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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

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kwjd

melatonin and change in sleep

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kwjd   

My son is 5 he is on 4mg of melatonin for 2 months fast acting as he has real trouble getting top sleep. He would wake every night around 2 then go back to sleep I could live with that but the last week or 2 he has heen waking at 4.30- 5.30 and hes wide awake and wont go to back to sleep. Then 10am he is tired which is to be expecteted. what do i need to do?

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baddad   

My son is 5 he is on 4mg of melatonin for 2 months fast acting as he has real trouble getting top sleep. He would wake every night around 2 then go back to sleep I could live with that but the last week or 2 he has heen waking at 4.30- 5.30 and hes wide awake and wont go to back to sleep. Then 10am he is tired which is to be expecteted. what do i need to do?

 

Hi KWJD -

 

I think this is a reality difficult one, because the reliance on medication to get him to sleep is probably directly connected to the early waking. He wakes up awake enough to 'fight against' going back to sleep, but this catches up with him again around 10.00. It's the 'fighting against sleep' you need to tackle, not the waking up, and meds don't tackle it, they just circumnavigate, ignore and reinforce it.

 

Personally - and I know many will disagree with this, but you're asking for opinions and advice not for reassurance - I would say you need to dig in and enforce an absolutely rigid sleep routine that doesn't reward him with getting up as an option to not sleeping. You need to address the 'has real trouble getting to sleep' in a way that can, if possible, remove medication completely from the equation.

 

'Camp out' on the upstairs landing at bedtime. Every time he gets out of bed calmly and consistently put him back to bed. Do this over and over and over and over for as long as it takes. Eventually, he'll stop fighting against it and accept it as a non-negotiable fact of life.

 

If he's genuinely 'awake' (rather than forcing himself to stay awake), then he has to learn another lesson, which is that he stays in his room/bed and doesn't disturb other people until a reasonable time of morning (this will depend on the house's routines, but I'd figure 6.30 - 7.00 in most cases). At five, he's certainly old enough to start learning that lesson - I've known profoundly affected non-verbal autistic children who have accepted such routines by this age. If your answer to that is 'he will wreck his bedroom', or any variation on that theme then you have a second behavioural issue that you need to be addressing with equally rigidly defined boundaries and some equally clearly defined sanctions that are meaningful to him... Basically, he needs to know that you mean business, that he's the child and you are the adult, and the balance of power in that dynamic does not favour him.

 

One other factor you've probably thought of is the 'earlier mornings'. Nothing you can do about birdsong etc, but a blackout blind can remove daylight from the equation. Other than that, it's just tackling the notion that 'earlier mornings' for this side of the planet means earlier mornings for him!

 

If you're loathe to lose the meds all together at least try the above for the early waking. You've nothing to lose anyway (unless you surrender to a second 'early hours' dose of meds and reinforce his dependence on it - which I hope and :pray: no one would suggest? :unsure: ), and if a few nights camping on the landing show you that you can win that battle you may well feel more inclined to tackle the issue of meds generally...

 

If you have 'catch up' on your TV Jo Frost was dealing with a non-sleeper on last weeks 'extreme supernanny'... well worth a watch...

 

HTH

 

L&P

 

BD

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cmuir   

My son is 5 he is on 4mg of melatonin for 2 months fast acting as he has real trouble getting top sleep. He would wake every night around 2 then go back to sleep I could live with that but the last week or 2 he has heen waking at 4.30- 5.30 and hes wide awake and wont go to back to sleep. Then 10am he is tired which is to be expecteted. what do i need to do?

 

 

Hi

 

I note you've said 'fast acting – is there a slow release melatonin? My son has great difficulty unwinding and despite establishing a bedtime routine there are still sleep issues, however, they've lessened a great deal. Perhaps you've been through this already, but if not, winding down time straight after dinner is important i.e. avoiding physical activity, bathtime, story, very light supper, etc. Environmental changes i.e. dark curtains, soft lighting, perhaps even introduce an audio story, etc might help. Also, I've been rudely awakened by my son playing on his Xbox at 3am numerous times – in those instances, I've insisted kiddo switch it off and get back into bed (we've agreed not before 7am as a compromise!). There's no easy solution, but winding down time may help.

 

Best wishes.

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kwjd   

hi we have the wind down time its just like a switch that goes of and he dances about ect.. he doesnt communicate very well and finds it hard to understand what we want from him. Him being on his meds have really helped him alot with winding down as he doesnt switch on and he gets some sleep as before he wouldnt get to sleep til after 12 and we would have to drag him up in the morning.

We cant really say its nightmares like i said he couldnt communicate that i dont think so though as he isnt upset when he comes in.

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