Monday, October 25, 2010

Sleep, Glorious Sleep.

In the last two weeks Vaughn has been struck by some pretty serious sleep anxiety coupled with insomnia. Some nights he cannot fall asleep for hours and some nights we are able to get him to sleep within a reasonable amount of time. Regardless of the amount of sleep he is getting, the anxiety he feels is huge and even when he is on a good run with falling asleep he seems to be very stressed out about bedtime and not getting enough sleep. That is exactly what it is - no fear of the dark, monsters or wanting to stay up late, just a very real fear of not getting enough sleep.
And the crazy thing is that he reports he is not ever tired during the day.

Jacob and I have pulled out all the stops, including:
  • A brand new queen-sized bed
  • A special cd from a fancy schmancy sleep institute (that he selected after an evening of previewing them on-line)
  • Multiple kinds of tea
  • Melatonin and some homeopathic remedy recommended by a guy working at Whole Foods (which, in our sleep-deprived state, set off Argument #4 between Jacob and I on what we were going to try)
  • Regular warm baths in the evening
  • A heated up rice bag
  • An earlier bedtime and extended reading periods
  • Lots of back scratching, deep breathing and even some guided meditations
  • And yes, I'm kind of embarrassed to say we even played around with a little Benadryl in the hopes that if he could just "get over the hump" and show him that he COULD fall asleep it would break this psychological lock on him (my guilt here was only compounded by the fact that the box specifically says "Do Not Use to Induce Drowsiness In Your Child").
Vaughn has never been a good sleeper but this goes above and beyond even for him. As I've been telling people, "If this is an act, he hasn't broken character in two weeks." He cuts off all activities at precisely 8:00 after an evening countdown of obsessive clock watching. He used to love staying up late and drawing in bed and now that idea seems so counter-interactive to him that no amount of reassuring can convince him this would possibly be a good idea- even on the weekends.

Today we took him to the doctor to rule out any physical issues but to also score a counseling referral. It is a very bizarre thing to be talking to someone at Mental Health Services about your eight year old. The woman doing the referral had to spend some time looking to find someone who saw patients that young. Hopefully, we can get to the bottom of this anxiety and what is driving it. If he can't get anywhere with a counselor, we do have a psychiatric appointment in late December but for now we're just going to continue to take it one night at a time.

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