Tuesday, March 8, 2011

To sleep, perchance to dream....

So I have a question for anyone out there - does anyone remember having insomnia as a child? If so, what did you (or your parents) do?

Here's the back story. LittleBug has been our consistent wake-us-up-at-night girl. We have tried being sweet and comforting, being mean and stern, giving Tylenol or Motrin, getting her a night light that doesn't bother her sisters, putting piles of books next to her bed, giving a new toy if she doesn't get up 10 days in a row.... You get the picture.

Well, it's started again and now that she is six, I'm balking at rewarding her for something that she should be doing. Her sisters certainly aren't getting rewards for sleeping all night. Not that life is fair, but really?

So my husband and I are talking on our "date night" about what we can do about our little night visitor. My first idea of buying scary masks and putting them on before we go to sleep was good for a long laugh, but ultimately a horribly cruel idea. I mean, can you imagine?! That would even be too bad for WorldsWorstMoms.com!

Then we both say, wait a second - maybe the question isn't what she should do when she wakes up, but WHY is she waking up? (ok, perhaps a "duh" moment - but you know, we don't do our best thinking in the middle of the night!) No one else wakes up at night. And even if LittleBug doesn't get us up, she wakes up - EVERY NIGHT. Every night her light is on, books are all over. When she does come to get us, she usually says, "I'm bored and I can't sleep." Oh my gosh - does she have insomnia? Is that possible?

So right there at dinner, we google (thank you iPhone) insomnia in children. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we have now come up with anxiety, depression, or some random pain. Great. Everything says if the child wakes up more than 3 times per week, she should go to the doctor. Um....try every night for the past how many years? Kind of feel like an idiot now!

So, I don't usually ask for feedback, but if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them! We will be up all night trying to psychoanalyze our child...


  1. My guess would be anixety, maybe she needs to tell someone about her day and just release the mental tension or somewhere to write it down so that her brain has it out and she can rest peacefully (it worked for me but I didn't get up EVERY night.) Although I do know Pop Pop wakes up most nights about 3 am, has for the longest time...He watches NOVA to entertain himself durring those wee hours, does LittleBug want to become an expert on all that is NOVA on PBS like Pop Pop?

  2. Is LittleBug sleepy during the day? Does she seem tired or cranky? If she doesn't, and if she's happy and gets through her days nicely... maybe it's not insomnia. Our son wakes up often, more than three times a week, he runs to our room, and we walk him back to his bed, rub his back, and he's out cold again. Maybe LittleBug, like our son, needs a tool to help her relax and go to sleep--with no lights or books or anything that would stimulate her mind too much. Our daughter gets herself to sleep with a magnetic drawing board (with attached "pen"). She just draws pictures in the barely lit room (nightlight), intricate ones... we generally find her in the morning with the drawing board next to her head, lots of flowers or butterflies drawn all over it. She's told us that she gets so hot when she draws since she focuses so much (and I think it wears her out in a nice way!). Need to teach our son to draw himself to sleep! Not sure this is helpful--it sounds like you've tried everything. But I wouldn't worry too much--if LittleBug is happy and healthy during the day, her middle-of-the-night wakeups might just be the sign of a very active, smart brain that needs to master a skill that most adults need to relearn: returning to sleep.

  3. In the absence of other indicators of psychopathology, her night waking probably means something more positive (high intelligence) or at least benign (light sleeper). Maybe it's genetic. I used to routinely get emails from someone we both know at 2 or 3 in the morning.