock in her room) so she lays and talks to herself but will tell us the exact time she woke later.
Posted 08 September 2019 - 06:38 PM
Can only add what we have done
ENT, tonsils and adenoids out
Melatonin to get them to go to sleep
Paed sleep specialist, who prescribed
Vallergan forte to keep them asleep. When the manufacturers stopped making it, we were able to get it compounded from the pharmacy at Royal Childrens Hospital Melbourne who will express post it to you.
We have a king bed plus a single bed all pushed together to give more space. If you are on a different mattress(at least one parent ) the kicking is less bothersome. We are usually 5 in the bed most mornings. We totally gave up trying to put them back but only one is a bad kicker.
Taking one off dairy helped, but that one had complained of sore tummy a lot. Also had sleep apnoea
ETA woods pharmacy at RCH melb. 03 9345 6500. You want to speak with Drew (the others don’t know much about Vallergan). They are happy to take an email script if you send original in by post.
Edited by Chaotic Pogo, 08 September 2019 - 06:49 PM.
Posted 08 September 2019 - 06:42 PM
Later bedtime never worked for my kids, they don’t sleep in any longer
Posted 08 September 2019 - 07:16 PM
Thank you all for your responses, I appreciate it so much.
Today I went out and bought a single mattress to have in our room and she is happy with that, she is starting the night in her room but when she wakes up I’ll let her stay on her mattress in our room.
We also went to the gp today and she has agreed we need to see a child psychologist, we have to go back tomorrow after school and she will arrange that and I think she is doing a mental health plan as well.
Regarding the ent, my dd has a severe hearing loss on one side and sees an ent twice a year anyways, at the last appointment I asked him about issues with sleep and he checked her tonsils, adenoids etc and couldn’t find any issues.
To the pp, yes she has had her iron levels checked and they were low, she takes a daily supplement and that has brought her levels back up and they are ok now.
I struggle to do a later bedtime for her and I have tried because she has such a crappy sleep at night by the time evening rolls around she is asking to go to bed and if she gets too overtired in the evening we have some major meltdowns.
I think our bedtime routine is ok, we do dinner and bath and then we do her reader, tonight after her reader I did some colouring with her then it’s teeth toilet and bed. Tonight I had to put her to bed at 7, she was begging to go to sleep and was out in about 2 minutes.
Thank you for all the other suggestions also, I will be trying anything I can to help my daughter.
Edited by Lucla, 08 September 2019 - 07:22 PM.
Posted 08 September 2019 - 07:23 PM
Hi OP, hopefully the mattress does the trick!
I just want to say you’re doing such a great job responding to her needs.
My 9yo still comes into our bed most nights at around 3 or 4am. Thankfully she’s easy to sleep with and we rarely wake up. But my son was not fun to co-sleep with and we definitely couldn’t fit four in our queen sized bed. So when they were both waking a few years back, we had a camp mattress under each side of our bed with a blanket on it. Either or both kids would come in and plonk down on the mattress to sleep. We pulled them out when we went to bed.
As a child I was the same and my parents had the same solution. And I can still - at 42 - vividly remember that feeling of reassurance and safety as l drifted off to sleep on the floor next to Mum and Dad.
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