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My Four-Year-Old Son Sleeps Only An Hour At Night And Then Wakes Up Hysterical

by Connie

My son is four and cannot get more than an hour of good sleep per night. When he was an infant he never slept more thank 45 minutes at a time, which I thought was highly unusual.

During the day it was not such a big deal, but at night it was impossible. We were so sleep deprived that I started nursing him in bed with me, and we all finally got some sleep.

However, it became impossible for him to sleep unless he was right up against us. Naps never existed for him. The only daytime rest he got was a quick nap in the car if we were out. He was always so exhausted. But I just could not get him to nap unless I got in bed with him!

So here we are four years later, and he will not sleep in his own bed at night. He will start out there, but like clockwork, after an hour he wakes up grunting and shouting until we go into his room.

We try to pat him on the back or hold his hand until he falls asleep again, which sometimes works, but it's almost as if, after that first waking, he is on high alert even in his sleep. He senses if we walk out, and becomes more hysterical. We have had complete meltdowns at midnight.

If he does end up falling back asleep, it only buys us 10 or 20 minutes and he's up again, frantically grunting or shouting. We are at our wits' end.

He always ends up in our bed, but the sleep is never restful for any of us. He has a younger sister for whom we get up several times a night and he is always aware if one of us gets out of bed. He is really only getting good sleep from about 9-10 PM and then he's awakened many, many times at night.

His behavior and moods are severely impacted. Does he just need a good dose of "sleep training," or is something else going on here? Thanks!

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