Sleep! A word some parents come to dream of. A topic that is always on the top five list in many parents groups and always a cause for jealousy when someone tells you their child sleeps through the night. But for those parents who don’t get any sleep or get a very small amount it can be soul destroying. No-one can imagine how lack of sleep feels until you are actually there. They say it is worse functioning on lack of sleep than being drunk in some cases – how bad is this when we still have houses to run, jobs to hold down and children to look after. Alice (7 at the time of writing this) has never slept well, getting up like clockwork every 2 hours when she was a baby, and spending the rest of the time grunting so you didn’t really get any peaceful sleep. We tried everything different bedding, raising one end of the cot, sleeping with a blanket with my smell on, night creams. You name it I tried it, nothing worked, it just became part of my life.
Now, at 7 we are a bit better and some night get a whole 4 hours in a row 😊 People ask how I manage and you honestly don’t some days. Some days you want, and sometimes do, just sit and cry with frustration through exhaustion. It’s not a nice place to be in but they are our children and we learn to cope and function.
I’ve had a really rough few nights with Alice recently, our typical bedtime has been 2:30am and getting back up around 4. So I just though for those who are having the same troubles I would share the things that we have tried to help her sleep – some things work for others and not for some so if you haven’t tried one and your child is having trouble sleeping ANYTHING is worth a shot.
· Melatonin - we have been prescribed this several years ago and have tried it on and off. For us it does not work. It doesn’t really help her sleep more and she wakes up like she’s got a hangover. Obviously, this also needs to be prescribed.
· Glycine- This was recommended by a nutritional therapist and is about 60% effective, giving me about 6 hours in a row sleep on a good night. Seek advice first though.
· L-Theanine – also recommended by a nutritional therapist again about as effective as the Glycine. But with both the body adjusts and the effect can be short lived.
· Weighted blankets
· Essential oil diffuser
· Regular routine (bath, story, bed)
· Telly on / off. Ironically having the telly on in the background with Baby TV (which is fab with calming music on) sometimes gets Alice to actually just lie down and relax – on very lucky occasions she also falls asleep
· Music/Stories in the background. A lovely product is Leapfrogs Story Cube.
· No pyjama bottoms – apparently sleeping with less clothes on can lead to a better night’s sleep – this does sometimes work for us
· Lush ‘Sleepy’ cream – this also works sometimes for us for up to about 6 hours. I apply to the soles of her feet
· Sleeping bag – although these didn’t work while she was a baby in terms of helping her sleep they were brilliant for keeping her warm and not losing the covers
· Nightlight on / off
· Blackout curtains
So as you can see I have tried a few things 😊 I hope you might find something worth trying and if you have tried everything and still get no sleep know that you are not alone at least and there are people out there who genuinely know how bad you feel. Stay strong and do your best xxx