Sleep deprived 4 year old!

Danielle - posted on 03/26/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )




My daughter is currently in behavioral therapy and is seeing a dr. He wants to see if the sleep problem is what is causing her behavioral issues he has her on a half at bedtime of clonodine which is .5 mg. she has been on it for a month now and it works as far as her falling asleep but she is still not in a good deep sleep and will get up numerous times a night for sometimes hours. Most nights she winds up on our floor on a bed of blankets or in bed with us, even that doesn't keep her asleep. She looks horrible with her puffy red bags under her eyes but she still has energy for days. Help me please!! I need sleep too


Guest - posted on 03/27/2014




Do not allow her to sleep in your room or in your bed right now. For most children beyond age 2 or so, sleeping in a parents room prohibits the child from entering a deep sleep. This is usually due to the child being distracted by the parents moving around or snoring, or just uncomfortable sleeping positions. When she wakes and moves into your room, immediately tuck her back into her own bed. If you don't hear her wake and come into your bedroom, you can install a motion sensor chime at her door for about $15 (get them at Target, Lowes, Home Depot, or order from Amazon--very easy to find, and can be installed with sticky tape if you don't want to put screw holes in her door frame). All children wake or semi wake several times per night, but they should stay in bed and go back to sleep within minutes.

The energy for the day is not coming from her sleep, it is just a result of her circadian rhythms and external stimulation. She will be awake and energetic with or without sleep, but her mind will suffer. Sleep helps us process working memories into long term memories, which is essential for learning. Without proper sleep, she will not be able to process long term memories properly, resulting in delayed mental development. Sleep also helps us maintain emotional control. When we sleep, we release chemicals in our brain that help regulate our stress hormone (which is essential for daily function, but can cause over firing of neurons which result in emotional overload or confusion if left unchecked). If not getting the proper amount of sleep each night, your daughter will lack the starting point she needs to begin the chain reaction of calming herself when she is upset. Instead of calming, she will become more and more upset, releasing more and more stress hormone until she is in a full blown tantrum. I know that simplifies it WAY down, but if you want to read more about it without getting too into the scientific details, check out A User's Guide to the Brain by John Ratey.


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