Our bedtime experiment

Arora has always had a difficult time with sleep. Not just falling asleep but staying asleep too. She does not sleep through the night. When she was a baby she would wake to nurse often.  I hoped that when she stopped nursing at 16 months she would sleep through the night. She didn’t. She did have a few months that she slept better, only waking to go potty and then would go right back to sleep. Then we moved, and her sleep became the worse it has ever been. It has taken hours to get her to sleep, only to have her wake a few hours later with night terrors.

If you have never experienced night terrors, it is well terrifying. Arora will be sobbing, her eyes open and looking all around but not seeing you. Not really awake. She thrashes around so hard it is difficult to hold her. Some times she will be talking but not able to tell us what is wrong. It is heart wrenching, in those moments I feel so helpless. I only want to comfort my child and let her know she is safe. Nothing we do will calm her, she must calm herself. Sometimes this happens multiple times a night. Sometimes it will be weeks between occurrences. Her Doctor says it is normal and it should pass with age.

A bit over a week ago we decided to go to the Clackamas County Fair. David gets off work around 4:30 so by 5 we were in the car headed out to a night of fair food, booths and animal fun. That is until we had been in the car for 10 minutes and Arora was sound asleep. We went home and put her to bed, she slept all night, yup about 14 hours. She did this 3 days in a row. So here come the experiment: change Arora’s bedtime from around 8 to 6:30. Here is how the week went:

Monday: Went to bed at 6:30, was asleep with in about 5 minutes. Slept great for about 3 hours then was “up” with a night terror. This woke her up completely and she was up from about 10- 12am.

Tuesday: Woke up around 7am, which is normal for her. Then took an unauthorized nap in the car for about 30 minutes around 2. Tried to put her to bed around 6:30 took til around 8 for her to fall asleep.

Wednesday: Woke early again, no nap and went to bed great around 6:30. Slept all night.

Thursday: Up early, no nap, bed time around 7, took around an hour for her to fall asleep.

Friday: I can’t remember what happen, but David says she went down early and nice.

Saturday: Up early about 6,  we took a family trip to the zoo which resulted in a 2 hour nap. Then didn’t fall asleep until around 9:30.

Sunday: Up about 6am, then fell asleep in the car, slept for around 30 minutes in church. Was very tired and tried to put her to bed around 6:30, fell asleep around 7:45.

I can’t decide if putting her to bed early is helping, making it harder or not even effecting anything. What time do your kids go to bed? How do you deal with difficult bedtimes?