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Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Sleep problems Print
(Issues vary. May include any of the following: trouble going to sleep, trouble staying asleep, too much/too little sleep, thrashing, nightmares, night terrors, nap terrors.)

For my son, this comes and goes. Our first experience with this began at 15 months. For about 6 weeks he had nightly episodes of nightmares/night terrors, including a blood-curling scream; this abruptly disappeared once we began attachment treatment. In a similar vein, we’ve often had nap terrors where he’ll wake abruptly after an hour of sleep, crying, screaming, or scared. We had a recurrence of nighmares/night terrors along with a new fear of going to sleep when his attachment symptoms improved and he began to feel safe enough to deal with some scary feelings (PTSD symptoms) at 26 months. As his attachment disorder heals, we deal with PTSD sleep issues that come and go. (a. 5.5mo, FC)

Our son slept perfectly through the night for the first four months he was home. He slept a lot those first four months and we later learned that he used sleep as a form of avoidance. Once we began therapy to work on the avoidant attachment, our son stopped sleeping through the night and became anxious...wanting me to hold him and rock him while he slept. Not long after that he began to wake several times a night and experience night and nap terrors. We began co-sleeping at night--which helped over time--but he woke up from his nap screaming, crying and inconsolable for months. (a. 6mo, FC)

Sits up abruptly in the middle of the night, sometimes fully awake, other times fully asleep. Will ask in a panic, “Where’s Daddy?”if Daddy has not yet come to bed. (a.5.5mo, FC)

Out of all the symptoms of attachment disorders and PTSD, the one that we have had the most difficulty with is my son’s problems with sleep. He did not have major problems in this area until we began attachment parenting and our attachment work. I believe the problem lay dormant because our love was not a threat to him until we consciously were more affectionate with him than he was comfortable with. Until then, when my son resisted our love and affection, we backed off, but it was our love and affection he desperately needed! My son did not have night terrors, but had TREMENDOUS difficulty falling asleep at night. On average, it took 1.5 hours for him to fall asleep. We tried everything we could to help him fall asleep. We tried to limit his nap, cut out his nap, get him to do more exercise, sprayed lavender mist on his pillows, laid with him, left him alone, sat in the same room but did our own thing, turned on a night light, off a night light, melatonin (consulting our pediatrician), Chinese herbal medicine, etc. Of course we did not try something new every night. We tried one thing at a time for several nights to see if it had any effect on him. Our son would just toss and turn for hours and hours. Many nights he would chat away and sing and toss and turn for two hours! At the time, we did not think he was anxious about sleep because he did not act in a typical way an anxious person would behave, but in hindsight he was. I cannot pinpoint exactly what helped him with his sleep problems, but I would have to say it was a combination of attachment work, attachment parenting, and the Chinese herbal medicine. He still has difficulty falling asleep, but he is no longer anxious and fearful. On a good night, he may take 20 minutes to fall asleep and on average it still takes him 40 minutes to fall asleep, but it’s 40 minutes of cuddling with my son! (a. 4.5mo, FC)

From his first night in our home our son had trouble sleeping. When I say trouble I mean that he was up 5-7 times per night for the first year he was home. We tried everything from co-sleeping to white noise but nothing worked. At the same time he was diagnosed with eczema. I used to think that he was up all night because his eczema was bothering him but as I have learned about attachment and gotten the help that he needed I have realized that what we were really facing was attachment problems that surfaced at night. His fears of abandonment were literally keeping him awake as he tested us to see if we would be there for him. Now that we have worked with a therapist we rarely have sleep problems anymore even though he still has eczema.

When we received our son he almost immediately fell asleep. When he woke up, we were something totally different and unexpected. I sometiems wonder if that incident wasn't constantly replayed in his mind. It was like he could never relax enough to sleep well because if he did he was afraid that major things in his life would change again. (a. 6mo, FC)

About 4 yrs of age our daughter began to have sleep problems. We just could not get her to sleep. She'd have night terrors. We finally had to bring her into our room at night and she'd sleep on the floor near our bed. Sometimes she'd be crying out in her sleep. She would fall asleep with her eyes wide open. Very eery. When she was 8 she was finally able to not have to sleep in our room and she stopped sleeping with her eyes open. Before, she'd always fall asleep when she got in the car because she wasn't sleeping at night. She doesn't do that now. To this day, at 10 yrs of age, she doesn't do well if she's away from me and if I have to go somewhere overnight, I usually take her with. (a. 7mo, OR)
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