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Toddler won't sleep through the night

 
Mother Tree
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Does anyone have any suggestions for a sleep deprived couple with a toddler who just doesn't want to sleep through the night? 

I think it's a behaviour thing rather than a diet thing, but they just can't seem to persuade him that nights are for sleeping and staying asleep.  I have the same problem with the old man, and I give him a shot of alcohol at bedtime, which works well but it's not something you could do for a young kid.  And if my own sleep pattern gets too disturbed I take valerian, which soon gets me back on track, but I'm not sure it's appropriate for a toddler, even assuming it was possible to get it down him. 

Does anyone have any suggestions?  Is there something herbal which would help him sleep through the night?  Or is it the wrong approach?  Should they just let him 'scream it out'?  Or is there a better way? 

Any advice or suggestions gratefully received as they are getting desperate! 
 
gardener
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There is chewable melatonin that tastes like peppermint.  The brand is Nutrition Now, I get it in the health food island at Fred Meyers.  It relaxes and clams, it is not a drug.  I had friends give it to their hyper son just to take the edge off. 

Also running the child during the day, and giving him a warm bath just before bed to settle down for the evening.

But none of this will work if the parents are busy, the house is noisy, lights are on - all things signaling that the fun stuff is still going on.  No one likes to be left out of what's going on.

When my kids were young I would shut off most of the lights, sometimes light a candle, give them their daily bath and then let them watch a movie - worked every time, they were out before the movie was over.  I was also sitting quietly reading or watching the show.  No noise or activity, everything (the house and me) signaled the day was over time for bed.
 
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I don't recommend things like melatonin for children (in fact I don't recommend that for anyone) because messing with hormones is not a good idea, it confuses the body's natural production of such things and can lead to health issues down the road. Better is to focus on how to stimulate the body's own natural rhythm and sleep cycles.
I just read something somewhere about how the blue light spectrum of tv, computer screen etc inhibits melatonin production by sending an early morning wake up signal to the brain so I second the idea of dim lighting at night. A warm bath is a great idea, in fact any sort of bedtime routine that is followed faithfully will help get a body into the mood for sleep. At first this might take a bit of time but consistency is the name of the game and it will pay off. 
Not eating or drinking late at night, making sure to get enough physical activity but to calm things down well in advance of bedtime switching over to relaxing activities. This is a great time to spend together doing some colouring or playing a board game.
There is a homeopathic remedy called Calms that I hear good things about.
One final thought, at this age children should not be exposed to any television at all. Studies have shown that it actually alters the development of neural pathways which can lead to a child not being able to focus or calm themselves (ADHD, hello). Zero screen time, even secondary (as in parents are watching it around a child). That takes quite a commitment, I know, but it is either that or not getting any sleep time at night.
 
pollinator
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According to the "Home Herbal" by Penelope Ody, Chamomile and California Poppy are both safe mild sedatives for children given as a tea.  Also of course to avoid feeding any sugar late in the day. (Of course I would say don't feed sugar to children at all!  )

 
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I am not an expert at all and this is second hand from a customer.

Her child could not sleep through the night, she had worms. The mother treated her and the worms went away and the child slept like a baby!
 
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Chamomile and/or catnip tea.  Both very safe and gentle for little ones.  And big ones too!  Just be careful, it's so effective sometimes I fall asleep mid-sip and end up coughing!  Oh and lemonbalm is nice if there is over-stimulation, anxiety or the child tends to get hot and sweaty.
 
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I am at lost for what to do. I have a 14 month old who WILL NOT go to bed let alone stay asleep. Yes he is teething but I give him meds for it n a warm milk bottle but he still wakes up at night crying and not wanting to go back to sleep. and when I put him to bed he scream cries so bad he turns purple and red and starts shaking. I don't know what to do and I don't know what to give him since he's so young. any help will be very grateful.
 
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alisha cornog wrote:I am at lost for what to do. I have a 14 month old who WILL NOT go to bed let alone stay asleep. Yes he is teething but I give him meds for it n a warm milk bottle but he still wakes up at night crying and not wanting to go back to sleep. and when I put him to bed he scream cries so bad he turns purple and red and starts shaking. I don't know what to do and I don't know what to give him since he's so young. any help will be very grateful.



Poor little guy. Have you tried co-sleeping? Letting him sleep in bed with you.
 
Elissa Teal
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Jami McBride wrote:There is chewable melatonin that tastes like peppermint.  The brand is Nutrition Now, I get it in the health food island at Fred Meyers.  It relaxes and clams, it is not a drug.  I had friends give it to their hyper son just to take the edge off. 

Also running the child during the day, and giving him a warm bath just before bed to settle down for the evening.

But none of this will work if the parents are busy, the house is noisy, lights are on - all things signaling that the fun stuff is still going on.  No one likes to be left out of what's going on.

When my kids were young I would shut off most of the lights, sometimes light a candle, give them their daily bath and then let them watch a movie - worked every time, they were out before the movie was over.  I was also sitting quietly reading or watching the show.  No noise or activity, everything (the house and me) signaled the day was over time for bed.



I'll second what Jami wrote (except for the melatonin -- because I don't know anything about it). Having a peaceful and dimly lit evening plus a relaxing bedtime routine are great ideas. We cherish our family's bedtime routine which includes reading stories in bed for about a half an hour. My boys are 8, 6, and 4 and they love listening to stories as they fall asleep. Bonds of love and attachment are created especially during this time.
 
pollinator
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My mother used to give me " gripe water" but later on discovered it contained a greater % of alcohol than whiskey . But it worked

David
 
pollinator
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It isn't natural for babies or toddlers to sleep through the night - it is an expectation that is entirely western and sets western parents up for failure (and makes them feel that they have to use methods like cry-it-out to make their babies comply with the norm). Most babies sleep better in their mothers arms, and most babies in the west are made to sleep alone.

Other than that - yes TV and computers disrupt your natural sleep rusted and inhibits natural production of melatonin. Turning it off at least one hour before bedtime might help. Many children (and adults) lack magnesium in their diets and this is also leads to disrupted sleep (because muscle relaxation requires magnesium). My daughter had what looked like "night terrors" many many nights until I stated giving her bone broth and Epsom salt baths (not every night but a few nights per week).
 
alisha cornog
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@ Elissa...I tried co_sleeping and it doesn't work. He tries to fall of the bed and I even put tons of pillows and blankets to soften the blow and he moves around like crazy and still wakes up at night. I cant give him melatonin because he's to young. im lost for words on what to do to help him sleep at night. I feel so bad that he cant fall and stay asleep.
 
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Paul will be happy to note that once again, the villain may be those damn CFL bulbs. Their attempt to mimic sunlight causes the brain to think it's the middle of the day as bedtime approaches. Old fashioned incandescents throw more light in the red and infrared zone. Sunsets and campfires have more light at that end of the spectrum. Seratonin levels may be at the root of this.

This probably has more to do with getting to sleep than with staying asleep, but either way, let's ditch those bulbs. They're killing the kids !!!
 
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I feel their pain. Like someone above mentioned I wouldn't recommend the supplement route because regardless of how natural or un-narcotic they seem, any supplementation can alter the way their body works.

I don't know the exact situation but what helped me was blue light glasses. There are some available for like $10 on Amazon and they are orange. What they do is eliminate all of the blue light that the wearer is absorbing. I would also recommend switching to incandescent light bulbs in the house and giving the toddler the glasses to wear for a couple hours before bed. What this does is enable the body to start producing melatonin earlier than normal. They make new drowsy about an hour after I put them on.

Also, reducing their exposure to blue light in general a couple hours before bed does wonder. Light from TV, tablets, led bulbs etc. I would also recommend buying a Himalayan salt lamp and placing that close to their bed. When the salt heats up it changes the structure of the air, acts as a filter for EMF, and also produces a large amount of near infrared light which has been shown to calm and soothe. Just make sure the lamp doesn't use a led bulb and actually heats up.

Also, if you really do think you need something herbal to help. I would get some organic lavender and put a bit in the bath with the child before bed. There's significant studies showing that just smelling lavender helps encourage sleep.

We only do this on really bad nights, but it seems to help, and much less is actually being absorbed by the body than if they were to drink a tea made with it.

Idk if you could get a toddler to wear a pair of glasses for an hour but who knows, maybe the toddler will think they're cool and want to wear them!

 
pollinator
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I think it depends on the cause. My son has autism, and he never slept good as a baby, toddler, and even up to until half year ago until we started taking melatonin, and good amount of it (he is almost 17 now). It turns out people with autism and attention deficit disorder do not make enough melatonin. I wish I would have known it, when he was a baby. Melatonin is very safe, and studies with animals, that wanted to see, what is the toxic dose, found that animals taking large doses lived longer instead of getting poisoned. That said, people when they reach puberty naturally reduce melatonin for a while to allow maturation to happen. Also very large doses such as 75mg or more a day is used as contraceptive, so if one wants to have children, do not use a lot. Melatonin is also veryprotective against radiation, so it is great to take before and after xrays, and now daily because of WIFI and cell signal radiation.
 For me personally, I find, that I get best results for sleep, if I take both - melatonin and some sleep herb in tincture, powder, or tea form -passion flower, kava kava, valerian, triphala combo (that has haritaki -sleep herb). For my son melatonin doesn't kick in until at least an hour, but stays in his body until morning. For me it kicks in almost immediately, but doesn't stay long. So I have it near the bed, and if I wake up, I take a bit more. I use pure powder without fillers. study  showed, that people metabolize it very differently to the point, that it can be 300 percent difference, which means some people need much more to get the same effect.
 
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