Monday, 22 July 2013

Sleep – What’s that?!!

Our youngest son has suffered sleep problems from an early age.  It was a shock to the system as our other two children slept through the night from 6 weeks old.  I thought it was payback time for having 2 sleeping beauties.  

Surviving on two hours sleep a night might have been fun for him, but it quickly began to take its toll on me.  Although, it is amazing how quickly the human body adapts to having only a couple of hours sleep.  In my case, the amount of lucozade and chocolate I consume probably has a bigger effect!!

I have lost count of the number of times I have watched Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse through the night or The Snowman in the summer nights.  Luckily we are detached as screaming and shouting to wake the whole house up is common place. 

By 2011 sleep deprivation was getting to me and the controlled crying technique had no effect on the situation.  The paediatrician referred us to a sleep clinic, which involved an intensive programme that needed to be followed with consistency.  I was up for the challenge, but had not envisaged our son doing high jumps over the stair gate to his bedroom, so that he could escape.  It was meant to ensure he stayed in his room, not to be used as part of an assault course.  I spent my evenings sitting at the top of the stairs, normally for hours, but I had to win this battle!!

At the same time as seeking advice from the sleep clinic, we heard about the benefits of a weighted blanket.  It can help a person feel secure by applying deep pressure from the weight of the blanket and is very similar to the principle applied to newborns when they are swaddled in blankets.  We sourced a weighted blanket from a company called Sensory Direct  and were able to hire one for two weeks to see what effect it had on our son’s sleeping pattern.  Almost overnight, he stayed in bed.  We were in shock that something so simple could have a life changing effect on something that we all take for granted.

We still go through blips when sleep is disturbed due to a change in routine or sensory overload, but it is easier to manage now as we know there will be times when sleep will return again.  At the moment the transition from term time to school holidays is causing a lot of anxiety in our son’s world, so he is awake most nights from 2am and this will probably continue for the next couple of weeks.  Then the holiday routine will be established, but within a couple of weeks, we will have to prepare him for going back to school and that will disturb his sleep pattern again.   Currently my nights are filled with making every puzzle we have in the house and watching Mickey Mouse’s Wizard of Dizz on a continual loop!!

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