Child Who Won't/can't Sleep

I have a son who is soon to be 4 and he hates to sleep!  Whenever I tell him goodnight, he says "I don't like to close my eyes mom," and when I ask him way, he says, "well, because I just don't like it."  He has discontinued his nap recently (though, he's still put down in his room for quiet time at the same time each day) and at night he stays up singing to himself.  He will also flip through books by the tiny glow from his night light.  Many months ago, I wanted to take out his night light, thinking maybe it was messing with his circadian rhythm, but he cried, saying he was scared, so I didn't go that route.  I did replace his night light for a dimmer one hoping it would make a difference, but it hasn't.  The only other thing I've tried is tart cherry juice an hour before bed.  I did that for about a week and I didn't notice any difference.  I did chamomile a couple times, though, admittedly, not very consistently (he didn't like it very much).  He maybe gets 7 hours sleep a night MAX.  He has a pretty good diet.  He doesn't eat completely bulletproof; however, he does eat well.  Completely non gmo, good healthy fats, pretty low sugar (though he does get fruit), organic oats, rice, grass fed cheese, eggs from our chickens, raw milk, grass fed meats, vegetables, beans a couple times a week, nuts, occasionally dried fruit.  I do let him have gluten free organic granola bars maybe twice a week.  He's tall and thin for his age.  He is very hyperactive and also very smart.  I'm worried about his lack of sleep because he gets quite wild and somewhat violent when his sleep has been really bad. 


I was similar as a kid.  I slept like crap too, but probably 90% of my meals were microwaved kid cuisines and pre-packaged crap.  I was sick all the time.  I want him to have a healthy enjoyable childhood, so I want to help him get this sleep thing under control before it starts taking a toll on his health.  I feel stuck though.  I'm not sure what to do for him.  Does anyone know of bulletproof sleep remedies that are safe for small children?


Comments

  • Try changing your marketing approach.  Instead of bedtime, try using the term "quiet time."  He does not have to sleep, or even close his eyes.  He just needs to be in his bed and stay quiet.  Even if he is awake and his mind is wandering, it still generates quite a decent amount of theta (especially if he holds still).  You have to limit his access to books and toys during this time.  If he sings, he sings.  I would not tape his mouth shut, but keep encouraging him to hold still and keep quiet.


     


    There are several ways to improve sleep hygiene that is probably safe for children:


     


    1) Maintain a sleep schedule


    2) Mid day naps


    3) Low blue light at least an hour before bed


    4) Lower temperature to 68oF


    5) No TV before bed.  Read books under low blue light instead.


    6) Change the night light to a red bulb


    7) Maybe try an epson salt bath before bed


    8) Maybe get a noise generation device


     


    Marketing is probably your best strategy.  His melatonin/cortisol production times are probably jacked, and you have to establish "quite time" to get him back on schedule.


  • Does he get much good salt in his diet?  What kind of water is he drinking and when?  There's a homeopathic remedy called Ignatia amara that helps people who can't settle enough to get to sleep, it calms the mind.   I also agree about "marketing".  Focus on positive language and on what you want rather than what you don't want.  You might want to watch Dave interview with Steve Fowkes about pH because this can affect sleep.  Podcast #94 and or #95   I have four children and would strongly recommend removing all "worry" and "fear" from your household because even your emotions though quite "silent" can have a huge impact.  I use The Healing Code as a relaxation technique and you can do it for children. 


  • Jason has pretty much covered it.


     


    We have "wind down time" every evening. As the sun goes down, we run on very low amber lights or candles while getting ready for bed. In the summer the sun goes down at 9 pm, so we use very minimal light after that. Otherwise its after 8 pm. 


     


    For bath time, same thing, we use very low or candle light.


     We don't allow any spazz activity late at night in preparation for bed. 


     


    Its all about perspective. We talk up how awesome and comfy his bed is. We got him sheets that he likes, and we make a big deal about how awesome it is that its bed time. 


     


    Some other things to check would be EMF sources like wifi too close, or wireless baby monitors. My son sleeps better after I figured out that wireless monitors can affect sleep and behavior.


     


    My son does the inner balance app from heart math before bed. Its $100 though, so if you don't want to get one, just do a guided meditation. There is also yoga for kids that is designed to do before bed time.

  • Jason HooperJason Hooper ✭✭✭
    edited April 2014

    That is awesome!  Do you ever do any of the whole family, Heart Math Solution techniques?  Not to completely derail the topic, but I am interested in how Bulletproof parents employ the emWave.


     


    Forgot about EMF too.  Good call.


  • Jason, we just use the inner balance sensor with a few iPhones for the three of us. It was the most cost effective solution. I wish the app supported multiple users, maybe in the future.
  • Get him on the GAPS diet


  • SkeletorSkeletor The Conqueror Worm ✭✭✭

    Not to further derail, but what the heck does one do about EMF in the home? As I type this, my modem is flickering within two feet of me, delivering the Wi-Fi with which I post this question. Who knows what funky signals I'm absorbing...


    "I know how to despise mere cool intelligence. What I want is intelligence matched by pure, physical existence, like a statue." --Yukio Mishima

     

    Let's be friends on MyFitnessPal!

  • Just limit what you can. Use Ethernet mostly, don't talk with your phone up to your ear all the time Things like that.
  • Danno RedDanno Red Practical Man

    7 hours? Ouch...our kids are 4 & 6 and have both kicked their naps but the 4 year old active boy still takes one maybe once a week. They're still getting 10-12 hours of sleep at night. We have room-darkening shades because in MN like others said, the sun's visible 'til 9:30! Cut any evening snacking, if not for energy cut, for sensible dental health. Like Hooper/Noogis (like the new profile pic BTW!) we have always had the rule that you don't have to sleep but you have to stay in your bed and remain quiet for all the rest of the family may want to sleep. There's books by their beds and the stuffed animals. Sleep was a struggle when they were extremely young (transition to crib for oldest--we gave birth to her & adjusting timezones for youngest because we got him when he was 8 mos old) but it was more an adjustment for us to just accept that they won't sleep all the time we want them to...they'll sleep when they need it. Kids also pick up on anxiety levels...if you're aware that your sleep was crap you may be setting the stage for a stressful start to the night. See what happens when you accept that he may be awake sometime up there if and set firm rules/consequences for the "quiet time" rule if you go that route. Be firm and flexible...reduce the stress and stimulation after dinner.


     


    PS I'd also recommend challenging that brain of his...do puzzles, word games, math, science (human anatomy place-mat at dinner has been great conversation starter for us) lessons, spelling challenges, build his adult vocabulary...it'll push his brain to work which we've found is almost as effective at tiring them out as physical play...remember, sleep is about brains processing the info they took in during the day and re-energizing. Thought is exercise in a way.


  • Thanks for the suggestions everybody!  I think magnesium may help him.  We've done epsom salt baths an hr before bed the last two nights and he's slept better.  We've also kept the lights very low right after dinnertime.  The last two nights have been better and he has taken naps the last two days! 


    We don't do T.V, except sometimes in the mid-morning when baby requires a lot more of my undivided attention.  We do have a fan that generates some noise to help block out the outside noises.  I got him a red bulb for his lamp.  Not sure how it's going to work.  Last night, he just wanted to stare at it because it was novel, but he did drift off after about an hour or so.  I wish we could keep our temp at 68 or below, but we live in AZ and the temp has already gotten into the upper 90's.  My anxiety about bedtime may be palpable, though I don't verbalize it.  I am more consciously trying to avoid such attitudes and relax around bedtime.  We don't do cell phones and our computer is on the completely opposite end of the house, as is the TV, etc.


    I could also attempt a bit more challlenging activites for him.  His interests lie primarily in electronics and anything with a motor. 


  • Bulletproof ModeratorBulletproof Moderator Upgraded Mod Admin

    Awesome!  I am glad that the constructive posts are helping your son.


  • Glad it's working.

    Kudos to you for all the work and attention to your kid.


    Thanks for the suggestions everybody! I think magnesium may help him. We've done epsom salt baths an hr before bed the last two nights and he's slept better. We've also kept the lights very low right after dinnertime. The last two nights have been better and he has taken naps the last two days!

    We don't do T.V, except sometimes in the mid-morning when baby requires a lot more of my undivided attention. We do have a fan that generates some noise to help block out the outside noises. I got him a red bulb for his lamp. Not sure how it's going to work. Last night, he just wanted to stare at it because it was novel, but he did drift off after about an hour or so. I wish we could keep our temp at 68 or below, but we live in AZ and the temp has already gotten into the upper 90's. My anxiety about bedtime may be palpable, though I don't verbalize it. I am more consciously trying to avoid such attitudes and relax around bedtime. We don't do cell phones and our computer is on the completely opposite end of the house, as is the TV, etc.

    I could also attempt a bit more challlenging activites for him. His interests lie primarily in electronics and anything with a motor.

  • Here is some info on bedtime yoga for kids.


    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/03/like-a-baby-laurie-jordan/
  • Danno RedDanno Red Practical Man
    edited April 2014


    Thanks for the suggestions everybody!  I think magnesium may help him.  We've done epsom salt baths an hr before bed the last two nights and he's slept better.  We've also kept the lights very low right after dinnertime.  The last two nights have been better and he has taken naps the last two days! 


    We don't do T.V, except sometimes in the mid-morning when baby requires a lot more of my undivided attention.  We do have a fan that generates some noise to help block out the outside noises.  I got him a red bulb for his lamp.  Not sure how it's going to work.  Last night, he just wanted to stare at it because it was novel, but he did drift off after about an hour or so.  I wish we could keep our temp at 68 or below, but we live in AZ and the temp has already gotten into the upper 90's.  My anxiety about bedtime may be palpable, though I don't verbalize it.  I am more consciously trying to avoid such attitudes and relax around bedtime.  We don't do cell phones and our computer is on the completely opposite end of the house, as is the TV, etc.


    I could also attempt a bit more challlenging activites for him.  His interests lie primarily in electronics and anything with a motor. 




     


    Take stuff apart and get this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Way-Things-Work/dp/0395938473/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1398702081&sr=8-2&keywords=how+stuff+works


     


    Playful illustrations about how things work. 


  • Nice! I'm getting that for sure.






    Take stuff apart and get this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Way-Things-Work/dp/0395938473/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1398702081&sr=8-2&keywords=how+stuff+works


    Playful illustrations about how things work.

  • JaredJared
    edited April 2014

    What time does he wake up in the morning? What time are you putting him to bed? The answers to these questions are critical. A four year old should probably be in bed around 7pm, if not earlier depending on his/her behavior.


     


    I would say that the timing of bedtime is just as important as diet/supplementation. Anyone telling you to give your child melatonin is crazy. 


     


    BTW, this is exactly what my wife does for a living:


     


    www.sleeplicity.com


  • There's no way I could put him down before 7.  It's still quite light out where I live.  We do have black out curtains in his room, but he just opens them if it's day.  We start the sleep routine at 7:30 and he's tucked in and in bed by 8.  He doesn't go to sleep usually untill after 10 though, and he's up by 5.  This is so hard on us because I also have a 3 month old baby who wakes up at 3 every night and is up for a minimum of an hour.  Then our 2 year old has been waking up around 2 lately, so it's been zombie central.  Super sucky!  The last few nights have been better with my oldest though. His sleep "difficulties" didn't start till he was about 3 1/2, so less than 6 months of not very good sleep.  We've had a consistent routine since he was probably 18 months old.


  • Based on experience, if he were to be in bed by 7 or 6:30, he would probably sleep until 7am the next day. I am not exaggerating. My wife has helped with this exact situation many times. I have seen it save marriages. 


     


    I would absolutely encourage you to get some assistance.


     


    If not from my wife, then visit: 


     


    http://www.familysleepinstitute.com/child-sleep-consultant-certification/graduates/

  • Thanks for the suggestion, Jared, we may try to scale their bedtime back earlier, especially since the oldest is usually desiring to not have a nap. 


  • Keep us posted on the results.


  • Thanks Jared, we've been working on scaling back the bedtime to a bit earlier.  He has not started waking up later yet, unfortunately.  We'll give it some time though.


     


    I have a question involving the red light.  We have been using it at night for maybe 4 nights now, I'm not sure exactly how many.  My oldest seems to have increased aggression toward his 2 year old brother, like yanking things away from him or pushing him out of the way.  Is it possible the red light might be contributing to this? 


  • @healthymom23 said:
    I have a son who is soon to be 4 and he hates to sleep!  Whenever I tell him goodnight, he says "I don't like to close my eyes mom," and when I ask him way, he says, "well, because I just don't like it."  He has discontinued his nap recently (though, he's still put down in his room for quiet time at the same time each day) and at night he stays up singing to himself.  He will also flip through books by the tiny glow from his night light.  Many months ago, I wanted to take out his night light, thinking maybe it was messing with his circadian rhythm, but he cried, saying he was scared, so I didn't go that route.  I did replace his night light for a dimmer one hoping it would make a difference, but it hasn't.  The only other thing I've tried is tart cherry juice an hour before bed.  I did that for about a week and I didn't notice any difference.  I did chamomile a couple times, though, admittedly, not very consistently (he didn't like it very much).  He maybe gets 7 hours sleep a night MAX.  He has a pretty good diet.  He doesn't eat completely bulletproof; however, he does eat well.  Completely non gmo, good healthy fats, pretty low sugar (though he does get fruit), organic oats, rice, grass fed cheese, eggs from our chickens, raw milk, grass fed meats, vegetables, beans a couple times a week, nuts, occasionally dried fruit.  I do let him have gluten free organic granola bars maybe twice a week.  He's tall and thin for his age.  He is very hyperactive and also very smart.  I'm worried about his lack of sleep because he gets quite wild and somewhat violent when his sleep has been really bad. 

    I was similar as a kid.  I slept like crap too, but probably 90% of my meals were microwaved kid cuisines and pre-packaged crap.  I was sick all the time.  I want him to have a healthy enjoyable childhood, so I want to help him get this sleep thing under control before it starts taking a toll on his health.  I feel stuck though.  I'm not sure what to do for him.  Does anyone know of bulletproof sleep remedies that are safe for small children?

    Hi all,

    I experienced such a situation with my child. Don't get confused, it's typical of many children. They wake up regularly and it seems they haven't slept during that day at all :)
    Just make sure your child gets adequate sleep. It's very important.
    They say it may prevent diabetes. So, take control over it.

    Look: http://phlabs.com/motivation-to-help-you-put-your-kids-to-bed-reduce-the-risk-of-diabetes

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