April 30 07

…no. not THE baby. my oldest baby. the 6-year-old. This isn’t the first time i’ve posted about it, and i’m sure it won’t be the last…but i guess i keep hoping there’s someone out there who feels my pain. or can offer up some advice. or some new advice.

this morning i woke up to shower…like i always do (okay, let’s be honest…some mornings i don’t….i hit that freakin’ snooze button 4 times and don’t end up having enough time to shower. oh, like you never….) and heard a rustling coming from Emily’s room….like i always do.

“Mommy, i’m cleaning my room. look at it! i wanted to make it nice for Michelle.”

what, what, what? (think Kyle’s mom)

it was just after 6 in the morning. and her room was spotless. which meant that she had been up, cleaning, for at least 30 minutes.

the. kid. doesn’t. sleep. at. all.

lite bright. ballet. tap. bella dancerella. reading. coloring. polly pocket. barbies. playing school. perler beads (the newest obsession at casa de martell). 10pm. 2am. 4am. 5am. at any time of night, she can be found doing any number of these things.

the thing is…she stays in her room once she’s put to bed. for the most part. she’ll wander in and out of my room for a good 45 minutes showing me artwork and asking me ridiculous questions. “mommy…how do you get a job?” “mommy, what does sarcasm mean?” you know…all those questions that you are dying to answer at bedtime. but, really, she stays in her room. and she mostly stays in her room until 7 am. she’s only allowed in her room once her clock reaches 7. she usually begins hovering near our room around 6:30.

but, my point is that it doesn’t bother me. she’s not asking to sleep in my bed. she’s not asking that i sleep with her. she’s not waking up with nightmares or night terrors. she’s not in any distress. she just doesn’t like to sleep.

but…i’m a big believer in sleep being an important thing. without sleep, i’m moody, i’m snippy, i’m irritable, i’m physically exhausted. and so is she. There’s a reason that she needs to sleep. but, i’ve done some actual research (god bless my best friend google) and i couldn’t really find a reason WHY we sleep. but i know that sleep = happy child. and no sleep = moody child.

don’t believe me?? i have photographic evidence.

this is my daughter on sleep:

this is my daughter on no sleep:

any questions???!!

  1. I’m not sure if this is relevant. But, I once asked my highschool science teacher what would happen if we never slept (I don’t mean like your daughter – I mean like literally no sleep). She said it’s a little like starving yourself – but you wouldn’t die. You’d just eventually fall asleep for a very long time (like a couple of days).
    Interesting, eh?

    Comment by Laural on April 30, 2007
  2. Oh man.

    My bigirl is a lousy sleeper and she looks like Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice half the time.

    I tell myself it is because she is so damn smart…and it sounds like your girl is as well.

    good luck. Does she nap during the day?

    Comment by crazymumma on April 30, 2007
  3. You have probably had these suggestions before, but I’ll toss them out there just in case they haven’t been made:

    Is it possibly a mental stumbling block? Is she maybe going to be with a million questions running around her head, making the “wind down” impossible? If so, maybe she could try some calming exercises to clear her mind.

    If it’s not a mental thing, maybe she needs to be more physically tired? Take her to a park or for a walk; just the two of you, so the younger ones don’t slow her down. Maybe play something like basketball (or even swimming… not at the park, but you know what I mean).

    Maybe you’re being too nice. What if she was “confined” to bed with no lights, no movement at bedtime, instead of being allowed to play in her room? I know my (admittedly much younger) daughter convinces herself she is not tired, but crashes because we put her in her crib anyhow. Maybe you need to do that.

    That’s all I got.

    Comment by SciFi Dad on April 30, 2007
  4. I am kinda shocked at the physical change. I can imagine that it’s hard for you to see her change like that!
    I really have no advice, but I’m thinking about you (and her)!!

    Comment by s@m on April 30, 2007
  5. I program software that is used to analyze EEG and do sleep studies. Mostly the sleep studies are for adults with sleep apnea. But I do know that kids, especially young ones, need a certain amount of stage 3 and 4 sleep (the deep sleep) and more importantly a good amount of REM sleeping (this is the dreaming stage) and it is very important for brain cell growth. It could be that she is just not winding down well at night to get into a good deep sleep. Or like scidad mentionned, something that is making her anxious lately, that maybe you can quiz her on to get to the bottom of. My ds sleeps pretty well, and I’m adament about no sweet desserts or choco milk at dinner .. or juice. It could be just a phase for her though too, learning lots at school, mind processing it all. Oh and the biggie, change in nanny .. for sure, can make her a little more anxious. I’m sure you know all this – just saying it again probably …

    Comment by Sarah on April 30, 2007
  6. oh ya, and as scifidad mentionned, the physical aspect. Ds plays afterschool .. at school, and is very very active. Playground, organized gym activities, he is constantly moving. When 7pm (bedtime) comes around, he is SO ready .. so for sure physical activity works,just like for us, plus it would take her mind off whatever is making her anxious..

    Comment by Sarah on April 30, 2007
  7. No advice, but I will say that its cool that she stays quiet in her room and doesn’t bother the rest of the household. Wish I had some good advice for ya. *hugs*

    Comment by Stacie on April 30, 2007
  8. No advice either – in fact, I was reading the comments to see if anyone else had any because my 7 yr old dd is exactly the same. With her, it’s definitely that she doesn’t want to miss anything. Often on the weekend, she is MISERABLE because she insists on staying up until 1am and then still gets up at 7am. She throws a fit if I go out and have a babysitter, so she wants to stay up until I get home (very annoying).

    My 4 yr old ds is like that too – he was awake at 1am on Friday when I got home. The difference is that he naps and she doesn’t.

    I think the wind down is probably a good thing to focus on. I have to be stricter about it: no tv, no aerobics, etc.

    Comment by JennV on April 30, 2007
  9. Cuy sometimes does that too. Usually if he has diary or gluten.

    I was hoping to see something from you about “Oh My God. Teletubbies at war!”

    Comment by Christine on April 30, 2007
  10. you know what this means, though: when she gets older and complains about not getting enough sleep, you can just taunt her with the knowledge that she wasted all these years when sleep was essentially free. ah, she has no idea… 😛

    Comment by lara on April 30, 2007
  11. My son was a great sleeper… my daughter, not so much.

    I wouldn’t worry about it because I don’t think that what she’s doing is abnormal. It maybe frustrating, but as long as her lack of sleep isn’t getting in the way of things she has to do (i.e. school) I think it’s ok.

    If it does start to be a problem I’d reccomend some physical exertion in the late afternoon. (If she doesn’t already) Don’t do it too close to bedtime but get her outside and putting out alot of energy and that should do it.

    If you’re already doing that, then I have no advice. I guess you’ve just got a kid that doesn’t need sleep. (I do!!!!!) LOL

    Comment by Kristi on April 30, 2007
  12. She looks tired!! Kinda how I feel on a Monday!

    Comment by Chris on April 30, 2007
  13. Crazy!

    I am a true believer that everyone is different when it comes to sleep. Some people need more, some less. My daughter is the perfect example of someone who definitely needs less than the norm…comes from her Daddy, are you surprised?

    The problem is that, you are right, kids need sleep, more so than we do. It’s important for cell development (proper growth) and brain development (most importantly). Children who show up to school with too little sleep aren’t ready to learn, which definitely can become a problem. I’ve done quite a bit of school readiness research.

    Good luck to you! This is a hard issue, as you cannot force someone to sleep. You are lucky that she stays in her room, now it’s just getting her to sleep. Does she have music playing?

    Comment by Multi-tasking Mommy on April 30, 2007
  14. G-d bless the child who got daddy’s bags under her eyes…

    Comment by Giblet on April 30, 2007
  15. Your six year old is a younger version of my fifteen year old. She only sleeps about six hours a night to this day. And her room’s neat as a pin too. If it’s any consolation to ya, mines not retarded because of it.

    Comment by jasmine on April 30, 2007
  16. oh man. blake doesn’t sleep WELL. he stays up late and won’t go to bed at night. but when he does, he usually sleeps through the night- but he doesn’t sleep for long. he’s up super early in the morning and ready for the world. i have decided that he just doens’t need HOURS upon hours of sleep like most people.
    but i do want to kill him sometimes.lol

    Comment by jennster on April 30, 2007
  17. My 4 year old does that, too. Only, instead of playing quietly and happily in his room, I wake up to find his nails painted, food wrappers all over the kitchen. Once, he got up in the night and got black shiny paint and painted all the tree trunks in the yard.

    It’s not SAFE. But I’m not entirely sure what to do about it except lock his room from the outside. But in case of an emergency, that’s not safe either.

    Comment by Toryssa on April 30, 2007
  18. OH man. I had this problem. I did talk to the pediatrician — and she recommended a low-dose .25mg of Melatonin. I did some research — parents use it quite frequently — up to 10 mg in Europe. You could ask your Dr. about it.

    Comment by SusieJ on April 30, 2007
  19. you’re probably not going to want to hear this, but my whole life, unless i was sick, i’ve never slept longer than six hours. i just don’t need it. my body wakes up, without an alarm clock, six hours after i fall asleep. my dad’s rule was that i could read in my bed until i fell asleep, but i had to stay in bed. same thing in the morning when i woke up. i could read in bed until he got up. i guess he felt that at least if i as reading quietly in bed i was still getting some sort of rest. i don’t know. poor man was a single parent. i am sure he was exhausted. but i did as i was told & i developed a healthy love of books. and best of all, i am in very good health. =)

    Comment by Dawn on April 30, 2007
  20. 1st of all, LOVED the perler beads when i was her age, and I still get a kick out of them when I babysit even now!

    2nd, when I was about five, my mom started doing “Quiet Reading Time” which was when we’d have thirty minutes at bedtime to just read or rest or do whatever, as long as we were settled down and relaxed. I think having that time where we didn’t HAVE to sleep, but we were just sort of mellow made us sleepier than when we’d be up running around and playing.

    Comment by Haley on April 30, 2007
  21. That Emily TOTALLY cracks me up! What a character!
    I’ve been having insomnia since I got knocked-up ;). And, I find, now, that ocean sounds really help. Maybe try putting a cd with ocean sounds on in her room? Or some quiet soothing sleep-inducing cd? Works for me!!

    Comment by Haley-O on April 30, 2007
  22. She sounds like a very GOOD girl, anyhow – my kids would be screeching for me all night, every night.
    Have you tried The Sleep Fairy? The Sleep Fairy comes to kids who have slept all night in their own beds, bringing… uh, fairy stuff. You know, wands and glitter or beads or whatever else you think might bribe your poor tired little girl into falling asleep. The Sleep Fairy, for the record, leaves stuff under the sleeping kid’s pillow, but can’t come if the kid is not sleeping.

    Comment by Rebecca on April 30, 2007
  23. She cleaned her room and you are somehow finding something to complain about??? As the mother of a 13 year old, I’d trade a little of her sleep for a little cleaning of her room!!!

    Comment by Di on April 30, 2007
  24. Bless.

    Looking at those photos makes me want to go to sleep, the poor little thing.

    I was having troubles sleeping and the chemist advised me to steer-clear of energy rich (or something like that) foods like raisins and bananas. I think it may be dietary?

    I am not sure if this helps.

    I need a nap.

    Comment by LaLa on May 1, 2007
  25. Wow, big difference between those two pictures. How tough it is on everyone when a kid does not sleep. My sympathies.

    Comment by Nancy on May 1, 2007
  26. Your daughter is beautiful,
    but I can really see a difference in her apearance with no sleep.
    It looks a lot like my students at school.
    I love her long hair.
    Have you tried putting sleepy (classical) music on in her room?

    Comment by Keri on May 1, 2007
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  28. I dont mean to hit on something that might offend anyone. (you never know) But one of the things that I have noticed with a lot of kids these days is just that they simple get over stimulated. It sounds like your daughter has a LOT on her plate.

    As adults we look at all of these fun activities and assume that this is good.. School, tap, soccer whatever might come up. We dont stop to think that their smaller bodies just dont keep up as well.

    It may seem like an oxi-moron..but try cutting her activities back just for a little while and see what that does for her….worked like a charm for my little girl.

    Comment by Amanda on February 5, 2008
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  31. OMG. I must have her twin sister as my daughter. My daughter is 3 will be 4 in Feb. The same thing… you just said. She is in her room.. Hannah Montana..dancing, cleaning, organizing, she can’t read yet, but she will draw, or play dress up, while the entire house is asleep, Then up at again at 530 am as if she must of drifted off or something. oopps. Mommy, mommy, look at the sun coming up.. moon going down…hour or two later, Mommy can we feed the birds? Why are the birds on our deck? What kind of bird is that? Do we have any pancakes? Mommy, are you still sleeping? Wake Up WOW, she is the last one to fall out.. and the first one awake.. My Doctor asked me… what time is her bed time? Well, It starts at seven… but, seriously its when the passes out. I turn out all the lights. No Juice. Water only if thirsty. No sweets. Its not the sugar or caffine.. Because she isn’t having any. She is also a very smart Child. she is three and on her second year of dance. She was potty trained at 13 months. She doesnt miss anything. Very Smart. Quick on her feet. Bright little girl. I was wondering if your daughter is advanced for her age as well.. They never sleep so they have alot of time to ADVANCE. ha ha.. I am looking forward to comparing some of their behaviors.

    Comment by sheryle on December 23, 2008
  32. Oh also, I have before and after pictures of Sleep and No sleep just as well. Not realizing the difference.. That is not what I was taking the picture for.. but later looking back on them after I printed them I could tell when she had .. enough sleepless nights and gave in. She looked so rested and healthy in the pictures of her with Sleep.

    Comment by sheryle on December 23, 2008
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  34. Most of the advice here is pretty good advice for children… However, there’s also the possibility that she just doesn’t sleep 8-10 hours like she’s supposed to. Her body recognize 3-5 hours as a normal amount of sleep. Or maybe it says other sets of hours. Who knows. I wouldn’t force her to sleep if she really can’t. Try healthy ways of putting her at ease before bed. Healthy food, not too much sugar for dinner, etc. Try to answer her when she asks questions before bed. Help her settle down for sleep by reading to her, or some other activity that doesn’t take much thought, but keeps her in her bed, comfortable, and ready for sleep. Singing/humming a lullaby before bed could also help.

    I sleep a regular schedule of 3 hours. If i sleep more i’ll be tired the whole day and suffer from all the effects of sleep deprivation, even though i’ll have slept more. If i sleep less, same effect. I know a girl who gets a daily amount of an hour of sleep. It’s just the way our bodies are programmed, and we’re both healthy. (I’m an adult now, but my sleep schedule has been 3 hours since i was a baby.)

    Yes, the lack of sleep can be a sign of other issues, but it might not be as well. When you see her sleeping, watch for a few minutes to see if anything abnormal happens. If she jerks around a lot while sleeping, it could be sleep apnea. Just pay attention to how your daughter acts under both conditions, sleep-filled and not sleep-filled. If you can, time her length of sleep. If she is one of those people that just doesn’t need much sleep, make sure she has activities that she can do that won’t disturb everyone else sleeping.

    Good luck, and you have a beautiful daughter.

    Comment by Joshua on October 11, 2010
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