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Old 10-18-2011, 11:19 AM   #1
mjgates
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Default 7 year old waking up at night

My 7 year old said he has been having trouble sleeping at night. He does not wake us up, wake up screaming, complain of any pain or being scared. He just said he wakes up in the middle of the night and has trouble getting back to sleep. He has never been a morning person, so it's hard to tell if the lack of sleep is effecting him, but I can only imagine it is. He goes to sleep at 8:30, which I feel is pretty normal for a 7 year old. He has no issues falling asleep at bedtime, just once he gets up in the middle of the night. Not sure what would cause this to start happening after being a great sleeper for the first 7 years of his life. We have trouble getting him to get ready by the time we leave in the mornings, as he moves extremely slow. This is nothing new, he's been slow in the mornings his whole life, and I have been the same way as long as I can remember. Nobody on either side of the family has any kind of sleeping disorder, and age is the only factor that seems to have effected anyones sleeping on either side of the family. Any ideas of what may be causing this? It's only been about a week and I would like to take care of this sooner than later so his body doesn't adjust to waking up in the middle of the night.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: 7 year old waking up at night

well, you might want to go to the dr and get him checked out, see if there's any medical reason (tonsils/adenoids, allergies, I'm thinking....) otherwise, and I know this will be tough for you, but can you try getting him (and you) up early for a week or two? e.g. if you normally get up at 6:30 try 5:30, that way it gives him time to wake up, then maybe he;ll be more tired at 8:30 and sleep through the night.

There are articles on normalizing circadian rhythms, you could google those, there are a few things you could try without prescription. He's not taking any medication for anything that could affect his sleep patterns, is he?

Good luck.
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: 7 year old waking up at night

Hi MJGates

My daughter (also 7) wakes up routinely during the night and calls for me. I am able to settle her and she goes back to sleep within about 5 to 10 minutes. This behavior is believed to have been caused by a sudden change from co-sleeping (ex wife) to her own bed as well as a big change in her living environment.

Although your son doesn't seem to have exactly the same issues, there are similarities and you may want to look for changes at school or similar areas that may be causing any anxiety. I am curious if the timing of the wakening is constant (my daughters is) and how long he stays awake or is he awake from midnight to the morning?
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: 7 year old waking up at night

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Originally Posted by GavinH View Post
Hi MJGates

My daughter (also 7) wakes up routinely during the night and calls for me. I am able to settle her and she goes back to sleep within about 5 to 10 minutes. This behavior is believed to have been caused by a sudden change from co-sleeping (ex wife) to her own bed as well as a big change in her living environment.

Although your son doesn't seem to have exactly the same issues, there are similarities and you may want to look for changes at school or similar areas that may be causing any anxiety. I am curious if the timing of the wakening is constant (my daughters is) and how long he stays awake or is he awake from midnight to the morning?

I am also curious to see if the timing is constant. Since he doesn't make noise or wake us up, I'm really not sure. He says he stays awake for quite some time after he wakes up, but whether that is 15-30 minutes or an hour or more I don't know. There have been no other changes to my knowledge. School is a little more demanding from 1st to 2nd grade. He now has science, math, religion and social studies tests as well as his vocabulary. He gets straight A's, and has since 1st grade when they went to the letter grade system, so maybe something about the workload or at school has some anxiety hitting. I'll have to talk to him a little more in depth and see if I can find out.
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: 7 year old waking up at night

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Originally Posted by IADad View Post
well, you might want to go to the dr and get him checked out, see if there's any medical reason (tonsils/adenoids, allergies, I'm thinking....) otherwise, and I know this will be tough for you, but can you try getting him (and you) up early for a week or two? e.g. if you normally get up at 6:30 try 5:30, that way it gives him time to wake up, then maybe he;ll be more tired at 8:30 and sleep through the night.

There are articles on normalizing circadian rhythms, you could google those, there are a few things you could try without prescription. He's not taking any medication for anything that could affect his sleep patterns, is he?

Good luck.
I talked to the Pediatrician's nurse this morning and if this continues a couple more nights I'm going to bring him in to get seen to make sure it's nothing medical. I can try having my wake him up when she gets up for the shower, about 30 minutes earlier than normal, and see if that helps. He is not on any meds except muti-vitamin. I'll have to read more into Circadian Rhythm's to get a better understanding. thanks
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: 7 year old waking up at night

It seems strange that there is no hint of night terrors or fear or anything in particular in your environment that is waking him up. Maybe there is something in the food or drinks that he is having, particularly before bed that is having some sort of stimulant effect? I know my 4 year old often "swipes" Iced Coffee if he can get a hold of it in the fridge without us knowing. There are so many food allergies these days that it might be something to look into? The Circadian Rhythms are certainly worth looking into as well but as you say, it has only been happening for a week or so. If it goes on for any length of time, a sleep clinic where he can be monitored throughout the night is also a good option. Best of luck!
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: 7 year old waking up at night

I had a long talk with my son last night, and it appears he was have nightmares after all. He just wasn't waking us up, crying or screaming, and he was embarrassed to tell us for some reason when we talked to him. I assured him there was nothing to be embarrassed about and we let him sleep with his door open. He slept until 6:30 (10 hours sleep) and was much better this morning. I'll continue to keep his door open until he gets over this fear of robbers (what he was having nightmares about) in hopes he will continue to sleep. He's much tougher than I was as a kid. If I woke up scared I would of been at the foot of mom and dads bed. He never even left his room.

Thanks for all the replies
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: 7 year old waking up at night

Me too,
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Old 10-19-2011, 01:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: 7 year old waking up at night

I am glad that you seem to have found the underlying reason for him waking up.

I am curious though .... and this question is for all in the forum .... why do you close his door at night? It seems from the way you worded the post that he normally has to keep the door closed but maybe I'm reading too much into the grammar.

I grew up in a home where doors were always open and only closed for a moment for privacy to change. I see the closed door often in US made movies and wonder about the effect on young children. Do they feel isolated or afraid? What is the majority opinion on this and why?
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: 7 year old waking up at night

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Originally Posted by GavinH View Post
I am glad that you seem to have found the underlying reason for him waking up.

I am curious though .... and this question is for all in the forum .... why do you close his door at night? It seems from the way you worded the post that he normally has to keep the door closed but maybe I'm reading too much into the grammar.

I grew up in a home where doors were always open and only closed for a moment for privacy to change. I see the closed door often in US made movies and wonder about the effect on young children. Do they feel isolated or afraid? What is the majority opinion on this and why?
I would think the way a house is setup has a lot to do with it. We have a split level, so upstairs there are bedrooms, as well as the kitchen, dining, and den area. This being the case, normal noise (ice machine, talking, etc) as well as light becomes a factor for them falling asleep. My kids have preferred their doors closed (at least until last night) as they have found it easier to fall asleep without outside distractions. My 5 year old daughter had the option to keep her door open and opted to keep the door closed. I don't think open or closed doors have any adverse effect on kids. Maybe if it was forced on them even when they were dealing with something like my son is. But I can almost guarantee once he's done with this nightmare phase he will go right back to a closed door.
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