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nightmares and sleeping in own bed

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  • nightmares and sleeping in own bed

    I have two issues with my youngest which are related:

    1. My youngest is now 4 1/2 and has never been a good sleeper. I do not think he has ever slept through the night without waking (unlike my other son who has always slept like a log!) He generally goes to sleep OK in his own bed (normally with me lying / sitting with him though I am trying to do this less), but most nights (at least 5 nights a week I would say) ends up in our bed at some point. I don't have a problem with this in principle, but unfortunately he is not a good bedmate. He wriggles and kicks constantly then is wide awake and jumping on us by 6am, meaning that no-one gets a good nights sleep and we are all constantly exhausted. Its just not working for us. So we really would prefer for him not to come in. Does anyone have any ideas for helping him sleep in his own bed all night?

    2. Recently (a week or so) he seems to have started having particular trouble with nightmares. I'm sure he has had bad dreams before, but these seem to be really scaring him badly, to the point that he seems genuinely scared to go to sleep. I have tried encouraging him to have "happy thoughts" before he goes to sleep - choosing his favourite place to be and imagining that he is there etc - which does seem to help him get to sleep in the evenings, but he still wakes and comes into our bed clearly quite disturbed during the night. He has quite a bright nightlight in his room (which he shares with his brother) but our room is dark, so dark is not the problem. It is horrible to see him like this, and I really don't know how else to help him. This also means of course that he is coming into our bed earlier and more often than usual, and sleeping even worse when he is there. So we are all getting even more tired, which is probably compounding the problem. So should I just let him come and have his cuddles and hope it passes soon, or is there anything else I can try?

    Any ideas most gratefully received!

  • #2
    Hi, no clues on getting him to sleep in his own bed all night, I'm sorry wish I could help. The nightmares though has anything happened lately that is bugging him, did he have a traumatic experience? You said he's 4 1/2 is he finishing school for the year and distraught about that in any way? I would try and see if you can get him to talk to you about anything that might be bugging him, it could be something as small as he tripped and was embarrassed. Just something to try. I'm sorry sleep is so hard, especially when it is interrupting your sleep.


    • #3
      my son had night terrors for a while. i'm not sure how old he was, maybe 3? they eventually went away on his own. as for sleeping, could you put a small mattress next to your bed? that way he can be with you, but he has his own space.


      • #4
        Originally posted by PaxMamma View Post
        as for sleeping, could you put a small mattress next to your bed? that way he can be with you, but he has his own space.
        I was going to suggest something similar so that he will be used to being on his own and will soon go to his own bed


        • #5
          Thank you all so much for your suggestions.

          Last night I put a sleeping bag on the floor next to my bed and told him that if he was scared in the night he could come and sleep there so that he wouldn't wake up mummy and daddy. He was quite excited, but did ask if he could come in the bed for a little cuddle first! But then, what do you know - he stayed in his own bed until after 7 this morning!

          I don't know if it helped knowing he coud come and sleep in the sleeping bad if he wanted (though he knows he can come in the bed too) or if he was just so tired after the last few nights that he just crashed. He did go to bed later than usual as well, so maybe that helped. Anyway - very welcome and lets hope it lasts!

          With the nightmares, I did go away for a few days last weekend, which probably threw him a bit. Its also half term, so his routine is a bit different, and he's been watching a bit more TV than normal (mostly Dr Who, Star Wars, Ben 10 etc which could be contributing too). As far as I can tell, his dreams are not about stuff he sees on TV - the only one he has told me about was him being eaten by a crocodile - but he does have quite an imagination. My husband thinks its a developmental thing with his imagination becoming more vivid and involved. Either way, hopefully it will improve soon.

          Thanks again!