Monday, October 3, 2011

Sleep Deprivation

There are some lessons in life that you don't truly understand or learn until you are a parent. Such as the high value of a good nights sleep. It really is better to go to bed early and get a good night sleep. 'Nothing good happens after midnight', 'Sleep it off, you'll feel better in the morning'... There is a reason that sleep deprivation is used as a form of human punishment and torture. I would literally give everything I own to solve the sleep issues in our house and get a good night's sleep. In three years I would guess that we've all actually slept through the night only a handful of times. Cruz averages 5-6 hours a night, often with no daytime nap. After a year of trying to understand what he wanted, we learned that he wants to sleep in the hallway on the hardwood floor upside down in a corner with his head on the hard floor and bottom up in the air. The other night he even folded back the rug on the floor so that he was only touching the wood. That's what he wants, but I can't leave my 29 lb almost 3 year old in the hallway when I go to bed. So, Jason takes him back to his room and lays him down after he falls asleep in the hallway. (mind you this is after a few hours of trying to get him to just lay down, or just stay in his room) I think he is going to be a sniper because he has mastered the ability to sneak out of his room and crawl down the dark hallway and somehow sneak up right behind me. The really creepy part is that he doesn't say anything and he just stares at me. Sometimes I can just see the whites of his eyes approaching. I used to jump when I saw him but now I am getting used to it, even though it is still very creepy. Once he finally does fall asleep in the hall he will stay asleep for awhile but is up again in a few hours. We've tried everything. Well, I should say we've tried everything that has been suggested. Weighted blanket, mat on the floor, nightlight, sound machine, massage, warm bath, natural supplements, protein, melatonin, the list goes on... We've not yet found the right solution for Cruz. If anyone has any other suggestions or ideas, please please let us know. We have finally put a crib mattress on our floor and put him to bed in the same room as us. He tends to fall asleep easier but is still up in the middle of the night. He always comes to mommy when he gets up during the night. So, last night we tried to trick him. Jason and I switched sides. He woke up and stood in front of Jason for a little bit, confused, and then finally walked around to the other side to get me.  In our ongoing lack of sleep, I have realized a truth about myself that I always suspected. I am one of those people that needs quality sleep at night. I don't do well with naps. I need good long night time uninterrupted sleep. Some people, like Jason, can get only 5 hours and still have a great day. Still be cheerful, perky, never complain. I think he trained his body this way in the military because I am convinced it isn't natural. In all honesty, Jason would never complain or tell me even if he was really tired anyways. However, this mama needs 8 hours of sleep or I tend to be a 'little' cranky and a 'little' tense. I have also learned that it is much easier to deal with screaming fits and catching kicks to the ribs and an elbow to the eye after having a good night's sleep. Its easier to try to be patient with whining and quick to show compassion when my own body feels rested and ready to go. It's definitely easier to do that extra load of laundry and make a nice dinner when I can actually get up off the floor after playing with the kids. Somehow its easier to try to understand the grunting and mumbling when I feel rested. So, really it is in everyone's best interest for us all to get a good night's sleep. Everyday we face different challenges but this sleep issue is a constant and has been a constant since the day he was born. Looking back now it is easier to understand why he screamed and cried so much as a baby. He was dealing with all kinds of sensory things even back then. Three years later its still the same issues and unfortunately he still can't tell me what exactly is bothering him. So, we play a giant guessing game. I sometimes lay there in bed and try to go over and over our routine trying to figure out where we can make changes. I try to evaluate what he had too much of, or not enough of, or try to think of something new we've never thought of... So, I'm opening up the invitation for any suggestions that any of you may have. If you think to pray for us this week, please pray for sleep, for everyone! Thank you!


  1. I have no great advice for you Lindsey Lou, but I can relate to the need for a good nights sleep. All three of my kids did not sleep through the night until they were over 1 year old. I remember the first night I got 5 or 6 hours straight feeling like a brand new momma ready to take on the day! Love you friend, will pray for you to find rest. Love ya, E

  2. Boy...I know what it is like to be sleep deprived from my kids...but not day upon day upon day without let up. A couple of questions/thoughts (I apologize if they are naive):

    1. Is there a reason that he can't "sleep in the hallway on the hardwood floor upside down in a corner with his head on the hard floor and bottom up in the air"? Is there a way to make him safe, but let him sleep that way? He might sleep longer in the night??

    2. Is there a way for you to get away at least one night a month and get a complete nights sleep (go to a friends house)? And maybe Jason can get a night a month away so he can get a good nights sleep?

    3. Do you have someone that can stay with your kids for even 3-4 hours so you can get a nap from time to time? ... go to their house while they come to your house?

    Sometimes desperate times requires desperate measures.

    Blessings, Karen

  3. Have you considered a swing or a hammock? When my Z was a baby, he slept better in the baby swing than anywhere else. Swinging has always had a regulating effect on him. He's a big time swinger! They have those pull up bars you could put in the doorway & hang a swing off of, if you don't want to go all the way & install a swing off of the crossbeams in your house. Z does a hammock-type swing at OT (it's more like a cocoon than a swing) that really helps him center. I've heard of some parents who did the hammock & then put a mattress underneath it in case the child rolled out while sleeping. But if Cruz is one of those who is stimulated by swinging, that is definitely not the answer.

    Hope you can find a solution—praying for the Cruz family!

  4. Thank you guys for your feedback! Karen, the main reason I don't want him in the hallway is because when he gets up he is disoriented and has gone into the bathroom a few times or different areas of the house and run into things, also he has been known to go into his sisters room and wake her up. If he is in the hall I can't hear him to know where he is. The idea about taking a night away sounds like a great idea and I may start doing that!! Sarah, I have heard of those swings but I feel like he gets stimulated when we swing outside. We upped his dosage of melatonin this past week before bed and it seems to help. The last 2 nights he has actually slept better, Thank God!, praying that it will continue! Thank you guys for your feedback!!