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7 Year Old with severe sleep issues
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7 Year Old with severe sleep issues

Wow where do I start. My daughter is 7 and is a full term triplet with two brothers. We live in a Chicago suburb. She has never been a good sleeper. As a toddler she would be very scared coming out of naps (always short ones). Night time was worse. Our doctors suggested we let her cry to sleep but she would get so worked up she would vomit. She also got a lot of ear infections and was constantly congested. She had tubes put in and adnoids out at 3. On top of these problems she developed sleep apnea and had tonsils out at 4. Terrible sleep problems and would almost always end up in our bed.

After tonsils out her apnea is gone but we found out she has a mild dust allergy (we have installed dust mite protectors). However, she has reactive airway disease which causes her immune system to overrespond to colds, allergies, even anxiety. For example, if we get firm with her re sleeping alone she will cry so hard and hyperventilate and/or vomit because of the buildup of phlem in her throat.

We have seen doctors and she is under the care of a therapist but nothing helps. We no longer let her sleep in our bed but one parent sleeps on a mattress in her room. She falls asleep fast but wakes up two hours later and searches the house for us. She will go back to sleep with us in the room but then is a very light sleeper the rest of the night and wakes if we leave.  She does not have separation issues during the day.

To get her comfortable with sleeping we are thinking the next step is sleeping pills.

My wife and I are way beyond the end of our ropes.
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The combination of medical concerns and habit have resulted in a situation which is not at all tolerable. At this point it makes sense to collaborate with child mental health professionals and/or pediatric sleep disorder specialists (I'd recommend the former). While it is unusual to turn to pharmacological remedies for such problems, it is not unreasonable to think that such a tool might be useful (in combination with your adjusting your behavior - e.g., stop catering to her wish to have you so available). After a new pattern is established you'd likely be able to do away with the pharmacology piece.
9 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't know if they would give you sleeping pills for a child that young. I know I was put on them and they really didn't even want me on them because they can get addicting. Have you tried childrens motrin? There should be something they recomend that they give her but I think sleeping pills would be to much for her.
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Avatar_n_tn
Im 20 by the way. My doctor really didn't want me having sleeping pills becuase of them being addicting. Plus she would not be able to take them every single day like that. I would look into something different.
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242606_tn?1243786248
If medication to promote sleep is prescribed in such a young child, it would likely be guanfacine hydrochloride (Tenex) or clonidine hydrochloride (Catapres). These medicines are not addictive and are often used to promote sleep in young children who really should not be prescribed sedatives or anxiolytics to help with sleep. Another possibility is dyphenhydramine hydrochloride, which is an antihistamine drug. The former two medications are in the antihypertenisive class of medications.
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Avatar_n_tn
my daughter is also 7 and she still sleeps with me ,we have tried everything even therapy ,nothing works ,she is asthmatic and gets herself worked up into a right state.

its been going on that long now i refer to her bedroom as our room and my bedroom as dads room.


tracey
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Avatar_n_tn
don't know if you saw your pediatrician about it yet or not but thought i'd tell you that clonadine worked wonders for our son. We don't give it to him every nite but on the nites he can't or won't settle we do and within a half hour he's sleeping and sleeps through the nite. Before this he was up till all hours in his room keeping everyone else up and then once asleep would wake a couple hours later and repeat the same..he would average about 4 hours of sleep a nite. With the clonadine he gets at least 10 hrs so it's not only nice for us but also good for him as kids need their sleep to function and grow normally. good luck to you
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Avatar_n_tn
Well, my wife and I decided to go "cold turkey" over the weekend.  Starting Friday night we are no longer sleeping with our daughter.  Friday was very rough with a lot of screaming (from her) and little sleep.  We did shut the door a few times which changed her behavior where she would at least stay in her bed.  She got very worked up but, as compared to the past seven years, it did not turn into a physical problem (reactive airway problem stayed in control and no throwing up).  Saturday night was better but probably because she was so tired.  Sunday night she regressed a little but stayed in room reading and writing (some nasty comments re parents!)when not asleep. Last night she went right to sleep on her own but got up after 2 hours and came downstairs.  She fell asleep again on own and slept thru the night.  She was happy with herself this morning. Progress.
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Avatar_n_tn
I think more people have this problem than you would think.   A friend of mine began letting their only child sleep with them as a toddler for various reasons and he continued sleeping with them until the day before he turned 13!  Yikes!  She believed for years and years the day would come when he would want to sleep in his own bed.  The day never came.  They kicked him out of their room the day before he turned 13.  I know another family with an only son that is now 12 and still sleeps in the same bed with his parents.  He has a fit if they try to get him to sleep alone.  A family member of mine began letting BOTH of his kids sleep with them since they were toddlers and they are now 5 and 6 and still sleep with them.  They are all very sleep deprived.  I read several books on getting babies and children to sleep well when my kids were babies and found one written by a sleep disorder doctor out of Childrens Memorial in Chicago.  It was hard to follow the rules but after one week both of my kids were able to sleep on their own as babies.  I wanted them to feel comforable with themselves and not need anyone else to fall asleep.  I didn't want to take that independent, private time away from them.  I wish more instruction was given regarding sleep to new parents.  Patterns that are started early in life are hard to break.  I gave my family member the sleep book as a gift and they claim it didn't work on their kids.  She admits she never inforced any of the rules and gave up after the child cried.  I don't know how everyone being sleep deprived and crabby is any better than one or two weeks of adjusting to sleeping alone all night long.  I would go see a sleep disorder doctor if I had these problems.  Good Luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Just read my misspelled words from yesterday, sorry. The book I was talking about is "Healthy Sleep Habits Healthy Child" by Marc Weissbluth.  It was the best $10 I ever spent.  I think he is still working as a pediatrician but is now at Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago.  Just reading it might give you the support you need right now.  I know how hard the adjustment period was for a baby, I can only imagine it is a lot harder with an older child.  The book does talk about different age groups, not just babies.
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