Hi, I am new to the boards. I joined tonight, because I have no idea how to help my 3 year old daughter...she only sleeps 3-5 hours a night, and it takes 3-4 hours just to get her to sleep-only to have her wake up before dawn, even though she went to sleep after midnight. At least once a month, she is up for 36+ hours straight. She also does not nap, and hasn't since she was 19 months old. She desperately needs a nap and more sleep, she is always exhausted. Her pediatrician recommended Melatonin, but I might as well not give her anything. During the day, she is extremely hyperactive, constantly in motion, and cranky. Her pediatrician has offered little help other than the Melatonin, and all any one else can say is to offer a rock solid bedtime routine. (If only it were that easy...) Do any of you know what to do, or what causes this? Will it ever end? Thanks so much!
What does your daughter eat? Diet can be a HUGE factor in how our children behave and it affects sleeping habits, too.
It is possible your daughter is allergic to something in her diet that is causing her hyperactive symptoms, which causes her to not settle down to sleep for a nap during the day. Not napping during the day can cause her to get overtired, which causes adrenaline to kick in, and can keep her up late at night, and then being restless in her sleep, and not sleeping well or long at all. It's a vicious cycle.
Foods that commonly cause hyperactive symptoms: Anything with red, yellow, or blue dyes (artificial dyes in general are bad). Anything with annatto coloring, anything with high fructose corn syrup, fatty or fried foods, hot dogs, juice with colored dyes, medicine with colored dyes, etc......
Foods that can help calm a child and induce sleep include warm milk, white meat turkey, chamomile tea (my kids won't touch the stuff, but I know some who love it), bananas, oranges, oats, white cheese (monterey jack, white cheddar) on whole wheat toast, etc.....
I would review her daily diet first. Then look at her routine. How does she spend her day? Is she overstimulated with too many activities, or is she understimulated with not enough to do to use up her energy? Is she getting outside enough? Is she using her mind and imagination?
What kind of bedtime routine do you have with her? Is it the same routine each night?