Sleeping Issues w/7 yo Daughter

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by mangled, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. mangled

    mangled Songster

    Okay, I'm an RN with a bachelor's in nursing science, a minor in psychology and a minor in gerontology. I've got a huge background in understanding behavior, and my 7 year old has me absolutely, positively baffled.

    She absolutely will not go to sleep. We have a rock solid bedtime routine, clean up time, snack time, brush teeth, wash up, get the bed ready, pjs on, story, prayers, good night. My 4 year old is out in literally, 5 minutes. My 7 year old, she will lay in there for hours. 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock in the morning, I'll be awakened by a noise, and she's in there screwing around with things.

    Her brother and her play HARD all day. We have 13 acres, chickens, ducks, kitties, bunnies, dogs, a power wheel, a trampoline, a play gym, they're not sitting in front of the TV all day or plugged into a gaming system. Computer time and TV time are privileges earned by chores, etc. If she completes her chores, which are simple things like putting her plate in the sink after meals, clothes in the hamper, pick up toys, etc, she gets an hour of TV or a half hour of computer or Wii time.

    I've discussed it with her. She's a very articulate child. She and her brother are raised to question and discuss everything. I don't feel like there's something she's afraid to tell me. She says there's no fear, no bad dreams, we have plenty of night lights, her bed is comfortable, she has her favorite stuffed animals, etc. She simply says she can't turn her mind off.

    There are no TV's on at bedtime, I usually sit down and crochet, and check my Facebook and BYC, so the house is quiet, except for the peeps in the brooders, a sound I'm sure by now, she's quite used to.

    We live in the country, so there's no traffic noise, sirens, barking dogs, etc. I've tried leaving the radio on low, I got her a white noise machine, nothing works.

    We're a stable family, my husband and I are both gainfully employed, happily married, money is stable, we're not struggling. There's no abuse in the home, or fighting.

    I'm simply stumped. Is this an age thing I'm putting too much into? She's been like this for 8 or 9 weeks. I'm frustrated because I get up fpr work at 445 AM on the days I work, and man, I'm tired! I don't feel comfortable going to bed until my husband gets home from work, or she is asleep. The nights my husband works until 1 AM, I'm not getting into bed some nights until 1200-100 AM and getting up at 445. It's rough.

    I always discuss it in a calm manner, so I don't feel like she's feeding off the attention. She simply cannot or will not let herself go to sleep.

    Any advice is appreciated. I'm on the verge of taking her to the doctor's for it.

  2. My eldest daughter is 6 and she does this as well. She's very smart, and very independent. She doesn't show any signs of sleep deprivement so I've just accepted she's a night owl. *shrug* I am a night owl too, so I understand. As long as she doesn't try to leave the house or get into things she shouldn't be while we're asleep, and as long as it isn't affecting her health there isn't much else we can do for it. She was a very good baby, slept through the night at an early age, stopped taking naps at a normal time. She just likes staying up at night. We put an aquarium in her room, so she has light in her room at night without disturbing anyone else's sleep and she knows she needs to stay in her room.

    We have a healthy home life as well, the only other issue she has is Hyperlexia. I think she may grow out of it, or she may not. Like I said, I've been a night owl for as long as I can remember.
  3. mangled

    mangled Songster

    I was a night owl until I began working daylight. I'm hoping it is just the age.

    My husband has the wait and see opinion of it. She isn't out getting into things, she often lays in bed and just reads with her night light, so maybe she just doesn't require the sleep.

  4. Livinzoo

    Livinzoo Songster

    Mar 2, 2008
    Statham, GA
    I actually have a hard time falling asleep without a tv or radio. Perhaps even a white noise machine would help. I just need something for my brain to pay attention to to other than thinking about things.
  5. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    That last post is close to my take on this. She just may not need as much sleep as most children do. Set solid rules about safety and what she may do or may not do, and if she violates them then start taking things away. She doesn't need anything that will interfere with quite night things to do, and nothing that the other children will want also. Reading would work , or else writing her thoughts down in a journal. For your sake I would make it a journal that at first she know that you will checking and reading. As she grows and or changes back to what you remember you can stop reading the journals. or let her keep two sets. One for sharing with you, and one for just herself.

    If she is waking up with the other children and playing all day I wouldn't worry about sleep deprivation. I Would worry if she is not waking up in the morning at the same as the others, or napping during the day. There are a lot of people that only need a few hours of sleep a day. I would worry more about you getting enough sleep.
  6. mangled

    mangled Songster

    She wakes up a little later than my 4 year old, but he's an early riser.

    She doesn't seem to suffer from sleep deprivation. I'm quickly becoming best friends with the coffee pot at work.

    I guess I could lay down and nap in the living room until my husband got home. I just worry, you know?

  7. TyrannosaurusChix

    TyrannosaurusChix Songster

    Jul 13, 2010
    Savannah, NY
    Yeaaaah, good luck with that... that still goes on at my house [​IMG]

    however, in addition with setting down ground rules for night time play, it might be safe to tell her she is to stay in her room and only go to the bathroom .

    Im sure youve already tried this, but try sugar free cocoa or something warm and a warm bath before bedtime. Im 31 and a bath will still put me to sleep LOL
  8. nonseq

    nonseq Songster

    Sep 16, 2009
    Central Ohio
    My now 8 year old was doing that - lying awake for hours after I put him to bed. He also complained that he just couldn't shut his mind off. I started giving him a tablet of melatonin about an hour before he goes to bed, and now he sleeps. I don't know if the melatonin really does anything or if he just believes that it helps him sleep. But it works.

    In the interest of full disclosure, my DS does have some health issues and does take medication that can disturb sleep.
  9. Flat Chicken Ranch

    Flat Chicken Ranch In the Brooder

    Oct 27, 2008
    > She simply says she can't turn her mind off.

    This happens to me fairly often, and one of the things that causes it is certain foods too close to bedtime. Have your daughter's favorite bedtime snack changed any time recently? I recently realized that eating chocolate mini-wheats cereal for dessert was keeping me up half the night. I'd be tired and want to sleep, but my brain just would not let me.

    I hope you can figure it out, it must be very frustrating for you!

  10. Welcome to my world.

    I'm the insomniac that once asleep I'm impossible to wake... but getting to sleep, that's the problem.

    And 'can't turn off my mind' is a very good way of putting it. Grocery lists, to do lists, fretting over relatives, n'mind letting the mind wander on those Someday Plans... and just when you're about to drop of this one thought is there and you don't want to lose it so you focus... thus having to start the 'countdown' all over again...

    Oh and bonus points that quite often when the 'drop off' happens, I literally feel it, think stepping off a curb when you were expecting sidewalk... not a huge scary drop, but enough of a jolt to give a burst of adrenaline and make you try to catch yourself... which of course means your heart rate and everything have to get back to normal and THEN start the countdown to sleep again.

    Gran was getting worried about me, dark circles, so she insisted I try one of her "baby zanex" as she called them... smallest dose on the market evidently.. anyways took that, I was out within 15 minutes (according to hubby, I didn't notice), slept 8 fabulous hours, and woke up so refreshed. And thought "DAMMIT, no way I wouldn't get addicted to that"... I have a hangup about drug use... and who couldn't get addicted to a good night's sleep? Zanex doesn't knock you out, it just well shuts off the brain... or chemically lowers your anxiety/thinking/fretting/chewing on a subject so that you can nod off. Which is why it's prescribed for anxiety/panic attacks... and why it worked exactly as planned for me.

    One other tidbit... anyone who's had trouble with bad dreams might have come across the tip to Think About What You Want To Dream About... and as you slip off your mind will already be on that... so... yeah. I got into that habit as a kid (not the calmest childhood) and while it works it often makes it harder for me to drift off because I really wanna see where the day dream (story idea, recipe idea, etc) will go...

    If she has the same 'can't shut off the brain' issue that I've got... she's either gotta learn to live with it... override the 'finish the story' instinct... or there are drugs... 7 seems awfully young for that to me, but again, I have issues on that subject so I'm not an unbiased opinion.

    Oh, one other thing... when I'm exhausted IT'S WORSE... I have NO idea why... is it some weird 2nd wind thing? But days where I should be worn out... physically am/should be... I toss and turn and just cannot go to sleep. I've heard this can happen with babies/toddlers... but I don't think it's that common once folks enter school/regular schedule/etc... but since I'm a perfect example of it I know it exists. So... maybe try less activity?

    Ohhh and supposedly caffeine has an opposite reaction in children than it does in adults... maybe a cup of tea (NO SUGAR) would be worth a try... or coffee but most kids don't like that bitter taste... a cup before school is recommended for parents of an ADD or is it ADHD child that don't want to use drugs... slows them down a bit... at our school they did reading first thing in the morning, when kids are freshest so to speak, so I knew a couple parents that at least tried this. Can't recall what the results were though.

    You being a nurse you prolly know more about all that than I do, but in case you hadn't heard of one of those... there ya go.

    Best of luck with your little night owl... tell her a Texas Pineapple Owl said Hoot. [​IMG]

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