5 year old struggles to fall asleep — Scope | Disability forum
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5 year old struggles to fall asleep

This discussion was created from comments split from: Ask a Sleep Practitioner.


  • Galena
    Galena Member Posts: 2
    We have a 5 year old with spastic diplegia and she really struggles to fall asleep. She has had a consistent bedtime routine since she was a baby - bath, bed, stories, sleep. Last summer she started playing up after stories - getting out of bed, screaming, shouting and even biting and kicking if we went in which she never does usually. We managed to get through this with consistency and firmness, and now, after her stories, she is allowed to read to herself for a while - usually till 8, but it still often takes her until 9 or later to fall asleep, even if she is quietly in bed. If she messes around, shouting and getting out of bed she loses the following night's reading time, 10 minutes at a time. We have tried audio books, but she gets engrossed in the story and stays awake till they finish! We have classicfm on quietly in her room, which she loves. Is there any way we can help her fall asleep more quickly? The shouting is less the problem now than just being unable to fall asleep.
  • SleepPractitioners
    SleepPractitioners Member Posts: 41 Courageous
    Hi @Galena,

    If a child is laying bed for a long period they are not associating the bedroom with sleep. There is a 'golden hour' before bed which is your routine (too long and they get bored, too short and they are too awake!) I would also start your routine at 8pm and put her to bed at 9pm, then every 3 days bring it back by 15 minutes until she is falling asleep at the appropriate time (a 5 year olds average sleep needs are 11 hours).

    Also you will need to leave classic FM on all night for her to reduce night wakings, any change in conditions can cause a child to fully wake during their natural night wakings)

    With regards to the taking reading time off her, I wouldn't bother, she won;t remember what it is for as it was so long ago for what she is being disciplined for. We advocate two stories in bed with her (10 minutes) so she has time to calm down in there and relax, and thats it. Lights off, kiss goodnight 'see you in the morning'.

    Good luck!

    Em x


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