My 5 year old has had sleep issues since he was 3 months old. We’ve been to every sleep doctor, pulmonologist, sleep trainer, DP, witch doctor, you name it and even after surgery to remove a 75% blockage of his sinus cavity, he’s averaging maybe 4-5 hours of sleep a night, mostly broken because he wakes up every 2-3 hours. He’s currently on melatonin, iron supplements, and Guanfacine (his DP has rearranged the dosage, time of admin, and regular vs. XR and nothing seems to help) but he’s still constantly exhausted without the ability to fall or stay asleep at night. He also has OT and behavioral therapy to help with emotional regulation and ADHD-induced anxiety, but he’s one of those kids that’s too smart for his own good and knows how to easily deflect from questions about what’s going on in his head at night that’s precluding his ability to fall or stay asleep. My husband and I feel like we’ve had a newborn for over 5 years with this sleep depravation so apologies for the long post but I’m just not sure what to do at this point and it’s taken a toll on all of our physical and emotional health. Any suggestions welcome and thanks in advance for any and all help!
Sleep or Lack Thereof: My 5 year old... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...
Ugh sending you hugs. I can somewhat relate as my daughter has a very difficult time falling asleep even if she is active all day with downtime and a sleep routine. What worked for her was melatonin. Forgive me if you know this already and tried it. However with Melatonin there are two different kinds 1) quick dissolve (helps with falling asleep) and slow release (helps to stay asleep). Slow release is a bit harder to find and can't be split or crushed. Sometimes I have clients use the combination of the two if they have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Typically dosages are based on weight in kg × 0.05 mg. If he takes too much he might be groggy the next morning and not enough will not provide the desired effect. Good luck!
I never knew about ER melatonin! He’s taken the chewable and gummies but I will look into the ER. Is there any brand you recommend? Thank you so much for the suggestion and wishing your daughter’s sleep improves soon!
Melatonin was very hepful for our son as well. But over time, it actually reduced his sleep quality and he'd wake often during the night. Our solution was with Clonidine (similar to guanfacine). It worked for both ADHD and sleep and we no longer use melatonin.
1st I totally understand. With my daughter I have found that magnesium gummies at night are a must also. As an ADHD sufferer also, I have found that it slows the racing thoughts to allow for the deep sleep. I don’t take them often but when I do, I can sleep for what feels like forever.
I will definitely ask his DP and pediatrician about magnesium. He definitely suffers from the racing thoughts so whatever I can do to help alleviate those I will do. I can’t thank you enough for your suggestion!
My 9 year old still struggles most nights. A lengthy routine each night helps him wind down: playing his piano or Legos, warm bath, reading his chapter book, or reading a picture book to him.
Then once in bed with a sound machine on and darkened room if he still struggles a foot massage is calming and distracting. If all else fails I will snuggle next to him (checking work emails) while he falls asleep.
For him it seems to be anxiety bubbling up at night that distracts him from sleep. So we try to help distract his brain in calm ways to allow the sleep to set in.
I think our sons are combatting the same thing here. We have a similar routine and setup but unfortunately, he’s unable to settle unless my husband or I am next to him, and in my case, he needs to be holding both my hands and have our bodies touching. The way he describes it, it actually pains him if he’s not snuggled. His sensory needs just get amped up at night and is only alleviated by me which is both emotionally and physically draining for all three of us. And this then repeats when he wakes up multiple times a night. Sigh. Thank you so much for your understanding and help and my heart goes out to you. I appreciate knowing I’m not alone in this 🤍.
Wow-I am so sorry! I thought that we had bad sleep problems but they are nothing in comparison. I honestly can’t even imagine doing that for five years. My only thought was co-sleeping in a larger bed for the whole night. Not sure if it would help. My kids go through cycles where they need me/my husband next to them through the night, but it could be different for you all. I second the melatonin (which you are already using) and the magnesium.
Definitely going to ask the DP about magnesium - so thank you all for that suggestion! We’ve succumbed to having him in bed when it gets bad but because he moves so much in his sleep (the iron is supposed to help with that but sadly doesn’t) and has to be physically on top of me, no one ends up sleeping well. I just feel at a total loss in how to help him. But thank you so much for your comment, means so much everyone has taken the time to answer!
I found that our Dr had no idea about magnesium, but I took it before she did and wow what a difference. Sound sleep, no worries, no anxiety, just sweet slumber.
HUGS from me too. How exhausting for all of you. I don't have any answers here but I'll pray for a solution if that's okay with you.
I know my child had difficulty going to sleep. I let him sleep with me for awhile and I would fall alseep before he did so that didn't help much. His favorite thing for me to do was to sing to him. I would ask him to sing with me or give me ideas for a topic to sing about. We would make songs up. This worked the best to occupy his mind and eventually he would fall asleep after a lengthy period of giggles. Prayers for resolution and rest.
I'll echo magnesium, but magnesium oxide or chloride caused diarrhea for mine, so we are trying phosphate. There's also a magnesium oil body spray, lotion, and body butter for kids that doesn't cause itching, and Epsom salt baths in many scents (Amazon and Target). Our other tools are a weighted blanket, headphones, playing a game of chase after dinner that may include using a toddler slide or mini trampoline (Amazon), and the kid meditation exercises on Headspace (I think there's a free trial). Her must have is a Leapfrog flashlight that plays music and projects stars or pictures on the wall or ceiling; she turns it on to put herself back to sleep if she wakes up at night.
I hope this helps!
Such amazing tips! Some we’ve tried but I like the idea of the flashlight - heading to Amazon to check it out now. Thank you for your help!
🤦♀️ I just looked and not only is it gone, but it's $45 used on EBay 😱😭 She has a stuffed animal that lights up and plays music, but doesn't use it since she has the flashlight. Here's one like a stuffy but also has the projector and he can still turn it on when he needs it! (I guess this is what I'll have to try when the flashlight breaks).
Summer Slumber Buddies Soother-Projector Night Light for Kids with Calming Songs and Sounds a.co/cg3POQ9