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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Needing a good nights rest?

Are you sleep deprived? Or do you have a child that is? I have some interesting information for you. We recently started a sleep study on our littlest daughter. She awakes anywhere from one to three times on a good night and sometimes every hour on a bad night. Not only is it fascinating to be educated with these different speciality studies, I enjoy sharing what I've learned in hopes it helps others with their own challenges. Regardless what the challenge is, I'm 80% percent sure we've experienced it. Right now it's all about sleep. When we lack sleep, we become irritable, our whole day can shift without enough sleep. So here's what I've learned so far. When our children are not getting enough sleep, they may be grumpy... but children are more resilient then us adults, so ADHD like behaviors start regardless if the child is ADHD or not. Sleep deprivation can change people's personalities. I have heard some parents question why does some behaviors exist in their children, or why their behaviors change suddenly? - consider their night prior. If your child isn't getting enough sleep, their behaviors escalate. I know must of us know this already, it's the same as a young toddler needing a nap. Sleep is important. So how are we going to get enough sleep? The clinical sleep professor explained to me that in most cases sleeping disorders are personally developed, we have trained ourselves this way. At first I thought, "No no no" I explained to him that I journal to release my forever thinking mind so I can sleep. He proceeded to explain to me that watching my posture, the way I sat and on how I arched my feet suggested to him I was a high energy and a always thinking achiever. So how do you change a person who developed their own sleeping disorder such as "thinking" or in my case, "solving life's problems" all night long!? You do it during the day. Whatever works for you, either it's meditation, relaxation such as a massage, reading or journals - you attempt to consciously reverse your sleep deprivation through mind control. Learning to relax while awake could make a good nights rest. It makes sense to me. So how can you help your child? Same way, relaxation techniques, deep massage and a very boring story. (Kidding) Ok, so what if it's more complicated? Finding the cause, trying different medications at low dosages might be the savior. A vitamin that we all should be taking is iron. Believe it or not, we usually take iron because of an iron-deficiency which makes us fatigue. You would think suffering from fatigue would help us sleep, it doesn't. So keeping up our red blood cells is important for a good nights rest. Our bodies are amazingly complex, for our littlest daughter it's beyond complex. Determining why she awakes could be endless. The professor noticed and suggested that she has restless leg syndrome. Very common in many children. This is where your leg or limbs will twitch during a relaxed state. It can range from mild to severe. Do you ever awake from a body twitch? Our littlest daughter having spastic cerebral palsy (high muscle tone) very rarely is in a relaxed state accept for in her sleep. Ironically she fell asleep during our study. Not only did her feet twitch, she would jump which startled her. This has developed a theory onto why she might be getting up at night. Although for our daughter being so complex with possible multiple scenarios happening, the "restless leg syndrome" is just one observation. Next week we will have the results of her EEG, and eventually we will receive results from her genetic testing that could help or point us in the right direction. For now......what's really interesting is we're setting up a video study. Where all night long for two nights she will be video taped. The purpose is to count the night "twitches" and to determine when and why she awakes and the possible severity of the restless syndrome. This could conclude and answer our questions and direct us in the appropriate therapy interventions. (The therapy interventions could be as simple as stretching and/or deep massage) Very tonight I'm not going to bed trying to solve every one's life problems, nor am I going to sleep (ha ha) but at least I have a starting point within the grey area of solving sleep deprivation within our home. I hope sharing our experiences and education has given some insight for yourself and/or your children because getting a good nights rest is challenging for the most of us. And that ADHD like behavior could be solved with a simple nap.

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