Peanut’s Sleep

Hello blogging world! We are still alive! Sorry I’ve been absent around here. We were busy packing for a vacation, going on vacation, trying to get life back in order post-vacation, and generally being lazy about doing anything productive. I am back up and running and will have pictures of us in Vegas up soon. 

Before leaving town, I met up with a friend to borrow a couple of books. She, very nicely may I add, lent me The No-cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers and The No-cry Nap Solution. I have The No-cry Sleep Solution, but since it’s mostly geared towards babies and older babies, most of it isn’t relevant to Peanut these days. Too bad I didn’t keep with the thoughts when I read the first book a year or so ago because then I wouldn’t be in this mess!

Obviously, her sleep schedule was out of whack before we even left for Vegas, but it got even more so while we were gone. She stayed up until 10pm our time every night we were there, her naps were incredibly sporadic, and she woke up every morning way before anyone else. Yeah, that’s always nice when you’re sharing a hotel room with two other couples (one of which was sleeping in the living room, so we had no where to go). Needless to say, we started working on the whole sleep problem the day we got home.

My husband laughs when I use this term, but our child is chronically sleep deprived. Yeah, that’s a real term from the books. Pantley (the author) says that many behavioral problems stem back to chronic lack of sleep. Even missing as little as an hour a day has shown to increase tantrums, decrease focus, etc. I can tell that Peanut isn’t getting enough sleep at night because rather than waking refreshed and happy, she wakes up screaming at me, having fits, hitting. She’s never happy in the morning.

I would say that where we are right now, Peanut is getting approximately 10 hours of sleep on a good night and a 1.5-2 hour nap. She should be getting 13-14 hours a sleep total in a day. That means that on a good day she’s missing anywhere from 1 to 2.5 hours of sleep per day. On a bad day, oh my, it gets much worse.

I can tell it affects her waking hours too. She’s grouchy when she wakes up. She has more tantrums the day after a bad nights sleep. She just isn’t as happy all around and it’s progressively getting worse. She was into a good place with her naps and sleep last summer, but when I started school in the fall everything went downhill. I’m working really hard on not letting that happen again.

She’ll be in the preschool while I’m in class and their nap time is 11:30-1:30, so I’m working on getting her napping earlier. I can also tell that napping earlier is better for her because she falls asleep easier, naps longer, and is happier when she wakes up. So that’s goal #1.

She also fights sleep really hard most nights. Some nights I’ll start getting her ready for bed around 8 and she’s still wide awake at 10. These nights I end up taking her on a drive to get her to sleep, which is not something I like to rely on. Honestly, we’ve been using that too much lately in general. This problem, of course, is compounded by the fact that I’m pregnant and need her to not fight sleep so hard. So goal #2 is to get her to fall asleep faster and happier.

Lastly, she wakes up every morning the second the sun rises. Most days she’s awake and won’t go back to sleep at around 6:30-7, but yesterday is was 5:30. Seriously kiddo? Who wakes up at 5:30?!? She was at a point a few months back where she’s wake up once at night around 6:30 and come to my bed, nurse, and go back to sleep for another hour or so. Sadly, she’s not only not going back to sleep, but most nights she’s waking up in the middle of the night and I have to go comfort her. So the last goal is to get her to stay asleep longer.

So we’re working on it. As I’ve already shown you, we made a daily chart. The naps still aren’t in the right place, but I try to be consistent about the food and what not. There have been days where she naps as early as noon, but those are few and far between. I’ve also figured out how to get her to bed at 8:30 like planned, but the routine isn’t into full effect yet.

Honestly, the biggest thing I’ve figured out is that light, or the lack thereof, is a big sleep cue for Peanut. So how I’ve gotten her to sleep at 8:30 is nursing her in the basement where it’s nice and dark. She’ll even go to sleep while I’m watching TV if it’s low and dark. I’m going to get some sort of light blocking window covering for her room and hopefully that will help. Summer is hard in that sense because it gets dark later and later. We’ve also spent way too many nights driving her to sleep on the way home because summer also means various events and many go until 8:30 or later. We have to work on that.

Either way, this is the start. It feels like parenting is one big project after another. Any advice would be graciously welcomed.