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Mar 20 2012

Good night, sleep tight, to heck with the bedbugs

I stopped reading parenting magazines years ago, when I realized that my son and my life would never be in them. Instead I have a gazillion and one other subscriptions, courtesy of airline miles that will never add up to a ticket.

This week’s Time Magazine had a quick article on kids and sleep (sadly, must have a subscription to read it online). And again, I am reminded that my son and my life are outliers and will never be seen in a mass-market publication. The article states that elementary-school aged kids should get 10-11 hours a sleep a night. I am going to out on a limb and suggest that this is an average, and the creatures in my house live on the far left of that particular bell curve.

It’s a rare night when the boys get 10-11 hours of sleep. It’s now 10 pm and I know they’re still awake up there. Maybe finally getting drowsy, but there is no sleep up in that room, I guarandamntee it. J has to be dynamited out of bed at 7, A at 7:45 (it’s just best if he stays there until J is out the door). Do the math.

I heard last week about a startling!new!study! that indicated that kids who sleep poorly show ADHD behaviors due to sleep apnea. This is not news folks! I heard the exact same story five or six years ago, which was the catalyst for getting A checked for sleep apnea. And lo and behold! Sleep apnea aplenty in that kid! Tonsils/adenoids/ear tubes all done at the same time, August of 2006. Cured the sleep apnea, did squat for the ADHD behaviors. He went on meds three months later.

Gifted kids just don’t sleep. They don’t! Their minds just can’t slow down long enough to pass out. I know the feeling, happens to me every so often. Nowadays I’m so tired I have little trouble falling asleep…until I can’t. They don’t seem any worse for wear with less sleep; I’m the one who suffers. A little kid-free grownup time would just be awesome.

Anyone else see this with their kids? God help me, it’s only going to get more screwed up as the teen years approach.

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  1. Mindy

    Yes Yes Yes! Check out this article I just read today, one of the things in it is about the fact that highly intelligent people are almost always night owls. http://www.cracked.com/article_19174_5-unexpected-downsides-high-intelligence.html. Our crazy kids are always up until at least 10 even though they actually get in bed at 8:30pm. Once in a while we have to give Crazy Kid #1 melatonin to make her brain shut off so she can stop telling us about all of the random tangential information swimming around in her head and actually get some sleep. So so true.

    1. Jen

      We’ve tried melatonin with A and it doesn’t go much. 🙁 I have, however, had two different doctors tell us to give him Benadryl to help him sleep. We do, from time to time. It’s less of an issue now that he’s homeschooling, but sometimes when his sleep gets really janked up we’ll dose him.

  2. Kate

    Oh yes, sleep is a major deal here. I have two of the “gifted kids who don’t sleep” variety and two of the “gifted kids who need more sleep than Rip Van Winkle” variety.
    Fun times.

    1. Siggi

      Yeah, I think the big defining things about GT kids and sleep is that they will do it differently than more neurotypical kids. We include two night owls, two early birds, and one who goes like an energizer bunny until she eventually runs down, then she is OUT for a dozen hours, but it is anyone’s guess when they will start or stop!

      1. Jen

        It’s only going to get more fun as the teen years hit. Oy.

    2. Jen

      Good Lord.

  3. Re

    Well shoot. My DD never napped I mean at all once she realized her eyes could see and fingers could explore. She is the darn energizer bunny too. The kid goes well into the wee hours. She so prefers to stay up till 2-3am and sleep till 10am. So not only dracula, but sleeps little too. She’s 7 and mornings are a disaster because of this.
    Mommy is not much better as I got to sleep around 3am and up by 8am. Funny thing is I get so much more work done after midnight for 3 or so hours than I get done all day!

    My oldest @15 is dealing with “insomnia” not to well thanks to his desire to try regular high school instead of homeschooling (Not going so well without Executive Function skills and all the other LD gifts he has. Be lucky if 1 homework is turn in on time or not lost) Me? Never understood it and for DD, I just thought she was in her own time zone from birth. Funny, hubby can’t keep his eyes open past 11pm. He thinks we’re freaks and I corrupted the kids. HA!

    1. Jen

      If my husband sits on the couch after 7:30 he’s asleep. He has to get up so early for work that his body just crashes. Fun times ’round these parts!
      And A didn’t sleep as an infant. When J was born three years later I was a nervous wreck, convinced I’d have another baby who wouldn’t sleep for love or money. To my great relief, he slept five hour stretches at five days old. Hallelujah!

  4. Suzan

    Thank you so much for posting this Jen because I have been grappling with this very issue this week. My little sweetie is up past midnight most nights and he has to be up at 6:30! then he is exhausted and I am sure he isn’t learning because who could learn when they are so tired???? Of course, he’s a teen which contributes big time to the whole sleep thing….

    Anyhoodle, thanks for this because, maybe I can relax and sleep rather than worry …at least tonight!

    1. Jen

      Teen sleep schedules are whackadoodle. I used to be able to stay up til 11:30 and up at 5:45, no problem. If I did that now I’d walk into walls all day.
      And anyhoodle is now my favorite word. 🙂

  5. Robin from Israel

    My kids are rarely asleep before 10, often a bit after, and get up at 7. My saving grace is that they both like to read before bed, so at about 9:30 we start shuffling them off to bed to read until 10. They’re not sleeping, but it’s quiet. The downside is we occasionally forget they’re reading and forget to turn their lights off and tell them to go to bed. Oops…

    1. Jen

      We regularly forget to turn off their lights and tell them to go to bed. Sure doesn’t help the whole GET SOME SLEEP ALREADY issue. LOL

  6. Allie

    Ohhhh yes. Do we ever! My oldest (now 4- the one who also has CAPD) has never needed sleep…just doesn’t need it! She stopped naps at 2.5 and we have to dose her with Melatonin every night to get a good 9-10 hours out of her. Otherwise, she will only sleep about 6. My youngest was up at 2am last night and never would go back to sleep. I gave him the iPad just so I could get a few more hours of rest. I know it’s bad.

    1. Jen

      Up at 2? Argh! No, iPad in exchange for more sleep is MORE than acceptable!

  7. cocobean

    I used to laugh in the pediatrician’s face when he’d tell me how much my baby should be sleeping through the day. It was so far from what we experienced (and I was so exhausted) that I wrote down every minute she slept for about 6 months – she generally slept 12 hours as a newborn/infant. stopped napping once she was mobile. And about 10 of those hours of sleep were at night.

    Now she’s a teen – the study comes out that teens need less sleep than originally thought – and she’s sleeping more (going to bed earlier and getting up earlier).

    More than anything, gifted kids love to be contrary!

    1. Jen

      “Should” is the demon word around these kids, isn’t it?

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