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4 Year Old Wakes At 2 And Can't Get Back To Sleep

by Carol
(Calgary, AB, Canada)

My 4 year old son has a pattern of waking up between 2 and 3 in the morning, and can't get back to sleep. Sometimes he calls out to us, other times he lays in bed awake by himself.

He isn't fussy or loud, and seems to be trying to go to sleep but can't. Even if we lay with him, he doesn't fall back to sleep. Sometimes he will go to sleep around 6 but the night is lost. He seems to go through phases where he sleeps fine for several weeks, but every couple of months the issue returns (truth be told, we don't know how often he is awake because we've taught him not to call out to us in the night and to put himself back to sleep.).

When he isn't sleeping, the impact on his behaviour is dramatic - epic meltdowns, toileting accidents, hitting and biting and full on tantrums.

I read about sleep apnea with interest, but haven't noticed him snoring. He does suck his thumb at night which could disturb his breathing.

I am going to start taking notes of when the sleep disturbances happen, and what he's eaten or been doing that day. I'm even thinking about setting up a camera to observe his sleep patterns. I'm also planning on taking him to his doctor to see if there is a specialist who could help.

Any insight you have for me would be greatly appreciated.

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