Bedtime II

Bedtime II

My eight year old still has trouble going to sleep and this week he has probably been going to bed at around eleven o’clock or later!  Early in the week he may have stayed up until close to midnight before finally nodding off.  I noticed he often falls asleep on his back with both arms raised above his head.  Perhaps I should tell him to assume that position as soon as he lays down and that would help.  This week he is definitely a little off-kilter because of the two week vacation where he was regularly getting to bed around eleven or twelve o’clock every night and waking up whenever he pleased, which usually ended up being around ten in the morning or later.  But this week has been hard because we’ve been getting the little ones to bed right on time at 8 to 8:30 and we’ve been shutting things down for Aurelio around 9:30.  Two of the nights this week he has cried when we told him it was time to close his book and go to sleep.  Then he sits in bed for an hour or more.  He is bored.  Who can blame him?  Sometimes I think it would be better for him to just sit in bed and read until he falls asleep but he rarely falls asleep while he’s reading, if ever, now that I think about it.  His mind is working too fast to go to sleep, I guess.  We try to encourage him to breathe and practice techniques he learned in yoga class and maybe he can relax himself.   We bought him a Tibetan meditation bowl to help him calm down and relax his mind.  Occasionally my wife will slip him some homeopathic tablets that dissolve on his tongue, Valerian and chamomile mostly.  We’ve tried tea, warm milk, white noise, no noise, lights, no lights, nightlights.  He is scared of the dark so we cannot make it totally dark in his room which I feel may be the biggest impediment.  We hope that our return to a routine this week will mean he can get to bed easier.   Every time I read up on how to help him get to bed I read about keeping a routine so we try to stay meticulous.  They say the body can recognize those actions that precede sleep after a time and will begin to shut itself down if you follow the same routine every night.  Reading, getting your clothes ready for the next day, having a drink of water, brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom…  But the truth is nothing has ever really worked and it may be he is just a night owl sort of person.  So what do we do about that?  Maybe he just needs less sleep than the average kid.  Sometimes I give into that notion and just let him stay up and mess up his whole routine all over again.

The truth is that his sleeplessness does not impact me that much because if he ‘s awake then he’s happy just reading by himself and if he’s trying to go to sleep he no longer requires a parent to sit with him as he stares at the ceiling in his dark room.  At least we weaned him off that, although occasionally he still asks if someone can sit with him in the room, but we’ve said no so many times by now that he’s pretty much given up asking.  I do worry about him and that takes its mental strain, but there are two other kids to attend to and they have their own sleep issues to deal with, most of all, Thing #3, who still can’t make it through the night alone…

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