Thursday, March 26, 2009

I knew there was more to our sleep problems than just me forgetting bedtime!

I suppose the fact that I can forget bedtime might be a hint that something is wrong with our circadian rhythms. I suppose the fact that it is physically possible for an entire family to have an intensely wrong sleep schedule that absolutely resists all efforts to fix it, even ones suggested by doctors, might have clued me in that I'm not just dumb or lazy or foolish or a failure. I suppose the fact that it gets wrong again when we do manage to fix it might also be a hint. I suppose the fact that Caleb had severe insomnia, and Daniel has pretty extreme sleep problems still, at age 3, waking 4 or more times a night, might have been a hint that there is something medically WRONG with us.

I suppose it should have been more significant to me that one of the diagnostic criteria of fibromyalgia is sleep problems. But I wrote it off because that isn't likely the cause of all of our sleep issues.

And now, to my great relief, the researchers are producing helpful data. Turns out something like 50% of kids with ADD have sleep problems.

Read about it here:

Here's the quote that made me breathe a sigh of relief:
"These findings suggest the children with ADHD have a delay in their circadian rhythm, or "internal time clock" that keeps them from being on a regular sleep cycle, Gruber's team maintains."

Also: "treatment of sleep problems has been shown to improve behavior and decrease the need for stimulant medication in children with ADHD." This may be why, as we've found ways for Caleb to get more and better sleep, his behavior has improved noticeably.

This doesn't make it any easier to get to church on time. But it does give me fuel for discussing the problems with people--it is a medical problem that we have to adjust to, not simply a failing in my parenting skills.

What a relief. I feel as unburdened as I did when I discovered that I have fibromyalgia--and that's why I'm such a failure at keeping house. When you know you have a problem, it's much easier to deal with it than when you just think you're a failure.

I'm going to look up sleep anxiety now. It would be heavenly for me to have labels with which I could research and discuss Dan's sleep problems (I've actually been praying about his sleep problems all week...this article was an answer to my prayers.). Knowing they are real problems, and not his fault, helps me to be patient and also to help him.

More on how we've adapted our sleep situations to solve Caleb's problems later....

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