Home Recovery Parent Info Adult Info Special Interests Your Contributions E-Mail

Sleeping -- Getting to sleep and staying asleep

My son has trouble falling asleep, he is awake for hours after bedtime, and wants to play. Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night for several hours also. Any ideas for helping him get to sleep and stay asleep?

My Opinion:
The gfcf diet was the first thing I did that helped my son with sleeping. Next, I removed all the phenols, because they were keeping my son awake. You can look at my gfcf and phenol information if you would like to consider these things.

Next, my son shares his room with one of his brothers, so I did not need him bothering his brother when they were supposed to be sleeping. First I worked on eliminating his nap, my kids did not need a nap after age 3. If your child is over age 3 and is still napping, you can try reducing or eliminating his nap. If he is not yet 3, you can reduce the nap to one or maybe 1-1/2 hours each day. For my son, every minute he naps means 2-3 minutes of awake time, either at bedtime or in the middle of the night. So for example, if my son had a one-hour nap in the day, he would be awake 2 to 2-1/2 hours at night. If your son has a one-hour nap, you might try reducing it to maybe 45 minutes for 2-3 days, see if it reduces the amount of time he is awake at night. If it does, then you may have found your answer, keep reducing the nap until it is gone and he is sleeping enough hours at night.

Then I taught him to stay in his bed, even if he was not sleepy. I put a nightlight in his room, I leave the door open a crack, and I leave the hall light on until he is asleep. He is allowed to bring 3 toys into bed with him [and so is his brother], but he and his brother are required to stay in bed, they are not allowed to get out of bed. At first I had to wait just outside the door and every time he got out of bed, he got a small swat on the bottom and I returned him to bed. After about a week, he finally did get the message, he now stays in bed and plays until he falls asleep, usually within 15 minutes of when I put him in there, at 930 every night. Then I go in and remove his toys and put them on his dresser, so he does not roll on them in the night and wake himself up.

If he wakes up in the middle of the night, I do allow him to come out to the living room and lay down on the couch, but I taught him that he is required to stay on the couch, no light, no toys, and be quiet. I put a pillow and blanket there every night just in case. He wakes up in the night about 2-3 times each week, he will come out to the couch with his blanket, lay down, and pretty much fall asleep right away. Before I removed the phenols, he would be awake for 1-2 hours in the middle of the night, so I taught him to come out on the couch so he would not wake up his brother. Now that he basically falls right back to sleep on the couch, I am now teaching him to stay in bed if he wakes up in the night.

If he does fall asleep during the day, I give him 15 minutes, then I forcibly wake him up. I pick him up and hold him for a few minutes and say "wake up", and if that does not succeed in waking him up, I make him walk around the room until he is awake. If he is sick, I give him 30 minutes for a nap.

So for your situation as you describe it, I would recommend you have a regular bedtime routine and a consistent bed time. Do your routine, then put him in bed. If he gets up, a small swat [optional, if you don't believe in that] or "no, stay in bed" or something like that, then put him back in bed. Do NOT lay down with him, in my experience that only made my son want to play with me. He has a favorite blanket that he uses, to hold to go to sleep. Also, I removed the light in his room, so if he turned on the wall switch, nothing would happen. You might want to try that too.

My son is 5 now [I did this when he was 3-1/2], he sleeps 9-1/2 hours every night, bedtime is wonderful because I put all the kids in bed at about 930, they all basically stay there until morning, so I am getting my sleep again too!!

Home Recovery Parent Info Adult Info Special Interests Your Contributions E-Mail