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Sleep issues

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    Sleep issues

    Hi!

    I was going to post on a thread I had written earlier, but thought others might struggle with this as well. My long story is that my middle child, a nearly 4 year old son has had sleep issues since he came home from the hospital. Ok, I know newborns don't sleep, but he didn't do that 6-8 week sleeping for 4+ hours...ever. In fact, he didn't sleep more than 2-3 hours until he was 12 months old. We finally figured out he had/has food allergies (severely allergic to peanuts and eggs and has a mild soy allergy). We eliminated those foods from my diet (I was nursing) but the sleep didn't really get better. Then, finally he started sleeping, for maybe 4-6 months. He turned 2.5 and his sleep went crazy. He would wake up in the middle of night and scream..just scream...for hours. That seemed to get a bit better and then we finally went to an OT/PT and found out he has some sensory issues, though not formally diagnosed with anything. He needs to be touched, bounced around, etc. He would only sleep well if we slept with him when he woke up in the middle of the night. One day we went to an open gym at a gymnastics center and he literally jumped into the pit for a solid hour. He slept all night!! It's hard to find things like that that get him the sensory input he needs. Then, Cheryl you mentioned with sleep issues to wake him at the same time every day. I'm struggling with this because around 4-6pm he will just fall asleep (not everyday).....I turn my back for 2 minutes and there he will be, on the floor asleep. It makes it really hard to establish a sleep routine and this is a viscous cycle we find ourselves in many days a week. I try to be conscious of him doing this, but sometimes hubby is not home and I am making my dinner or tending to another child, and I miss him laying himself down. If you have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it. It is 11:22pm and he is still awake tonight after falling asleep at 5pm. We try to wake him when we see him do this, but he literally won't get up. Or if we do, he screams and cries for an hour. It affects our whole day the next day. Thanks so much!! I know this isn't specific to "school" but it makes getting a routine for the day really difficult! (and homeschooling because I am so tired!) (though having the lesson plans does make it that much easier.)
    Christine

    (2019/2020)
    DD1 8/23/09 - SC5/6
    DS2 9/1/11 - SC3,4, 5/6 combo
    DD3 2/9/13 -SC2 to start, MP1 second semester

    Previous Years
    DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4’
    DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2)
    DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK)

    #2
    Re: Sleep issues

    Originally posted by howiecram View Post
    Hi!

    I was going to post on a thread I had written earlier, but thought others might struggle with this as well. My long story is that my middle child, a nearly 4 year old son has had sleep issues since he came home from the hospital. ...

    We finally went to an OT/PT and found out he has some sensory issues, though not formally diagnosed with anything. He needs to be touched, bounced around, etc. He would only sleep well if we slept with him when he woke up in the middle of the night. One day we went to an open gym at a gymnastics center and he literally jumped into the pit for a solid hour. He slept all night!! It's hard to find things like that that get him the sensory input he needs. ...

    Around 4-6pm he will just fall asleep (not everyday). I turn my back for 2 minutes and there he will be, on the floor asleep. It makes it really hard to establish a sleep routine and this is a viscous cycle we find ourselves in many days a week.

    It is 11:22pm and he is still awake tonight after falling asleep at 5pm. We try to wake him when we see him do this, but he literally won't get up. Or if we do, he screams and cries for an hour. It affects our whole day the next day.

    Thanks so much!! I know this isn't specific to "school" but it makes getting a routine for the day really difficult! (and homeschooling because I am so tired!) (though having the lesson plans does make it that much easier.)

    Yes, such sleep issues dramatically impact learning (and teaching!). The difficulties you describe seem to reach beyond typical suggestions for "better sleep hygiene." Given his history, this sounds like something you might want to explore professionally. My daughter's sleep disturbances were found to be caused by multiple factors. We needed to address all of them. This takes time to discover and then to address, but it is well worth the effort. As you well know, this single issue impacts family life, the ability to keep a reasonable schedule, and the child's overall well-being. We found these combined elements helpful:

    1. An updated OT evaluation with the express purpose of determining a good daily "sensory diet."
    2. Daily vigorous exercise and outdoor play as non-negotiable components of our homeschool. (Bonus: Implementing a strong physical program for improved strength, coordination, and self-control - such as gymnastics - is quite classical! Many of our special-needs children seem to benefit from this even more than the "typical" child.)
    3. Neurology, overnight video EEG, or pediatric sleep clinic - or all of these. Through these, unexpected factors may be revealed.

    [Just as one example - over time these evaluations resulted in my daughter's diagnoses with RLS and related anemia, parasomnias, nasal congestion preventing a good night's sleep, anxiety due to her specific nighttime brain patterns, and a diagnosis of "delayed sleep phase syndrome," among other things. Taken together, all of this explained quite a bit and provided multiple solutions. She received iron supplements, began extended-release melatonin she now takes nightly, began homeschooling under a bright work light for mornings to "reset her circadian clock," and we started a new plan to manage her sleep-related anxiety. Each child will present differently, of course, but the process of receiving thorough evaluations proved very helpful for us.]

    For some common suggestions you may have already tried, along with some conditions you might investigate with your local professionals, see Sleep Information here. Note the section specifically on children.



    We are told that some sleep conditions can be quite persistent. Even after all of this, Michelle still struggles with good sleep some nights. However, we are no longer topsy-turvy with nighttime/daytime confusion. With management of sensory, medical, and emotional conditions, most evenings she voluntarily goes to bed! In fact, we decline most evening invitations now, because she is often in bed by 7:30 or 8pm. We know enough not to change this pattern. All is working well. Now she awakens at 7am or so.

    Today she often rises relatively rested, and then she writes or reads in her room. (When she was four, I would have loved knowing this could happen one day!)


    Best of all, thanks to the efforts of all who helped us over the years, Michelle's bed is now a place of true comfort and rest. Very often she will climb eagerly under her covers at night, as I tuck her in. She sighs deeply, and she murmurs, "Bed, sweet bed. What a wonderful word."



    I hope you can help your son find good help, so you - and he - can find some relief.

    Cheryl

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Sleep issues

      Thank you for saying his sleep is not normal. I still struggle with what seems like no one "believing" me or thinking our parenting habits have created these problems. Sleep has been a struggle in our home since my oldest was a baby (she will be 6 in a few days). My oldest was "colicky" and basically had to be bounced (on a ball with me wearing her) for hours to get her to sleep. When she was about 8-10 weeks, it got better and the swing saved me. She could sleep for hours in the swing. We moved across the country when she was 8 months old, but by the time she was 9-10 months her sleep improved and our daily rhythm began and she thrived (and so did mommy!). When she was 15 months old another child came to be with us from 12:30-5 M-F. They were 3 weeks apart and it was the perfect combination of personalities and our daily rhythm again continued to have my daughter thrive. My son came along when she was 2, but even with his oddities in sleep, we were still able to maintain a similar rhythm. I think having the other little girl actually helped ease the transition with a new sibling. However, when she was 3, the little girl stopped coming as the mother decided to stay home after a traumatic miscarriage. I think this was the turning point for our family (not for the better) as our rhythm was literally gone over night. I never realized it at the time, honestly. AS time went on, I began to enjoy not having to be in our home at noon and would allow playdates to linger and not watch the clock so much. My son did get on a good napping schedule, so we did work around that but he wasn't sleeping well at night. When he was 9 months, we found out we were expecting my youngest daughter. She came along when my oldest was 3.5 and my son was 17 months. Again, our world turned upside down and she was even more difficult than the first two (I couldn't believe it would get harder with each child! LOL). I eliminated dairy, soy, peanuts, eggs and gluten from my diet and she was "better". In fact, of my 3 children, she is the only one not severely allergic to any foods. She also was one that did not sleep more than 2-3 hours until she was 15 months (she had underlying ear troubles and we finally got tubes when she was 13 months, but it took another solid month before they were finally clear, even after the tubes!). So, she turned 15 months, we got her sleeping well and then my son (who had been sleeping well) started waking up again. So, it seems we get a period of restfulness and then it all changes! The baby was doing well until about 18-19 months and then basically for a solid year my son and younger daughter took turns waking up for 2-3 hours at night. I think we figured out my younger daughter's problem and it was solved with some better sleep habits (I think she was in bed for too long). She also can not have ice cream and we finally eliminated dairy again and her rashes are finally gone. The boy keeps us guessing. He goes for a week or so sleeping really well and then it's topsy turvy....WE did travel last week, so I am sure he is adjusting again. I thank you dearly for the suggestion of waking kids at same time as my oldest (who has been my most solid sleeper over the last 2 years) as I think she is finally regulated now (her sleep needs changed practically overnight and we kind of missed it..she was staying up until 11pm, protesting....) I finally started waking her at 8am but this still has her falling asleep at 10pm. We can virtually set our clock by her now though, so I know it was a good move. We need to adjust her time a bit, but it is a start. She is a different human on enough sleep! :-) I just need to move that bedtime to a bit earlier so Mom and Dad have a few minutes....

      Behaviors..all 3 have somewhat loud almost Dr. Jekell/Mr. Hyde, best way I can describe it personalities. My oldest thrives on routine and needs hours of alone sensory type activities (sensory bins, pouring, building, etc). YEs, my son requires hours of vigorous play but I have yet to find a way to meet this need the way he needs it. (My oldest protests the outdoor play, so we do it, but not nearly long enough). The youngest comes along for the ride and she is 2.5 and I'm waiting to asses her needs, but for now we are working hard on the oldest two to make our lives a little better.

      If you have any coping strategies for parents while we asses what is going on with this little people whom we love dearly, but are throughly exhausted, we would certainly appreciate it! I am so thankful for MP. On the days where I am so exhausted I can barely think, I at least have these wonderful lesson plans that we can complete, even if I am somewhat incoherent.....I've seen the suggestion to get your book..and I am about to order it!
      Christine

      (2019/2020)
      DD1 8/23/09 - SC5/6
      DS2 9/1/11 - SC3,4, 5/6 combo
      DD3 2/9/13 -SC2 to start, MP1 second semester

      Previous Years
      DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4’
      DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2)
      DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK)

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Sleep issues

        Through your own reflections, you seem to have identified three key factors for your children: allergen avoidance, routine, and consistency.

        You can establish and continue all of these, while you wait to determine whether something is - or is not - needing professional attention. For specifics on improving sleep routines, search "encouraging child sleep habits" or "pediatric sleep hygiene," and you'll find a few suggestions. Six good tips are embedded, for example, in this article.


        Here is another suggestion not often found in such articles: enjoy some time away. If you have a good team of babysitters or grandparents to care for the children, you and your husband might want to consider some time away to rest for a few days. Sometimes stepping away from the situation can bring greater clarity, especially if coupled with needed sleep! Then you can returned, refreshed and ready, to implement a better routine with greater consistency. If you do not have such support, perhaps your husband might keep the children just for a night or two, while you take some time to rest, recover, and reflect.

        Regardless, just as with your SC/MP lessons for learning, you now need a "game plan" for living, so everyone can enjoy a more predictable and satisfying routine - both day and night!

        Cheryl


        Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Sleep issues

          Super quick response here: a close friend of mine has a SN son who has a "sensory plan" of exercises he does every day that help him IMMENSELY. He has sensory issues, temper and mood challenges (the polite way to put it) and is what one might call "high strung". His sensory exercises make his day go WAAAAY better and improve his functioning and sleep. She sent me the link to what they do (recommended by their OT).... (Where is it....? Hmm...) Let me see if I can find it and I will send it along. It is basically a series of exercises (spinning, jumping, hanging upside down over the back of the couch for prescribed reps or seconds of time) but his mom says it helps him calm down, focus and "smile"

          Cheryl is right -- you need a professional assessment and all the tools they can provide you. AND, GIRL, YOU NEED SOME SLEEP! I can't even imagine. I am a BEAR without good rest. So get all those plans in place, ASAP. I know -- it's intimidating. And just "one more thing to do". But if, at the end, everyone is sleeping on a fairly predictable schedule and you can get even a modicum of predictability back into your family life -- ? Totally worth it.

          Saying a prayer for you!
          Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
          Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
          Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
          Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

          “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
          ~Pope St John Paul II

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Sleep issues

            Just an update on this. It has probably been 5-7 weeks since we started my son on the new meds (hydroxine). It probably took a full 3 weeks to see if it was going to "work". In the beginning, he was still waking up, briefly. However, his stretches of sleep increased quickly from 10 hours to 10.5-11 hours. It's amazing what a difference just an additional 30 minutes has on him. He does really get more like 11 hours though now. He does still occasionally wake up in the middle of the night, but again it is brief, and I can practically walk him back to bed in my sleep! :-) I feel like I can predict when he will sleep and wake up now...vice the scattered sleep he was getting. He did get a cold recently and getting him to sleep was a challenge, but now he is better and back to what he had achieved earlier. We also went on a trip and usually it takes 1-2 weeks to re-regulate him. Day 3 since we have been home and he is already regulated again! Hurray!

            However, we are basically starting at exactly the same point as my son with my younger daughter now. He was about 2 1/2-2 3/4 when his sleep troubles were at their worst. He would scream at night if we didn't lay down..kick us violently, kick the door, etc. My younger daughter isn't quite as bad, but waking up as much. She has bad eczema as well, so we started her on the medicine. We only started the medicine about a week ago and we took a trip after starting the meds only 2 days later. She had 2 nights at home where she slept all night, but the last two (I did notice her eczema was inflamed) have not been good. We actually bought a queen size bed for her room (we really needed a guest bed anyway) so i could get some rest. She, unlike him though has a pretty predictable schedule, so that is a bonus! Anyway, I'm hopeful that another week or so on the medicine will help her too...or we will be calling the doctor again! :-)

            (I had to walk away from this message about 3 times, so hopefully, there are complete thoughts!) :-)
            Christine

            (2019/2020)
            DD1 8/23/09 - SC5/6
            DS2 9/1/11 - SC3,4, 5/6 combo
            DD3 2/9/13 -SC2 to start, MP1 second semester

            Previous Years
            DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4’
            DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2)
            DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK)

            Comment

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