My 28 month old daughter has stopped sleeping. She did great up until a few weeks ago. Now she wakes up crying and calling for me. I have no idea what to do for her or me for that matter. We are both exhausted all day long. She has huge dark circles under her eyes and is a real crank pot most of the time. It seems the longer this goes on the more demanding and short tempered she becomes. Last night she had me up for two solid hours. She would just lie in her bed and look around; unless I left her then it was a scream fest. I finally gave up and decided to let her cry, but my 5 year old son decided to crawl into bed with her and all was well for the rest of the night. I did not know that was what got her to sleep until this morning. Other nights she has had me up every 15 minutes, for several hours of the night. The most she sleeps anymore is 4 hours, regardless if she had a nap or not. I do not mean to be callous, but this has got to stop. I have not had a full nightís sleep in more than 3 weeks. Prior to this she has never been a difficult or unruly child. I really need to figure this out before school starts; my son needs his rest too.
Thanks for the advice. I do not take her to my bed, because of husband issues. But I go to hers. Most of the time it only helps as long as I am there; she will wake almost the instant I leave the room. Or like last night she was in her bed still and quiet, but looking around for over two hours, I stayed with her, but it did not help. It is usually after 3 am before she gets into a good restful sleep, but she will be back up no later than 7. Right now she is hanging all over me, I can hardly move because she wants to sit on me or be held all day long. I actually got her down for about a 20 minute nap in the late morning, but it has not done much good for her crankiness.
Is there a TV in her room for her to watch while falling asleep? Another desperate measure I know, but we had to do that for our daughter when she was younger. Nothing else worked. She is 5 now & we still have issues with her wanting to sleep with me. Is there a nightlight in her room? You could try hanging a mobile over her bed for her to look at instead of the TV. Good luck, I hope you find something that works soon!
Thanks for the advice. We try relaxing music, and she does have a night light. She cannot sleep with a TV on; it seems to rev her up. She simply wants someone with her. I think it is time to see the doc. My 5 year old had to have his tonsils and adenoids removed at age 3, because of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. While she does not have asthma and allergies like him, I would still feel better. Hopefully we figure out something soon, otherwise I am going to have to go back to work to get a break.
First look to the sleep hygiene post on the sleep disorders board as to what the sleep specialist. As to night terrors.. this is common in the preschool age range.
What are they? What should you do? How long will they last? I asked my son's sleep specialist and he told me this and this is a summary of what he told me.
Definition: What is a night terror? Night terrors happen when a child (usually a toddler) arouses from a deep sleep without totally waking up. basically they are stuck between sleep states. The child might be violent, disoriented, and completely unaware of anyone else being around her. Even though it might seem like she is having a nightmare, she actually is in a state of sleep where she doesn't dream at all. And because she's not dreaming, she won't have any bad memories of a scary nightmare.
How should you respond to it? Parents often try to wake up their children when they are having night terrors to try to comfort them. Actually, the best thing to do is try to keep your daughter asleep. If she isn't awakened, she will go back to a normal sleeping pattern at the end of the episode. Try to keep her safe during thrashing episodes by moving away objects that she might knock over. Other things not medically documented that some have found to help is to give the child room temp water from a bottle to send them back into a deeper sleep (this worked with my son). Or to move them to another room which shifts them to a lighter sleep state ending the terror ( I also did this on occasion, by taking him to our glider and rocking him).
***Individual episodes can last from 2-30 minutes. (My son was about 15-20 minutes in his episodes)
***How long will they last?
Well night terrors are the result of your child's sleep cycles and states shifting.
Duration? Well on average it takes a month.. some take longer.. mine sone did it for two months... UGH! Night terrors eventually go away without any treatment at all, but the hard part is waiting for that time to come. Some pediatricians have tried using medicines to try to treat night terrors, but they are not helpful and usually not recommended by the sleep specialists.
Try to be patient and talk with your pediatrician for more reassurance and education about night terrors, over all try and make sure you have a good night time routine that is relaxing and free of light stimulus.. (TV and computers) at least 1-2 hours before bed time. There is something in the flickering lights that effect all peoples sleep and children are extremely susceptible to it. It is much better to read take a relaxing bath and listen to music than watch TV or play on a computer, to generate a healthy calm sleep state.
If the behavior does not clear up after a month or two or show any sign of decreasing in intensity there may be a sleep disorder such as somnambulism.. this is a side effect condition of sleep deprivation and anxiety in children and often seen as an indicator of OSA obstructive sleep apnea due to enlarged tonsils and adnoids.
If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.
Yes, I have already looked at the sleep hygiene post. We have a good nighttime routine; I actually was already using a lot of the suggestions. I really do not think it is night terrors, as she never seems to be still sleeping or out of it. I do remember going through that with my son and it was downright scary. But as for her she tosses and flips and flops all night long. She is to the point now that she tries to keep the rest of us from sleeping. Her doctor wants me to tough it out for one more week before taking her in. She (Doc) thinks it could be because of my husbandís change in work schedule. He was actually home for several weeks in a row and this is not the norm. Anyway, thank you very much fro your help.
This is a very unconventional idea, and a long shot. But we accidently discovered something that worked for us with my daughter (she is older) recently. She is on a medication that was interfering with her sleep somewhat. She was having trouble falling asleep and then staying asleep.
Anyway, just recently she was kept up by various things way past her bedtime several nights in a row and we got her up at the same time as usual everyday after, by the third night she was exhausted and pratically fell into bed. Since then her sleep pattern has gone to a normal night.
Don't know if it will work. I know that it seems like she should be exhausted enough with the lack of sleep now, but there is a difference.
Hope you find some relief soon.
Oh, another thought, have you tried one of those white noise makers. (like static or a fan or rain, etc.)?
my girls actually went through similar things and i found that if i put them to bed an hour earlier, they actually slept better through the night. sometimes our little ones can get a little overtired and they have a hard time settling themselves down during the night. they may fall asleep fast, but it's not really a settled down, restful sleep, so they wake up a lot.
another thing to look for is new teeth! you might try motrin or tylenol and see if it helps.