I love sleep. I can sleep anywhere. I dream of sleep.
I stupidly thought that my children would love sleep too. They don’t.
My son doesn’t like to sleep as he thinks he’s missing out on something fun. But he knows when he’s tired. Knows when he needs to sleep. And after a story or five, is quite happy to drift off to the land or nod.
My daughter on the other hand is the complete opposite. She doesn’t recognise when she is tired. Or when she needs to switch off. Or why she even needs sleep. She finds it hard to go to sleep and she wakes in the night frequently.
I’ve been writing about her inability to sleep for many years. Even as a baby she only ever had 30 minute naps. I heard all about babies who slept for 1/2 hours and wondered where I was going wrong! She has always gone to bed much later than her peers, woke most nights and still got up at dawn. Plus she can’t go to sleep by herself – she gets very scared – so I’ve been siting by her bedside for 10 years now.
We have tried pretty much all of the sleep tips. Lavender pillows, sleep mist, CDs, mediation, massage, yoga, warm baths, Shaun the sheep, no reading at bedtime, late night exercise, no naps, no sweets, no screen time, etc. It takes all my patience to not roll my eyes when a new acquaintance gives me a new tip!
When she was 6 she even went to sleep therapy. Therapy to help her sleep. We learnt about foods to make her sleepy, a routine to help her switch off and lots of tips. I could write a book just on those tips! Firstly we had to starve her of sleep and then we had to gradually move her bedtime forward. It worked. For about 6 weeks. And then it didn’t work. Nothing had changed apart from her adhd brain which had figured out our plan!
80% of all adhd children have trouble sleeping. Sometimes it helps me to think there are other parents sitting with their child gone midnight dreaming they would sleep so they could too. Sometimes this just makes me very sad. Poor children. Poor families.