Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Mysteries of Sleep

I complained last month about Ashlyn's sleeping issues. I restrained myself from continuing to whine about the lack of sleep around here for the next few weeks, because it only slightly improved for about a month or so. She started sleeping all night most nights, but was getting up between 4:30 and 5 EVERY morning. We kept putting her back in bed. We tried keeping her up later. Benadryl was considered. I reread one of my sleep books that suggested teaching your child to stay in bed until the clock said a specific time. Then, her naps started getting shorter as well. At about the 4th week, the lack of sleep was truly causing problems for her. Since she obviously needed more sleep, we put her to bed earlier. Though we were afraid that she would get up earlier, we weren't sure that it was even possible. So, she slept later the next day, and the next, and the next, and so on. Even though I'd read when she was an infant that the more sleep a child gets, the more sleep they will want, I wasn't sure that earlier was what she needed at this point. Now, when I say that she has slept later, I'm talking at least 5:30, but usually 6. But, she has been well-rested and pleasant. A much better situation all around........ until this morning. Not 4:30 again! Nooooooo!

10 comments:

Natalie said...

Ugh. I really don't know what to say. Liv is an all-night sleeper and even though she is still in a crib, she can climb out-but has only done that twice. She'll be in a bed very soon - so, I may feel your pain then.
I don't think taking away the nap will help b/c she probably still needs it and you'll need it when the baby comes. I'd keep the early bedtime and move the nap (if she continues to rise at the crack of dawn) to an early time. As early as 11:30 or 12:00 (Maj. Talburg once suggested that early of a time). It'll probably take a week or so to adjust to an early nap time - but, it could possibly work. If you take away a nap, she'll go to bed even earlier at night and be crabby, I would think, by 4:00pm. If she does respond to an earlier nap, you could move the bedtime back again to 7:30 or 8:00 and do lots of outside/play stuff before bath and reading. You could also do what Shelly H. did and get a super tall gate for her room and just not allow her to come out until a certain time. She may eventually get the hint - w/lots of crying before then. Holly probably has better advice. I hope it gets better before the baby is born!

sara said...

Sleep issues are running rampant! We're having them here too!

Alaska Dunns said...

Sorry, not much advice here. I got tired(er) just reading your blog. ;) Sounds awful. My boys like sleeping more than most kids I know. So, while they do go through temporary sleep difficulties, they usually settle back down to a good night time schedule. Mikey (almost 2) naps about 2 hours in the afternoon and sleeps from about 8pm to between 7 and 8am. Daniel (almost 4) still takes occasional naps, a couple a week. But I try not to let him nap more than about an hour and a half or he will stay up all night. If he naps, he usually goes to bed around 9 (but will often be awake much later) and wakes up between 7 & 8. If no nap, I put him down at 8.

I know the experts say to put infants down earlier if they aren't sleeping well, but I think as they hit preschool stage, they can handle a little later bedtime to get them to sleep later in the morning. Ashlyn is at the age where some kids kick naps. That's probably not welcome news for you, especially being pregnant. But you may have to compromise for a later bedtime if you want to keep naps going. Or shorten her naps to just an hour or so.

It has worked in the past to talk it through with Daniel. When he was going through a 6:30am waking pattern I explained to him at bedtime that he needs to sleep as long as possible in the morning to help mommy. I would tell him when he wakes up, just roll over, close his eyes, and go back to sleep. It took a few days but he was able to get himself back to sleep after a couple days of this verbal encouragement.

Is there anything that might be contributing to Ashlyn waking up? Is it dark enough in her room? Are there any unusual noises in the morning that she may be responding to -- water heater turning on, cars outside...? Have you thought about a fan or some other kind of white noise to minimize distractions?

Well, that's all I've got. Hope it gets better for you. I think I'd turn into evil banshee mamma if I was going through that. :)

Holly

Natalie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natalie said...

I knew Holly would have good advice! Shorten the nap if you can and put her to bed later if you can. Both good ideas. I'm a true believer in naps at no matter what age. But, then again, my three sisters and I napped until we went to school full-time(first grade). We've always loved sleep and Olivia, who will be three in a few months, can't make it past 3:00pm w/o completely falling apart w/o a nap. So, I don't think giving up naps are in our near future (thank goodness!)Like Brenda, even when kids kick a nap (as Brock right around the time he turned three, I believe that by the time the time they're old enough to be kicking naps, they are old enough to spend an hour in their rooms reading, lisening to soft music or drawing quietly (in other words -leaving mom alone!). I think Brock is pretty good about staying in his room and playing quietly during nap time and goes to bed by 6:30 or 7:00. I'll have to check-in w/Brenda again - but, that's the last I heard. So, no matter what, I think you have time to figure something out before the baby is born...

Angie said...

When her sleep was at its worst, she was taking shorter naps, going to bed later, and still getting up just as early, so I don't think that is the answer. I have no idea what the answer is, but shorter naps and a later bedtime just made for a crankier kid all day long.

And, Holly, I dream of Ashlyn sleeping until 6:30. That sounds wonderful!

Anonymous said...

It seems as though you've tried a lot of things. Maybe you should kick the nap habit (as Holly said) for a couple of days (3-4) and see what happens. I know that my sister had to stop napping a couple of her kids (she has 5) because they woke up way too early and it worked for her -- her kids slept later (until 8/9 in the morning). Yeah, you may lose your "me" time during the day, but at least you may be able to sleep longer at night. Besides, naps aren't for everyone -- I love naps, but Ed has to be constantly moving throughout the day (naps aren't a "one size fits all" type of thing). And if none of that works, Ed has suggested that you put Ashlyn in a cage and not let her out -- haha! That's guys for you!
Kellie

Jamie Lynn said...

good luck. that sucks! no real advise here. i am sure have already thought and tried just about everything. you're not alone and don't forget to ask for help when you need it. just b/c ashlyn does not sleep it does not mean you don't need it. love ya. hang in there...

christal said...

I wish I could be there to help you. It is so hard to keep trying a new pattern when you are in the fog of sleep deprivation.

My suggestion is to get Allen to get up to her in the morning - before she comes into your room, (set the alarm if you have too so she doesnt' come in to you - get him to go to her) so as soon as she wakes in the morning Allen can reasure her of her surroundings, let her know mummy's sleeping and try helping her settle back to sleep. With Brad and I both working we try anything new with Jackson on a Thursday - as you can get through one day at work overtired.
love you lots -

Jamie Lynn said...

i woke up thinking about you this morning. i'd say ash will settle back down. you did just move again. I know that wilson (who is still not sleeping more than 6 hours straight...he usually gives me a 5 and 6 hour stretch at night) will wake up super early, and 2 or more times a night, when which switch up his "routine".

changes are hard on the little ones. i never realized how much until now. had i known don't know if i would be remodeling, going to school, and having c gone.

what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.