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What’s a full night’s sleep like?

Little ‘T’ is still not sleeping properly and I am still to work out why; and to be totally honest it is leaving me feeling weary, exhausted and grumpy. She will sleep through on a very rare night (perhaps twice a month?) and she has gone through the odd phase of sleeping 4 nights in a row every now and then, but she is almost 2 years old and I’m feeling completley worn out.

I’ve read countless books, followed the Gian Ford plan, monitored her TV time, what she eats, checked her iron levels, been to the Dr, seen a sleep specialist, spoken with the Health Visitor but still no soloution. The Dr. and sleep specialist both think that she is a very active thinker (which I must agree with, she literally never, ever stops ‘doing’ or ‘thinking’ from the second she wakes up, she is permenantly sorting, reading, making, playing, building, tidying etc.) which leads her to start ‘thinking’ every time she wakes during the night, instead of just dozing back of like most toddlers.

Sometimes she wakes up moaning and crying and other times she starts talking and shouting, often “Look Grandma, look – Maisey’s having snacks” (Maisey is Grandma’s cat by the way) or “Dolly, where are you?, Dolly?, Dolly?, Dolly?”. Sometimes she plays hide and seek and I can hear her running around her room shouting “hide, hide, FUN!!”.

She has 1.5 hour nap at lunchtime every day and goes to bed at 7pm and gets woken up at 7am, she has gentle stories before bed, hardly eats any sugar, only drinks water or pure fruit juice with lunch, daily outside time (walks, playing at the park, playing in the garden etc.). 

I know that before long she will be at school and is growing up so fast before my very eyes but I cannot help but wish for her to hurry up and sleep through the night properly, I’m really looking forward to the day that I can go to bed without fearing how long I have before she wakes up, over, and over, and over…….. I might give controlled crying another go again (though I’m not keen on doing this unless things get totally desperate), I may shorten her lunch time nap, I may introduce a little porridge for supper, I’m not really able to think straight to decide what is best to do but I’ll keep searching for ideas.

The outcome of being so tired has made me too nervous to drive somedays, but it has made me do more knitting in the evenings (simple, easy knitting, requiring minimum brain power) and my wonderful husband has got up with ‘T’ at the weekends to let me have a rest in the morning. We have been going for walks instead of driving anywhere and been busy in the garden lapping up a little bit of Spring that seems to be just around the corner.

I’m sorry that this is a bit of a moan, I’m feeling a bit moany today, and a bit tired as last night was particularly bad!

(Photographs taken this week)

8 responses »

  1. It’s not easy when they are not sleeping and you can only do what feels right, I’d be tempted to stop the lunchtime nap or alternatively have a little nap yourself at the same time.
    Try to relax (sounds easy I know)
    You are allowed to have moany moments at times so don’t worry about it.

    Wishing you a good day……. and put your feet up when she naps.

    Jan x

  2. When my son was 3, he would spend up to 2 hours after we put him to bed just talking and singing in his bedroom. He was still at it when I went to sleep most nights. Then he started protesting his naps and taking forever to fall asleep when it was nap time. I finally noticed that on the days his nap got skipped, he fell asleep right away at bed time. So eventually, with great reluctance, I let him stop napping. He stopped the vocal exercises at night and has been going to sleep right away ever since. Like your daughter, he is an “active thinker,” and while once he’s asleep he is out cold, it seems he has trouble shutting his brain off for the night if he’s not really tired.

    Have you tried a different bed time? Earlier or later? I have a friend who puts her children to bed at 6:30pm. I put mine to bed at 8:45pm. No one time is right for the universe, and sometimes it takes a little jiggering to see if something different might work better for you.

    Meanwhile, I’d say sleep when your daughter sleeps, like they say when you have a newborn! And good luck.

    • Thank-you SO much Rachel, so kind of you to stop by and offer such re-assuring words! We have today given her a 2-hour lunch time nap (usually has 1.30) and she seemed to take longer to settle off, though she has been SO quiet all evening that I am almost scared to see what tonight involves! I had a lie-down rest today shilst she napped and felt better for it! I never imagined that life before ‘T’ would mean SO little sleep!!
      I have tried an earlier bedtime but to no avail, and I honestly don;t think she would be able to stay awake any longer as she is so tired and cranky in the day though will bear it in mind for the next plan of action – thanks for the tip!!

  3. moan away – blogs are for sharing after all and even those who haven’t been through exactly the same thing can sympathise and offer moral support. Some poeple don’t need as much sleep as others and if they happen to be small still . . . . I’d agree with Rachel, but may be cut down the nap time to an hour ( during which time you rest too ) and maybe make bedtime half an hour later. Not big changes but maybe just a bit of adjustment to the amount of time she sleeps. Nursery will also make more demands on her and probably make her more tired. Best of luck!

  4. Hi, I just stopped by from today’s Yarn Along. I have a two year old daughter who is similarly very active. In fact, I find it so difficult to tell when she is genuinely tired because she battles sleep so much. She’d rather be playing, reading, or seeing what everyone else is up to and eventually she can just have a big meltdown. We struggled with sleep for about the first year and a half, but to our surprise we found that allowing her to nap for longer during the afternoon seemed to encourage her to sleep better at night. She could easily sleep for 3 hours in the afternoon and have 11 or 12 hours at night now, I would suggest not waking her up from her afternoon nap, let her get into a natural sleep rhythm that suits her. My Mum advised me that children are not robots (although Violet thinks she is but that’s another story). For me allowing her to sleep in the afternoons meant I was a bit limited as to what I could do (being stuck at home) but it did work for her. Your daughter sounds as though she might be getting over-tired due to how active she is when she’s awake, maybe.

    The problem for me now is that mine is at pre-school in the afternoons so no more naps!

    Best of luck, I realise this sounds a bit contradictory to the previous comments, so sorry if it’s of no help….

    Emma x

    • Emma thank-you so much for taking the time to reply! It’s funny that you said that as yesterday and today we have increased her daytime nap to 2 hours and last night she was up 4/5 times but went back to sleep the second I left the room so a huge improvement!! She has also been a lot happier and less cranky thansk to the extra sleep so I’m going to trial it for a while and see if this may just be the solution! I never imagined the lack-of-sleep thing would go on for so long and be quite so hard!!!
      Glad that you managed to get the problem sorted. Eeeek – hadn’t thought of the days when there are no more naps…..nooooooo!!!
      You are a hugs help so thank-you very much xx

  5. dreamjackie

    It gets better, i promise. My oldest wouldn’t sleep as a baby or toddler!! My 2nd was easier but 3rd and 4th were also terrible sleepers. i actually forgot what it was like to sleep more than two hours at a time. My oldest is now 20 years old and I have the opposite problem, he won’t wake up in the morning. But at least i get to sleep.
    I would try a shorter nap time, try shortening by a few minutes each day or maybe a quiet time instead of a nap.
    Anyway good luck!


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