Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care….

Shakespeare’s Macbeth quoted here, pulled from my mind. My mind, which seems clogged and sluggish, like a car engine trying to start in below-zero weather, or molasses being poured from its bottle, right out of the refrigerator. My sluggish, sleepy mind.

Eldest has not been sleeping this week. It started Friday of last week, an inability to fall asleep compounded by his young mind running rampant over all sorts of rocky terrain. Stumbling, falling, running again. He’s always had this tendency, I remember one conversation with him at the tender age of four where he described his inability to fall asleep as an inability to turn off his mind. His mind, racing like a toy car that winds when you pull it backwards…held over the floor with the wheels disengaged. Running, running.

What to do? We’ve had bouts with insomnia at various points, usually points of intense growth–physical or mental. They came and went, and it’s been years since we’ve had to deal with a sleepless child. But this time, it’s been nearly a week and he hasn’t fallen asleep before midnight despite going to bed at 8:30 or 9:00. The longer it goes on, the more anxious he feels about falling asleep, and the harder it is then to relax and let sleep take over. We have tried prayer, we have tried Valerian Root tea (smells like sweat socks), he has come close to memorizing the entire 23ed Psalm in his hours lying awake. We’ve tried allowing him to read until he can fall asleep, we have tried the company of various pets, we’ve tried leaving the light on in the hall (which results in the dog and cat playing all night long, and the whole house can’t sleep for their antics).

I am suddenly thrown back into my own battle with insomnia…the Mother insomnia that is so familiar from younger days. You put them to bed, not knowing at what hour you’ll be back up with them again. You sleep with your ears open, half asleep and half awake. You battle worries of your own…what if this goes on longer? Would using Benedryl to help him fall asleep teach him to medicate his difficulties rather than deal with them on his own? Would herbal remedies be any better? Could this be a problem with vitamin deficiency, as the medication he was on for his GERD depletes 3 of the minerals that are supposed to help with sleep?

I don’t know. It’s that simple…I don’t know.

I guess we just wait it out, there seems to be nothing physically wrong and there is no new stress or problem in his life that could be pinpointed as the cause. It seems that the problem lies mostly in the frustration and anxiety that he might not be able to fall asleep, which of course becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. He seems fine all day long, and we haven’t seen signs of sleep deprivation at this point. But I am starting to dread bedtime.

Oh, how I wish I could fix this. I know this, too, shall pass….but in the meantime I’m praying for strength for the journey. Strength, and good rest.

6 thoughts on “Sleepless

  • March 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Oh, I’m sorry to hear that Isaiah is having trouble sleeping! I’ll be praying for restful sleep for all of you.

  • March 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    i pray for relief and peace and good sleep for you all.

    i wonder if he, like my husband, may benefit from physical exertion in a sport or in something like bike riding or ice skating.

    he can not sleep well if he lacks a day of stretch and exercise.

    for me, sometimes i just need to be held while i lay in bed.

    i remember times when i would have to rub my daughter’s back for an hour before she would relax for sleep. at 12 years now, she often stays up very late, reading, to help her get to sleep.

    how can we help but wonder about our children

    though when i get upset about it, it seems to make things worse, but i can not help the worry sometimes.
    mainly because i do not know what to do or if i should be doing something.

    i pray that God leads you to know what is best for your son and for your self.

  • March 20, 2009 at 6:58 am

    My son has trouble getting to sleep as well. I think he is just a worrier… thinks too much… and usually out loud. lol.

    He likes sleepytime tea by Celestial Seasonings. I’m not sure it actually works but he THINKS it does. He is only five though.

    I have also hear good things about melatonin but have never tried it.

    I’ll pray that he (and you) find better sleep soon.

  • March 20, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks, guys, for your helpful comments! We walked five miles yesterday, took some melatonin, and had a cup of sleepytime (which we’ve been drinking like water…good stuff!). I’m not sure what time he fell asleep last night, but I didn’t hear anything after 10:30 or so! Which meant that I, at least, got a decent night’s sleep. I’ll see how he’s doing when he gets up this morning.

    Thanks for your support and your help!

  • March 22, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Maybe this will provide a little encouragement – we’ve dealt with this recently with our oldest daughter. She said her head felt like it was spinning. ?? We’ve had maybe two or so of these episodes, where it lasted night after night. However, both times it lasted less than a week and a half. It really worried me, especially the head spinning thing. Then it just resolved itself, I guess. Because of her personality, I felt the best approach was to not make an issue of it. She was starting to dread bedtime and working up anxiety about not sleeping. She likes drama, so we were firm (while sympathetic) and told her to calm down, and stop worrying about sleeping, AND STOP watching the clock!!… Maybe your son is watching the clock too? If so, it might help to turn it around or get rid of it for a while. Don’t know whether it was the right approach, but the trouble didn’t last long. By the way – my hubby has the whole mind racing/unable to turn off thing too; and has a terrible time with insomnia. I hope it all clears up for you soon!

    I’m pretty new to your blog, and have really enjoyed reading it. Love the guinea pig/fancy rat story!

  • March 24, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Tami…thank you so much for your encouragement! I was laughing as I read, because I had just gone upstairs to check on Isaiah and found that he had thrown a pillow over his alarm clock! Apparently, that *was* an issue LOL.

    My hubby had a horrible time with it too, especially when he was younger. He forced himself to learn to go to sleep nearly instantly…and still sleeps with a pillow over his head. There must be some kind of genetic link? It was so helpful to read your story, thank you and thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to post a comment!


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