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4 Year Old Daughter Awake For Hours Each Night

by Sarah Thomas
(London, UK)

My nearly four year old daughter has for as long as I can remember woken in the night.

As a baby/toddler it wasn't a problem to us as she was in her crib and when she woke would just chat to herself sometimes for up to two hours until she fell back asleep. She would then make up for this awake period by sleeping late in the morning. Now though she is in a bed and goes to pre-school five mornings a week. She's in bed around 7.30 each night and goes to sleep really well - story, hug and says good night before taking herself off to sleep.

However she wakes every night - sometimes before we've gone to bed (about 11pm) and other times not till about 4am. Generally though it's around the 2am mark. She comes into our room, into our bed but rather than falling back asleep she is then awake, noisily chatting, flailing her arms as though conducting an orchestra, kicking us in our back, sometimes getting agressive and angry, cheeky etc. Other times she lies there quietly trying to go back to sleep but unsuccessfully.

Pre-school have raised concerns about her development/behaviour and I've sought advice from a paedeatrician who after assessing my daughter said she had no concerns and didn't want to see her for another year. However when I mentioned the sleep issue to the dr - the best she could say was that my husband and I had to stand our ground and keep putting her back in her own bed. I however feel this is more than naughty behaviour and wanting to be in our bed. I really feel like she has some sort of insomnia.

But I am so so worried about her. Her tantrums are much much worse than those of her two year old brother - she seems so angry and upset all the time and, yes, tired. On the rare occasions she gets a good night sleep (perhaps once a month if we're lucky) she's a different child. I feel that my daughter's pre-school is trying to give her some sort of label and on more than one occasion they've hinted towards dyspraxia. But I do feel that remedying the sleep problem (if only someone would take it seriously) would help matters no end. When I went to my GP for advice she told me simply to be thankful that my daughter didn't have Leukemia or a serious illness but this is a big concern for me. I hate to see her so exhausted and to be so unpredictable in tempreament when I know just how bright and loving she's capable of being.

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