Clonidine to help my child sleep through the night

Kay - posted on 07/25/2012 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My son started taking Trileptal (2mg in morning and 2mg before bed) at the end of May 2012 because he has had 2 focal seizures this year. Other than that he seems like a normal healthy wild 2 year old with too much energy. However he does not sleep through the night. He goes to sleep easily but wakes up 3-5 times a night crying and we have tried every method to get him to sleep. I am due to have our 2nd child in October and told his neurologist I'm worried about having 2 kids waking up through the night and how I will ever get any sleep. She recommended that if things get too tough to call her and she would give him a low dose temporary prescription of Clonidine to help our 2 year sleep through the night. I'm of course very uneasy about putting him on any meds because I don't want his personality to alter in any way. Do any of you have experience with Clonidine for sleeping and any advice?

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Mitzy - posted on 01/05/2013

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Hello! I am a fellow mama and a sleep-training consultant. I have a lot of experience with helping little ones learn how to sleep through the night.
I offer customized sleep plans that you can feel comfortable with and follow up email and phone support. You are not alone!

I work with all types of families. I offer help with co-sleeping, night weaning, transitioning to crib, sleep training, re-training after sickness or traveling

sweet dreams pdx is here to support your family in reaching your sleep training goals.

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Kay - posted on 07/27/2012

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We may try that, our bedroom just isn't very big so not sure if it'll fit and still leave room to walk. Also, I'm afraid he'll still want to get up and get in our bed but it's worth a try.

Emily - posted on 07/27/2012

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What about moving his bed next to yours? Even if just temporarily until he's matured a little bit. May give him that comfort without disrupting your own sleep.

Kay - posted on 07/26/2012

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We have tried letting him sleep with us but he sleeps so restlessly and all over the bed that either me or dad usually gets kicked out and has to go sleep in my son's bed if we want to get rest. However, it doesn't matter if he is in bed with us or not, he still wakes up and he isn't so much crying but more like whining and he will climb out of bed and come to us if we don't go to him. Sometimes he wants a drink as well.

Amy - posted on 07/26/2012

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My son is 6 and doesn't sleep through the night and most nights neither does my 2 year old daughter, heck most nights I don't sleep through the night. Both my kids just come into our bed when they wake up in the middle of the night they don't even bother calling out for us anymore. Once in bed with us they go right back to sleep but that works for our family I know it doesn't work for everyone. I agree that if he's waking up crying then he is probably having some sort of anxiety. When he goes to sleep do you have to lay with him? Maybe he's waking up crying because he's discovering you are no longer there.

Kay - posted on 07/26/2012

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Thanks, no we have not done a follow up sleep study as his ENT says he feels everything healed great and he shouldn't have any apnea issues. I've come to the conclusion that he just isn't a good sleeper since he's never slept through the night since birth but it would sure be nice if he'd start. ;) Until then I think my husband and I will just continue taking turns and we'll call upon the grandma's when we need a break. I don't like the idea of putting him on any kind of medicine no matter how temporary or how small the dosage, just wanted to see if any other moms have had any experience with this medicine for sleeping issues.

Emily - posted on 07/26/2012

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Has he had a follow-up sleep study since having the tonsils removed? I would be wondering if there's still an apnea issue that he may need help with. Otherwise, I agree with Julianne that some kids just take longer to sleep through. There's mounds of evidence that "sleeping through the night" is a western society construct, but not really based on biology... meaning, your son's sleep cycle is not all that abnormal. I would be concerned though about the crying.. that says to me that he's having some kind of distress.. so if that means you sleeping on a mattress on his floor for awhile, or figuring out what is causing him to be scared at night. Good luck.. sounds very frustrating. Sorry co-sleeping didn't work out. It's been a lifesaver for us.

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Some kids don't sleep through the night until 3. Some kids even need to night feed until 2 or three. Drugging him will only interfere with his natural development.

Kay - posted on 07/26/2012

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oh no, believe me, we aren't just trying to cover the issue up with medicine because we would rather him not be on any medication at all. However, he has never been a good sleeper and never slept throught he night and when he turned 1 it only got worse and he wakes up more in the past year than he has in his first year of life. We have tried all of the things you suggested and have also had a sleep study done showing he had mild sleep apnea so the dr. suggested the removal of his tonsils and adenoids, which we did back in May 2012. This is not a side effect of the Trileptal because he was doing this long before he started taking it. We have tried Melotonin at the recommendation of our doctor and that didn't help either, it only helped him fall asleep which he has not problem with, it's the staying asleep that is the problem. My husband and I do take turns so we can both get rest but he also works a rotating shift right now so there are weeks that he works the night shift and isn't home to be able to help unfortunately. If we go with the Clonidine it would only be for a few weeks to a month or two tops but I wanted to see if anyone else has suggestions about it and any side effects or advice aside from what I've already read as the side effects online. Thank you for your help Emily, I only wish co-sleeping helped....

Emily - posted on 07/25/2012

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I only have experience taking Clonidine myself for high blood pressure.. no experience using it with kids. However I'd be very hesitant about using a medication with a 2-year-old just for sleep. I would instead try to figure out what's going on that's causing him to wake up in distress. Has this been going on a long time, or is it just recently? Could it be a side effect of the Trileptal? Is he is pain? Is he going through separation anxiety? What strategies have you tried, e.g. co-sleeping, different bedtime routine, etc? I would try to explore all those things first before just covering it up with medication. Yes, it's tiring having 2 kids that get up at night. I've definitely been there.. it's kind of par for the course with 2 little ones. What helped us was co-sleeping, as well as my husband taking over the night time duties with the older one for awhile.

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