Sleep or Lack Thereof: My 5 year old... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Sleep or Lack Thereof

am3646 profile image
23 Replies

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!

23 Replies
Mom-of-a-superhero profile image
Mom-of-a-superhero

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!

am3646 profile image
am3646 in reply to Mom-of-a-superhero

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!

joshnyc profile image
joshnyc in reply to am3646

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.

am3646 profile image
am3646 in reply to joshnyc

Good to know about the melatonin! We’ve been using it for a few years so that could make sense. And Clonidine was amazing at getting him to sleep, but it’s too short acting for him sadly. Thank you though and I’m so happy that helps your little boy with his symptoms!

Mom-of-a-superhero profile image
Mom-of-a-superhero in reply to am3646

There isn't really a brand I would recommend but here is one that might work depending on the dose that is needed.

MommaofandwithADHD profile image
MommaofandwithADHD

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.

am3646 profile image
am3646 in reply to MommaofandwithADHD

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!

BVBV profile image
BVBV in reply to am3646

I second magnesium. My son takes Zahler’s ChildCalm which has magnesium and other calming ingredients, but epsom salt baths help and you can get magnesium spray as well.

am3646 profile image
am3646 in reply to BVBV

Thank you! Looking up Zahler’s now.

NYCmom2 profile image
NYCmom2

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.

am3646 profile image
am3646

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 🤍.

eva2022 profile image
eva2022

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.

am3646 profile image
am3646

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!

MommaofandwithADHD profile image
MommaofandwithADHD in reply to am3646

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.

am3646 profile image
am3646 in reply to MommaofandwithADHD

I’m so encouraged, it’s actually given me some hope we can find a way out of this!

MommaofandwithADHD profile image
MommaofandwithADHD in reply to am3646

These are what help my kids.

Magnesium citrate gummies
am3646 profile image
am3646 in reply to MommaofandwithADHD

Thank you for the pic!

HoldingonLou profile image
HoldingonLou

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.

am3646 profile image
am3646 in reply to HoldingonLou

You’re so kind. Thank you!

kdali profile image
kdali

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!

am3646 profile image
am3646 in reply to kdali

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!

kdali profile image
kdali in reply to am3646

🤦‍♀️ 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

am3646 profile image
am3646 in reply to kdali

The price gouging for kids’ stuff is insane! But I appreciate your doing the legwork to find it, as well as for the stuffy, which is already in my cart 😊

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