I am not a good sleeper. I never have been. When I was a kid I would read by night-light after my mom tucked me in. As a teenager I used to stay up so late I would get my days and nights flipped around in the summer. I get productive in the evenings and will often work after dark. I enjoy a good sleep in.
For a while I worked at a job that required me to be at work at 7 am. And during elections I had to catch the first bus at 6 am to get to the office as early as possible. I made it work, but I have always and will always get up just in time to get ready and leave.
In fact, one of the hard things about having a kid is the timing. When she was younger she was always up early. When she started school she needed time in the morning and couldn’t be rushed, so I had to get up and make sure she was dressed and had something to eat, etc.
But, as it turns out, my kid is also not a good sleeper. As a baby there were at least two instances when she just didn’t fall asleep at night. I was up with her all night and into the next day, when she would finally nap around 2 pm. Before she turned a year old she gave up naps.
I was told by my doctor that without a morning nap she should be falling asleep in her lunch – except she wasn’t. When she started daycare her provider was astonished. She just didn’t fall asleep like the other kids.
As she got older bedtime became the worst part of my day. It took so much time, and then she would come out to ask for different things, ask us big questions that we didn’t know how to answer.
Everyone had advice. She still has trouble falling asleep – during this pandemic she’s often awake until 4 am. Every time I talk about it people have advice.
This is a list of things we have already tried:
- Bedtime routine that includes a soothing bath with lavender, a small snack and a story.
- Sitting in her room quietly reading but not interacting with her.
- Lying with her and letting her talk.
- Essential oils.
- Quiet stories on CD – she went all the way through a Robert Munsch CD and then started it again.
- Meditation, including CHEO’s Mind Masters.
- Earlier bedtime.
- Later bedtime.
- Talking quietly about what’s on her mind.
- Weighted blanket.
- Re-starting bedtime when she’s struggling.
- Reading a chapter of a book.
- Quiet music.
- No electronics.
- Letting her watch videos to calm her brain.
- Writing in a journal.
- Being stern.
- Being flexible.
- White noise
- Blackout curtains.
- Explained the benefits of sleep.
- Talking to her about her trouble.
- Talking to her doctor about her trouble.
- Talking to her therapist about her trouble.
- Melatonin (on a doctor’s recommendation).
I’m sure there’s more, since this has been a struggle for at least 90% of her life. I don’t model well, I know that. Maybe we both need to buckle down.