My son never naps, and has difficulty falling/staying asleep- any suggestions?

Armanda - posted on 05/28/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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Hi. I'm new to the group and was hoping you had some suggestions. My son is 2years old, and has started occupational therapy for sensory intergration. He recieved an OT evaluation through the Early Intervention Program that recommended OT and continued speech therapy. He is extremely active, and always on the go. One of our biggest battles is bedtime. The child never wants to sleep. He will not take a nap, and fights his sleep so much we sometimes don't get him to fall asleep til 9:30 or 10:00. Then he always wakes up in the middle of the night and comes into our bed. We have started doing heavy work and sensory activites with him after bathtime, and started doing the brushing program. This has helped him to calm down and relax, but it still takes forever for him to actually fall asleep. I have not slept well for months now, and am running out of energy trying to just keep up with him, let alone my house. If he doesn't start sleeping better soon I might just loose my mind! Any help/ recommendations would be GREATLY appreciated!!

12 Comments

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Venna - posted on 07/01/2011

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Well I know that they told me to do a lot of compression work around bedtime and to stay away from the sensory work as far as bouncing or anything like that because it will get them all confused about when it is time to relax, my son is 20 months old and he has a hard time staying asleep as well. He used to have a real hard time getting to sleep but he falls asleep almost on his own, however the first shift is like 9 to 2 in the morning and then he is awake for serveral hours in the night and then the next session of sleep is usually from about 4:30 ish to 8 for me but he is still sleeping right now. Our days don't usually get going until about noon most days . I am just very blessed that I can do that with him. Anyway they told me a schedule sort of like this, bath time with some toddler relaxing stuff, I also give him camomila hylands salts which also help relax too, and then after bath time to work in the deep compression on his joints and everything that should help him to relax.

Tracey - posted on 06/30/2011

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melatonin, works great ! my 14 year old Son has ADHD and He take it every night.

Stephanie - posted on 06/06/2011

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we started using a sleeping bag and it was really a miracle!!! he stays in bed 99% of the time!

Jenna - posted on 05/17/2011

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My twin girls run around like crazy and get all of their energy out (sometimes we chase them around and play games to keep them going for a bit). Then we start our nightime routine which is diaper change, pajamas, bottle, storytime (while soft music is being played in the background), then lights out! We also have music playing in their room to help them as well. My one daughter was ALWAYS a light sleeper and had problems taking naps and sleeping through the night. With no help of sleep aids and a good bedtime routine, she sleeps all night and naps during the day in her crib.

Schyla - posted on 05/17/2011

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I too give my Daughter Melatonin it's been a life saver in liquid form its amazing

Dolores - posted on 04/18/2011

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Hi Amanda, my son is 30mos and Ive come to realize that he needs several things to sleep well and go down easily. One is that he needs to get out his energy before he goes up to get ready. So about an hour before bed, we let him run around, jump and play. Then the 1/2 before bed he settles with one of us (not me because I am with him all day) and watches a short 20 minute show on Sprout - nothing too excitable. When we do this we tell him several times that he will go to night night when its over. Then we take him up, put on his "noise" machine (which is a fan but works as white noise), put him in bed and make sure hes really tucked in (he likes a lot of blankets - try a weighted blanket). We clearly tell him that it is bed time and everyone is going to bed and he must stay in bed. Usually it works. There are times he wakes up, but Im finding that is usually when he is going through a growth spurt or oddly enough when its a full moon (I know...it sounds crazy but is true!) The other things Ive noticed is that if I put him down, he wont stay down...he wants to play. So I encourage my husband and his teen siblings to put him down. That way he knows there is no time for play. Good luck!!

Amanda - posted on 03/24/2011

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Addison takes Melatonin most nights at bedtime. You can find a liquid kind at Vitamin World or online. I give Addison 1 dropper and she is out within 25 minutes and sleeps all night.

Lynn - posted on 09/21/2010

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Definitely stick to a routine, both for (any) naps and nighttime. That will help teach his body/mind that these things mean get ready to sleep. Be as consistent as possible. That will be the foundation for everything else. It's good that you are doing the OT with him.

My son is older but some of the things that work best for us is playing a CD with ocean waves. It works both as a calming element and sort of a white noise machine since his ears are sensitive to outside noises.

We've tried melatonin, but I could find only the liquid and he said it was too "spicy" for him. He would take it sometimes, but now that the bottle is gone, I'm going to look for the chewables. It *really* did help him settle down to sleep in about 20 minutes (at his worst it took 3 hours to go to sleep, with many tears).

My son has separation anxiety and anxiety in general. Bedtime it always gets worse. So our routine is pajamas, brush teeth, use potty, read books & snuggle, then bed... and we sit (hubby and I take turns) in my sons' room until they are sleeping. Every now and then we try to stay for just 5 minutes, but if his anxiety is high, then he calls to us every 2-3 minutes. I don't want him waking my younger son, so we sit.

I also read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Weissbluth (before I found out my son is SPD). It's a good read whether your child has SPD or not.

But I would probably try the melatonin, just to get him to start sleeping more and sleeping better. Once he is sleeping more (quantity and quality), the night wakings will likely stop.

Tami - posted on 08/21/2010

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We are going through the same thing, he's 3 and a half.

My Grandson didn't sleep well even as an infant. Very sensitive to any kind of noise, and he had to have motion to go to sleep and to stay asleep. He took lots of short naps.

Now he is still a poor sleeper and a night owl, and then he wakes up at times during the night and he does not sleep late usually. He still needs a nap during the day and he is going to be 4 soon.

He also complains about vivid dreams and nightmares some nights, and that wakes him up. Does anyone else have a child with that happening to them?

Good luck, we all need it!

Andrea - posted on 08/01/2010

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We give our son Melatonin...its a natural sleep aid...it works wonders at night....dont stress the naps but try the melatonin...start with one tab at first...may want to talk to your doc about it too...

Summer - posted on 07/30/2010

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i have the same proplem with my 3yr old and was told to put him on melatonin it is something you can buy over the counter and it is all natural and it really does work

Sylvia - posted on 06/04/2010

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this is very typical of childre with spd. try a body sox before bed and several times a day. it helps the child regulate their emotions. remember they also feed off your emotions so the more excited you get the more excited they get. Calms Forte a natural herb sold at places like Walgreens also helps. My oldest was 3 before he slept more then 2 hours in a row.

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