Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep (or lack thereof)

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever stop writing about sleep. To be fair I haven't blogged about it for a while, but don't be fooled - that does not mean it has all been perfect here!

Some background

For a while it was actually not bad - looking back with the retrospect-o-scope it was pretty amazing! - Doof would go to sleep at bedtime straight away without any fuss, settling himself, no dramas. He would wake once or twice in the night (normally around 11pm and 2am) for a drink of water but would then resettle straight away and sleep til around 6-6.30am.

More recently

About a month ago D started to get separation anxiety at bedtime and cried if we left his room before he was asleep. As long as we sit in his room and he knows we are there he will go to sleep by himself (so we don't have to stroke him or touch him etc) he just wants to know that we are there. And at the same time he started waking earlier and earlier and now is awake and shouting/crying to get out of bed by 5.15/5.30 in the morning. Completely wide awake.

We have tried:
- leaving him to cry
- giving him a drink
- trying to resettle him
- sleeping in the room with him
- putting toys/books in his cot
But none of it has worked. He is 100% determined he wants to get up and wants to get up NOW.


So Doofling is due in a few weeks and the last month of 5am starts are taking their toll. I am tired and even worse, Doof has started to be so exhausted by 6pm that he has periods of being inconsolable after getting back from nursery. He is such a happy boy usually this is really sad to see and I am sure it is due to his stupidly early starts and generally being knackered. So what to do?

Today Doof's daddy went out and bought this:

Basically it is a clock which you program to be "asleep" at certain times and "awake" at others (it does do other stuff but we are keeping it simple to start with!). The large screen has a rabbit which is lit up to be either sleeping in bed or awake and running through a field. Although this clock is not the cheapest one around (sadly about twice the price :( of a groclock) I chose this one as Doof is still pretty young to "get" the concept of a clock telling him to stay in bed, but he does understand about people sleeping if their eyes are closed (he will point out pictures in books and say ssshhhhh and make a fake snoring noise!). So I'm hoping this one might work better than one which just changes colour as we can show him that the rabbit is still sleeping when it is too early to get up.

So tonight is night one...

The clock is set for 6am (I know this is still early but that would be a veritable lie-in for us!).

It is on display in his room where he can see it if he stands up in his cot.

I did quite a bit of prep work before bed tonight - showing him the rabbit was sleeping and saying that it was time for him to be sleeping as rabbit was sleeping etc.

So we shall see...

BUT (and here I need your help) - I am very aware that this will be a long process and am under NO illusions at all that Doof will wake up tomorrow and instantly resettle himself when he sees the rabbit still sleeping. But what do you all think, when he wakes up at 5.515 tomorrow and wants to get out of his cot should we:
a) be firm that it is time for sleeping still until 6am and even if he cries for 45 minnutes keep telling him it is time for sleeping (boo, don't like this option much)
b) put some toys/books in his cot and let him play but insist he stays in his cot and doesn't get "up" and out of bed until the rabbit is awake (I prefer this one - but not sure if it will be more or less effective than (a) in the long run)

So I need to decide plan of action by 5am so pleeeeease comment below and say what you think. Or offer any other useful tips/tricks/anything that might possibly help!

Thank you!!!


  1. I've heard these are really good. Although I haven't tried it, a few of my friends have and they've had great success. It does take a while but they all said they followed a gradual process. Setting the clock for 15mins later than their usual wake up time and if they wake before it then you say 'look rabbit is still sleeping' and leave them, if they don't settle it's only a short spell until the clock is going to change. Then after a few days add on another 15mins and so on.
    Good luck!

  2. oh thank you that is such a good point and something I hadn't even thought of! Aiming for 6 straight away was probably (definitely!) a bit over-optimistic!! Will sneak into his room later and change it to 5.30 and then gradually increase from there :) thanks so much for commenting x

  3. This sounds like our youngest at the moment who is going to bed around 6 on childcare days. Some days he wakes at 3 but most recently it's been 5 too - We give him a bottle of milk and leave him to it hoping he will settle. Sometimes he does other times not - hope he settles again soon x

  4. Ah interesting what you say about the milk. I wondered about giving him milk as sometimes I think he is hungry. But then I worried it would just encourage him to wake earlier and earlier wanting food... have you not found that a problem? Might try that if the rabbit doesn't work! x