Oh Please sleep tonight

Well the title says it all. We have been struggling with sleep again for the last week and a half....this time not with going to sleep. She is doing just fine with that, and while she has never ONCE even slept through the night in her life, she is now waking up and not being able to go back to sleep for 3 or 4 hours! It is awful....wake up at 1:30am, and not fall back to sleep till 4:30...another night wake up at 3:00am, and not go to sleep till 6! Last night woke up at 4am, and didn't go back to sleep till 6:30! I am losing my mind, and having headaches from lack of sleep as she won't be in her room alone because "Mom, I know monsters aren't real and that there are no such thing, but I am still frightened of them when I am in my room alone."
So I have to be in there to. I tried leaving and she sobbed and sobbed into her pillow. She tries to go back to sleep, she really does....She lays in bed the whole time, she doesn't talk much...she just tosses and turns and says "I can't turn my brain off and stop thinking. I am trying to sleep mom." I get frustrated, but it is not her fault. I had the same problem and still do at time with turning my brain off, but I need sleep and so does she.

The amazing thing, she is getting up at her normal time or only an hour later....goes all day non- stop, no nap, no getting tired, and goes to bed at a normal time. I don't know how she is functioning. She has always needed very little sleep compared to her peers and I know they say profoundly gifted kids typically need less sleep, but this is ridiculous. Dh says it is a trade off. We get an amazingly smart and gifted child who doesn't struggle with any aspect of learning, but we have never had a great night sleep from her. As of this weekend I had calculatred she was at a 14 hour sleep deficit for the week....she did well Sunday night, but last well....at it again. I honestly don't know what to do. Taking things away, threats, bribes, none of this works because she WANTS to go to sleep and she tries. She doesn't want to get up and play or anything...she just simply CAN'T sleep. Any advice is freely welcomed at this point. Headed to put her down in the next few minutes. Please send prayers for a restful night for all of us.


Joyful Learner said…
I feel your pain and Ansley's. While I am no where gifted, I've always had sleep troubles. There were many nights where I would cry myself to sleep out of frustration. My mother was very strict so no one knew or understood what I was going through. I wake up middle of the night and can't fall back asleep until 2-3 hours later. After so many years, I learned to just accept it and make use of the time by reading. If I tire my brain out, I can fall asleep again. But I have to say after many years of sleep deprivation, my memory is no good. As for JC, she wasn't a good sleeper due to eczema...awake every hour due to itching when she was younger. We co-sleep still. She wakes up middle of the night but sees me or my husband and goes back to sleep. When she has trouble falling asleep, it's because she's scared of various things...dots she sees, bad dreams, and worries over when we get old and die. She says she doesn't want to be left alone. Now, here are some things that have worked for both of us: head massages and talking about things that make us happy. She falls asleep while listing 101 things that make her happy to make sure she doesn't have a bad dream. Call it reprogramming or rewiring but it works for the time being.

I have tried many others things that had so so results but maybe one of them may work for her?

Warm baths
No TV or stimulation before bed
Being outdoors during the day
Getting plenty of exercise but not close to bedtime
Warm milk or tea
Regular bedtime
Total darkness if you're light sensitive but Ansley might prefer a night light if she's scared of the dark
Journaling to get those thoughts out (I also have trouble shutting down my brain)

As for you, let her know you need a nap during the day. She can read a book next to you while you take a power nap. It's a matter of survival!

Hugs to both of you!
Joyful Learner said…
I've also learned to appreciate having the middle of the night all to myself. It is when the world is at its stillness and therefore, most peaceful. Some artists create when they have insomnia. I used to do my homework during that time because I could concentrate better without distractions. Maybe Ansley can find her thing to do if she doesn't outgrow this pattern.
That sounds so rough. What about when she wakes at night, let her turn on the light and look at books until she feels like she can sleep again. Will she do that without coming to wake you first?
A friend of mine has that trouble with her 10 yo, all ten years. They JUST fixed it. They saw a physician who had her cortisol tested at many diff times in the day and found it was spiking in the night. They used some natural means by which to level out the cortisol and help her produce sleep "hormones"or whatever at the right time. Then she was able to sleep. It took another couple of weeks to get her to stop waking simply out of habit.

Worth a try?
Karin said…
Julie also has problems going to sleep because "my brain doesn't stop moving!" Even though it sounds counterproductive (because it makes her brain work), we do stuff like math or logic workbooks at night. It gets her noodle a workout right before bed. Sometimes she will stay in her bed and use her spelling toy too until she gets tired. I also read aloud verses her reading herself.

She also uses a night light.

Let us know how she does!!