Bedtime blues

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-07-2006
Bedtime blues
Tue, 08-14-2007 - 9:27pm
I have a 5 year old. He will NOT go to sleep. Bedtime is the worst time in our household. He's usually well behaved during the day but when bed time rolls around its just not happening. We have a routine that we do every night. He likes his small glass of warm milk then we move onto the brushing of the teeth and washing his face. Then we go into his room for a story. When we think all is ok it goes down hill. It usually takes us about 2-3 hours to get him to fall asleep. Its always the "I want a drink mommy" or "Im not tired" or the most recent one "My bed is too hard mommy". Its gotten to the point where now he will actually stay in his room (only took almost a year for that). But I just dont know what to do. I asked the doctor and he told me to let him sleep in our room. We actually tried that for 2 days.. it was a very bad idea. He also told us to try to extend his bedtime. It was 7:30 now its 8:00. My son is so tired all of the time, hes got bags (lol if children can have bags) under his eyes. My husband and I are at our wits end. We need help.
Avatar for babyfloridagator2003
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: jesi32102
Tue, 08-21-2007 - 9:41pm

Hi - sorry to hear of all your trouble with the little one at bedtime.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
In reply to: jesi32102
Fri, 08-24-2007 - 4:50pm

Do you think he doesn't want to be alone, so he makes up reasons to have you come back into the room, or do you think he has a hard time falling asleep?

Two of my kids have always had a hard time going to sleep (my 4yo dd and 11yo ds). They can lie in bed for hours, literally, and not fall asleep regardless of how tired they are. My mom is the same way. She just can't turn off her brain and go to sleep.

Just this year we were turned on to Melatonin. It's a synthetic version of the body's natural hormone that helps it know it's time to fall asleep. Two of my kids have a high functioning form of autism, and it was parents on the PDD/Asperger's board who told me about melatonin since their doctors recommended it for their kids. Ironically, it's not my two autistic kids who have a hard time sleeping but my other kids.

The medical safety warnings on the bottles say "not for kids," but so do the laxatives the doctor has prescribed my dd. The warnings are often just written to protect the manufacturer. Medicine is not for anyone who doesn't need it, but melatonin has been used safely by many children.

If you choose to try melatonin, you can get varying strengths of the product. It's available as liquid, tablet, or I think chewables tho' I haven't seen the chewables yet. I use an orange flavored liquid version that is 1mg per dropperful. I give my 4yo about 1/4 - 1/3 of a dropper. My 11yo takes between 1/2 - 3/4 dropper. Start with the lowest necessary dose. If it's not enough, work your way up a little bit each night until you find the appropriate dose. Some kids take multiples of what my kids take, but they started at lower strengths and worked their way up until they found what worked.

It takes about 20-30 minutes for the melatonin to kick in. My 4yo usually gets a bit cranky just before falling asleep. It has made a world of difference to her daytime behavior to get to sleep at a normal time each night (of course, "normal time" at our house is still 9:30-10pm but at least it's better than the midnight or later like it used to be, especially when she'd still awaken early each morning and never nap).

If you think your ds is just having a hard time sleeping by himself, you might try an aquarium (real or artificial) or a lava lamp or something like that which will help him relax and go to sleep.

Good luck in finding a solution that works!