Sleep Matters!

Published December 28, 2011 by thefamilyof5

So my big girl has trouble sleeping. She has done since she came to us (probably before to but we’ll never know).

she used to get up 6/7 times a night, after lots of months of perseverance, she no longer gets up in the night.

She doesn’t sleep though either. She fights sleep to the death and will do all she can to keep herself awake. She used to take on average 2.5 hours to fall asleep. Meaning if she went to bed at 8pm it would be gone 10pm before she went to sleep. Again many many many months of perseverance and we have managed to reduce this to 1.5hours, 1 hour is the minimum and very rare. I’ve been monitoring her sleep patterns now for over a year, im confident that if she closed her eyes and lay perfectly still for 15 minutes she would fall asleep.

The other issue is that once she finally does fall asleep she is so hyper vigilant that she wakes every hour, literally, throughout the night.  Sometimes for only a few seconds, sometimes for up to 10/15 minutes, but all meaning she is getting no REM sleep or very little if any.

She’s so tired, she has dark circles under her eyes, she looks pale some days, her muscles ache, she has no concentration, her attention seeking behaviors are accentuated and she overall just struggles with life more when she’s tired.

Because of the above we’ve tried everything we can to help her sleep. Low lighting, soft music, audio stories, quiet time before bed, early nights, late nights, an eye mask, blank out blinds the list goes on and all to no avail.  She now goes to bed on school nights at around 6pm, just so we can have her asleep for before 8pm. We’ve reluctantly resorted to sedative infused children’s cold medicines once every few weeks in the hope that she will catch up a little.

Her sleep problems have such a major impact on hers and our lives. I’m reluctant to let her have late nights as she can’t catch up on sleep. She wakes between 5am and 6.30am and once she wakes she is unable to go back to sleep. If she slept through the night then all of this wouldn’t be an issue, but she doesn’t. On school days i have only a few hours to get her home fed and to bed and this has to also include an hours ‘quiet time’, so there’s not much time left for fun or excitement.

I decided last week that i’d tried all i could and it was time to let the professionals help her. We had a doctor’s appointment this morning.  After explaining all of the above to the doctor in an almost begging for help kind of way, he replied ‘im not sure how else you could handle this either?!’ my heart sank! I know in my heart that drugs are not the answer but i really had hoped he’d prescribe her something to help her sleep even if only for the short-term. I can’t bare to see her struggle so much. Instead, the only hope he could offer me was that CAMHS or the Community pediatrician (both of whom she’s been refered to, and is awaiting appointments which could be months) might be able to offer some more advice. I could have cried right there in his surgery.

Seems all i have to cling to for hope in the interim is lavender, in the wake of todays appointment a few of my friends have suggested it. Im not sure that will help,  if it was a wonder drug it’d be expensive surely, but im willing to try anything, it certainly can’t do any harm.

I might try some myself, im starting to lose sleep with worry, well that and the noise from the next room as she tosses and turns all night.

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One comment on “Sleep Matters!

  • If it helps…. we regularly use lavender on Brownie pack holidays. 12 7-10 year old girls in a room is not designed for sleep – but it relaxes them and they sleep.

    Whether it will help with the waking through the night – I don’t know. She obviously needs to work on knowing that she is safe and that there is nothing going to harm her whilst she sleeps. I wish I had an answer on how you could help her with this – but sadly I don’t. Our boy wakes up with night terrors when he’s unsettled…but whilst we have had nights of being more awake than asleep – for us it doesn’t matter as much because he can miss pre-school or what ever we’ve got planned and have a quiet day the next day.

    I hope that you manage to find a solution.

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