I’m probably playing with fire by even thinking about writing this post, but it’s been a week and we survived a weekend away so I think we can safely say that we are out of the woods. We are out of the woods and into the land of sleep! I am so happy about it I could dance in the street, seriously. I don’t like to use the word miracle but melatonin really has been that for us.
For those who are new here, when Mr 5 turned 2 he decided that sleep was for the weak and should be shunned at all and every opportunity. He started off with kicking his day sleep to the curb. I was reluctant about this at first but after noticing that he went to sleep earlier, I admitted defeat. Then he decided that all this sleeping at night lark was just too much to bear. He slowly pushed back his going to sleep time (which was vastly different to his actual bed time) until it couldn’t really be said that he was going to sleep at night time anymore.
We tried everything. We made the room dark, we made the room light. We took his toys out, we let him play until he finally admitted defeat. We let him stay up until we went to bed, we woke him up at set time every morning. We ran him ragged, until we could barely stand, we turned off all technology from 2 hours before bedtime. None of it worked, still he refused to give in to the land of the nod.
Our GP gave us a referral to a psychologist and a paediatrician. The psychologist picked up on some anxiety he had around his daycare at the time. We removed the source of stress and while it did make a difference to his behaviour, it didn’t make a difference to his sleeping troubles. It would be a long almost twelve months until we saw the paediatrician.
On Saturday the 13th of September, we were finally able to see a paediatrician. I will admit that I had a lot of anxiety about this appointment. I was worried that I was putting all of my eggs in one basket, that this appointment would result in more stress after the Dr told us there was nothing he could do and to suck it up. Thankfully that assumption (catastrophic thinking for the win!) couldn’t have been further from the truth.
The Dr was reassuring, friendly and actually got Mr 5 to talk to him, a feat that took his current daycare almost 4 months to achieve! He congratulated us on everything we had done up until that point, because we had a happy, healthy child. A child who, for whatever reason, just decided that he didn’t want to sleep. He told us that the only option left was medication, in particular Melatonin.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone, which is responsible for letting our bodies know that it is time for sleep. It is thought that some people are deficient in this hormone, and so a melatonin supplement is needed for them to get to sleep. It doesn’t help maintain sleep, but assists with the initial getting to sleep, something which Mr 5 struggled with. Once he is asleep, he is fine, in fact heaven help someone who tries to wake him before he is ready!
I was realistic about the melatonin. I didn’t think it was going to be a miracle drug, or anything of the kind. In fact to protect my already anxiety riddled brain I had already resigned myself to the melatonin not working. I could not have been more wrong. On the instruction of the paediatrician, we gave Mr 5 the melatonin an hour before his normal bed time. At 830pm we put him into his bed. At 845pm Paul sat in the lounge room staring at each in disbelief as we realised that Mr 5 was fast asleep in his bed.
Neither of us could believe how quickly and effectively the melatonin had worked. It felt surreal to be able to go about our normal Saturday night TV watching and not have to deal with a non sleeping Mr 5 coming out of his room at regular intervals. Through the week I was amazed at all of the things I could get done because I had more mental energy. I wasn’t falling behind in my blogging stuff like I normally did and writing a post actually only took me a short amount of time. I knew that the lack of sleep was having an impact on me, but I didn’t realise how much until the last week.
We had our first hiccup on Wednesday night, and I worried that we had gotten all of the usefulness out of the melatonin. Thankfully it appeared to just be a blip in the radar and he went back to the 830pm bedtime every night since. We really tested the melatonin over the weekend just gone and tried it in a strange environment. It passed the test with flying colours.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all. It feels so different to be watching TV and not have to field questions from Mr 5. I have Me time at night. I feel more human during the day. It might have only been just over a week since we started the melatonin but the change has been amazing.
Do you have a sleep dodger? Have you ever tried melatonin?
Linking up with Jess for IBOT!