Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Breaking the Sleep Cycle

  I've written a lot over the years regarding our struggles with sleep (or rather a lack thereof).  As I have learned more about my son and the rewiring of his thinking, feelings and even senses, I totally get why he does not sleep well.  Who would, really, when they have such extreme conditions early in life?  Of course he still processes old memories, old feelings and old fears at night.  Of course he needs grace in this.
That being said. UGH! Finding that grace for him in the last hours of the day is difficult for all of us.  Our cycle here is that E wakes up early.  Really early for a kid who goes, goes, goes without a nap or even a pause all day long.  Usually, E is up 2 hours before the rest of the kids.  Some days (note, I didn't use words like many or most!) he will lie in his bed humming softly or talking to himself.  Usually he wonders to the bathroom at least two times.  By the time the rest of the entourage wakes up, this kid is WIRED and ready to go.  It's best for all of us if he gets dressed, brushes his teeth, etc, in my bathroom.  His nonstop chatter, chanting, touching and stomping is a lot so bright and early.
  By the time 4 o'clock rolls around, E is done.  Finished.  Ready for bed.  I would be too if I ran- not walked-everywhere, was hypervigilant to everyone around me and generally was on fast forward mode.  That's where our strict routine comes in with the high protein, the sprints, yada, yada, yada.  Basically we hang on until bedtime.
Now usually I avoid asking for advice.  Please don't take this the wrong way.  It just stems from the fact that parenting E is never going to fit the mold for most kids.  I've been hurt a lot over the years by this.  I value all your opinions and thoughts but I have also come to guard my heart in this area.
E is chronically sleep deprived.  We can see and hear his fatigue.  I don't know how to break this cycle.....I would guess that he gets about 9 hours of sleep.  This is the kind of sleep that involves crashing into the wall, hanging off the bed, tossing and turning, keeping muscles flexed, peeing.  Not that sound or restful.
Thoughts? Suggestions?  I'm bracing myself but I'm ready for my community here.


  1. hi there! sorry..no tips. just get it. i think lincoln sleeps like 2 hours a night!?? it's crazy! BUT he NEVER acts tired. NEVER. i don't get it...

  2. That sounds exhausting- for you and him! Dh and I have adopted 7 kids with varying degrees of issues, so we have to parent differently than most of the people we know. It's tough and we've mourned "normalcy" and still mourn to some degree. I have some questions but I will post them over in our Fresh Air FB group.

  3. I have NO experience like yours to draw on, but I do have a special needs son that gets up WAY before the rest of us (thankfully he is able to play quietly til we wake up) and after fighting it for a long time, we finally just decided to let him go to bed when he is tired...so most days he is in bed by 6pm (hours before his little sisters). Would your schedule allow him to go to bed very early...like when he first starts to be "done"? Would he go for it? We found that once we started early early bedtime and he got used to sleeping for 12 hours rather than 9 hours he naturally adjusted to a bit later bedtime...now he goes more 7pm to 6 am-ish. Hugs- there is a reason they use sleep deprivation as a torture device. You are one incredible mama!

  4. Have you ever tried a weighted blanket for E? In the past, they were mainly used for children with Autism (with great success) but now there's research to suggest that they are useful for children with ADHD, sensory integration dysfunction etc. who have trouble sleeping because they can't wind down. They provide deep pressure all over the body and help to calm over aroused sensory systems. Apparently they also help to stop restless moving during sleep, including crashing into the wall! It might take a bit of getting used to, but maybe worth a try?

  5. Sorry, friends, that I haven't replied. We do love our weighted blanket and we are processing the idea of just putting him to bed when he is "done." It would make the evening easier for the rest of us.

  6. Have you had a sleep study done? We pick up a cpap machine for our 13 yr d son tomorrow. He comes from traumatic past and actually has the kind of Apnea where his brain doesn't tell his Kungs to breathe.so he sleeps hard but he isn't sleeping well. It is a common issue in kids who display what looks like hyperactivity. Praying for you. We are in a season of struggles here too and I know how important your rest is in having the patience you need to help your kiddos.