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jess
August 12th, 2004, 09:30 AM
I have two kids. One is 3 and the other will be turning 1. They have always had very unusual sleeping patterns that I can't fix. For instance, one night they can go to bed at 10 pm, wake up at 3 am and be wide awake until 8 pm, sleep for a couple of hours, and be ready to go for another 12. And sometimes, they can sleep for 8 hrs at a time (although not without waking up briefly and then going back to sleep) but it's not very often. What's strange about this is that my husband and I don't have a hectic lifestyle. While he works 3 to 11, I'm home with them always. I take them outside to play, they're often around other children, and on weekends we go to the lake, or take them out to eat. They don't get caffiene, or a real significant amount of sugar, and they are perfectly healthy. I've worked really hard on getting them on a normal sleeping pattern, but everything I do is useless. I've asked a few different doctors about it, but they give me the run around like I don't know what I'm talking about and that it's all my fault. I honestly can't see what I'm doing wrong. I've tried just about everything. Warm milk, an aquarium next to the crib, singing to them, leaving the radio on during the night, complete silence while they sleep, car rides, and even letting them sleep with me. They HATE sleeping.
Does anyone have any advice or any ideas on this?

Tea Leaf
August 12th, 2004, 10:24 AM
The only thing I can really come up with is to get them into a routine. Pick a time that you want them to go to bed; and make up a routine around it, whether that be a bath, milk and cookie, story time (one story) first...etc. Make it sometime that is a little time consuming, like all three things I mentioned that way their bodies/minds have time to fall into the sleeping patterns.


Ohhh, also, I donít know if this is your childrenís problem, but when I was little every time my mom would put me down Iíd wake up. I was frighten to death of being alone. When I was about 8 or 9 my mom put a tv in my room and put on some disney movies... I worked over everything else because I felt like I was not alone and when the tapes ended it did not make a noise like cassettes did at the time to wake me up. I donít know if that helps you, but maybe your kids have something like this? It could be monsters under the bed something that keeps them from sleeping.

Tullip Troll
August 12th, 2004, 10:45 AM
Sounds like their clocks are outa wack.

Start a routine and makesure they do something that will make them tired during the day...wind them down before bed...even warm milk etc...it only works if you stick to it and be consistant...Also thier diet can play a role in this as well...I know you said you tried all of this but have you made whatever you try a routine for a few weeks...

MheraPai

no easy answer

jess
August 13th, 2004, 01:17 AM
I think we have a pretty good routine. They always take a bath after breakfast, and have about an hour of cartoon time. We go outside alot so Miranda can run around and tire herself out. My youngest, doesn't walk yet, so when she's not in a stroller, I let her play in the grass. They have meals around the same time everyday, and we have alot of activities that we do together to fill out their day, like stories and playtime.
Dunno. Maybe it's just them. They're pretty hyper.
No wonder why people don't like to babysit for me. :confused:

GaiaDea
August 13th, 2004, 05:49 AM
This is going to sound like bad advice. Trust me, it isn't.

First, if you have a good routine, stick to it, and do your best to rigidly stay on it. Also try to inform the kids in advance if there will be any changes in schedule as far in advance as you can. And repeat it about an hour before the schedule change occurs.

Make sure there is a rule in place that bedtime and naptime are for being in the bed, lying down. They can be awake or asleep, but they should be in the bed lying down either way. Do not let them use the bed for playing, only for sleeptime. This helps condition them to actually sleep while they are in the bed.

Caffeine. In children who have not gone through puberty, caffeine actually works backwards, causing them to become calmer, more focused, and sometimes sleepy. It acts in the exact same way that ritalin works on hyperactive and attention-disorder children, although it has less, and less severe side effects. Since your children do not consume caffeine at all, a half a cup of tea ten to fifteen minutes before bed time as a treat may well help them to sleep. It will not stunt their growth, and that little caffeine will not cause a caffeine addiction.

My source on this is the New England Journal Of Medicine. It was an article addressing the use of caffeine as an alternative to ritalin or other amphetamine-based drugs to treat both hyperactivity and ADD. My DD has ADD, and since clinical depression runs in the family, she is treated with caffeine only, since amphetamines and depression are a BAD mix, and usually CAUSES psychoses. I am sorry I don't remember the year or issue it was published in, but if you go to the library and look in a Nurse's Handbook of Drugs, under ritalin, it lists caffeine as an alternative in cases of juvenile or hereditary depression. Look under contraindications.

And please don't be quick to look at the symptoms of either ADD or ADHD and diagnose your kids. It is easy to do, since all kids are more full of energy than we poor adults! These conditions are drastically overdiagnosed by both parents and doctors, who then put kids on unneccesary drugs. Have no doubt, ritalin and similar drugs are addictive and can mess up a developing system. That is not to say that the conditions do not exist, or that some kids truly need the drugs. I am only saying to be cautious and careful, as imposed changes to a developing system can cause other issues later.

Sorry, had to put that last in, as I see too much bad medicine being inflicted on children these days, and feel compelled to warn. Don't be afraid of using a little caffeine in small doses, as it can help both you and the kids settle into a more comfortable routine. Caffeine is a wonderful drug, with few side effects, and can be used safely as long as you understand at what doses an addiction can occur. Withdrawal from an addiction usually causes headache, irritability, and tiredness for two to three days, approximately two or three days after it is discontinued. Tylenol will help the headache, as well as increased fluids, if this occurs. However, the small dose I am suggesting will not cause addiction.

Hope this helps some, or another method works as well!

Tullip Troll
August 13th, 2004, 06:01 AM
there was a show on tv a few years back saying the very same thing about the caffiene in small children to help wind them down.

MHeraPai...

I think it sounds like a good idea to try.

Hellenic_Witch
August 13th, 2004, 08:07 AM
This is going to sound like bad advice. Trust me, it isn't.

First, if you have a good routine, stick to it, and do your best to rigidly stay on it. Also try to inform the kids in advance if there will be any changes in schedule as far in advance as you can. And repeat it about an hour before the schedule change occurs.

Make sure there is a rule in place that bedtime and naptime are for being in the bed, lying down. They can be awake or asleep, but they should be in the bed lying down either way. Do not let them use the bed for playing, only for sleeptime. This helps condition them to actually sleep while they are in the bed.

Caffeine. In children who have not gone through puberty, caffeine actually works backwards, causing them to become calmer, more focused, and sometimes sleepy. It acts in the exact same way that ritalin works on hyperactive and attention-disorder children, although it has less, and less severe side effects. Since your children do not consume caffeine at all, a half a cup of tea ten to fifteen minutes before bed time as a treat may well help them to sleep. It will not stunt their growth, and that little caffeine will not cause a caffeine addiction.

My source on this is the New England Journal Of Medicine. It was an article addressing the use of caffeine as an alternative to ritalin or other amphetamine-based drugs to treat both hyperactivity and ADD. My DD has ADD, and since clinical depression runs in the family, she is treated with caffeine only, since amphetamines and depression are a BAD mix, and usually CAUSES psychoses. I am sorry I don't remember the year or issue it was published in, but if you go to the library and look in a Nurse's Handbook of Drugs, under ritalin, it lists caffeine as an alternative in cases of juvenile or hereditary depression. Look under contraindications.

And please don't be quick to look at the symptoms of either ADD or ADHD and diagnose your kids. It is easy to do, since all kids are more full of energy than we poor adults! These conditions are drastically overdiagnosed by both parents and doctors, who then put kids on unneccesary drugs. Have no doubt, ritalin and similar drugs are addictive and can mess up a developing system. That is not to say that the conditions do not exist, or that some kids truly need the drugs. I am only saying to be cautious and careful, as imposed changes to a developing system can cause other issues later.

Sorry, had to put that last in, as I see too much bad medicine being inflicted on children these days, and feel compelled to warn. Don't be afraid of using a little caffeine in small doses, as it can help both you and the kids settle into a more comfortable routine. Caffeine is a wonderful drug, with few side effects, and can be used safely as long as you understand at what doses an addiction can occur. Withdrawal from an addiction usually causes headache, irritability, and tiredness for two to three days, approximately two or three days after it is discontinued. Tylenol will help the headache, as well as increased fluids, if this occurs. However, the small dose I am suggesting will not cause addiction.

Hope this helps some, or another method works as well!

WOW! I have not heard this about caffeine before--I find it interesting. Well, as a caffeine addict, I guess I would find it interesting.
I had the same problem with my kids when they were younger--I know it's been said before, but routine routine routine!!! And I read somewhere once that when you begin a new rule or routine with little ones -- stick to it rigidly for 7 days. Don't deviate from it -- Make it work for 7 days straight and BAM, it sticks! Your kids will be used to it and it will just become a normal part of your everyday life. At least it works for us . . . .

Shanti
August 13th, 2004, 08:34 AM
Out of 5 kids, 3 were like that for me. My son thats 24 now still doent sleep much. 5 hours and he's up and going. He works 60-70 hour work weeks and still if refreshed after 5 hours of sleep. When he was little no matter what time he went to bed, he was up at 6 am. I was on second shift, so we went to bed late and I was stuck up at 6 am. My 4 and 6 yr olds now, same thing. I am on first shift now. Up at 4:30 am. I want to be asleep by 9 but my kids...they are put in bed at 8-9 pm and lay in bed, awake, till about midnight and are up at the crack of dawn!
I blame it on genetics. My mom was one who didnt sleep much and my grandmother at 65 still went to bed at midnight and was up at 5 am.
I dont know why for sure. All I know is in my kids it seems normal for them and it kills me....I love sleep!!!!
I never found a solution. My 3 hyper kids also stopped taking naps by 6 months old!!

Riya
August 15th, 2004, 03:13 AM
I had the same problem with my children for a while. My son is in therapy for ADHD, I thought it was connected with that but it wasn't. She said that it was possible he was over-tired. The best thing to do is stick to a strict schedule. Start with good bedtime rituals. Set a certain time for everything. Bathtime, brushing teeth, potty, a bedtime story, a small sip of water, tuck them in and lights out. Ignore pleas for "one more story", "more drink", or "another hug/kiss".
It will take a while and will seem frustrating, but it works.
If your kids don't share a room like mine did use a different strategy for the younger. Use the appropriate bedtime rituals but instead of leaving the room, sit in a corner on the other end of the room with a REALLY good book. I suggest using a small reading lamp or even one of the attachable book lights. Just sit back and enjoy your book. Once he/she realizes that you're not there to play or talk to they will get used to your presence and will associate the light and your reading as time to wind down, relax and eventually fall asleep.
I agree with GaiaDea, ritalin is over-used, just as a side note, my son has never been medicated for his ADHD, we use natural methods and strict schedules which greatly help.

jess
August 16th, 2004, 01:28 AM
Wow. I never knew that about caffiene, either. And here I was thinking about giving them each a shot of whiskey before bed. :tongueout
No, but I told my husband about that, and he made a special trip all the way into town to get a box of gallon tea bags.
It won't be easy though. She's 36lbs of brute. Getting her to do anything she doesn't want to is like pulling teeth. I just recently found out that she has an ear infection, which might be part of the problem, but she's hated sleep since she was about 6 months old. The worst part of it is I can't get her to take her antibiotics, or any meds for that matter. She won't drink anything other than milk or juice. I might have problems getting her to drink the tea.