Wednesday, October 24, 2007

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream (of Both Children on the Same Sleep Schedule)

Lately Genevieve's been waking up for the day at five each morning, and Julia's been sleeping till eight. This means that Genevieve takes her morning nap around seven, and is generally awake again when Julia wakes up just as Christopher is leaving for work. Then the rest of the morning becomes a torturous marathon of trying to keep tired, crabby Genevieve awake until afternoon naptime at one. (Ha! You could also substitute the word "Mama" for "Genevieve" in that sentence and it would still work!) But these circumstances also mean that Julia is not tired for nap at one.

I'll leave it unsaid just how much I do not like the current sleep timing. (I will clarify, however, that YES OF COURSE we have tried to alter one or both of these sleep patterns.)

People: One child waking up at five, and the other at eight? RIDICULOUS. AM PULLING MY HAIR OUT. CANNOT STAND IT.

That is all.


Grandpa Jim said...

I have a brilliant idea! Wake Julia up at 5 am! Then they will both be on the same schedule!

Christopher said...


Today, Vivi moved back almost a full hour, to a whopping 5:30. Maybe tomorrow she'll shift back another hour to 6:30.

Big Sis Heidi said...

If I were you (which of course I'm not, so.....), I think I would start putting G. to bed later, in 10-15 minute increments. It's clear she has reached the stage of only needing about 11 hrs. sleep at night. See if you can et to the point where they both go to bed at the same time, or even maybe J. goes to bed first and *then* you get G. settled, if G. sleeps shorter nights than J. Of course, you'd have to do this *gradually*. But I've *never* had a baby that went down for the night as early as *6:00pm* and it just does not surprise me at all that their nap schedules don't coincide. For what it's worth, *both* our boys (almost 3 and just 9, for those who don't know) go to bed about 8:30 (2-yr-old sometimes closer to 9), and both wake up between 6 & 7 a.m. (if we're lucky; sometimes the little buy is up earlier, lately, and of course the 3rd-grader would sleep till 10 if he could). Anyway....for what it's worth (probably not much, but so it goes....)

Shan said...

Actually, I know it's counterintuitive, but we have always found that our preferred pediatric sleep expert, Marc Weissbluth (author of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"), is spot-on that putting babies and young children to bed EARLIER is what really causes them to sleep later. It's true! I know it sounds crazy, but it's really true. (You'd have to read his book to understand all the neurology behind this phenomenon.) If we were to ask him how to solve our problem, no doubt his advice would be "put her to bed an hour earlier than usual for a week or so and she'll start sleeping later again."

Genevieve started this earlier awakening at a time when we had started to keep her up later so that I could get a run in and still have time to cook dinner and get everyone fed and bathed before bed. We were putting her to bed closer to 7, and.....voila!, just as Weissbluth would have predicted, Genevieve started waking up an hour earlier than usual. (It also began when the weather turned cold, and we believe she wakes up at 4:30-5:30 because she gets so cold in the guest room--it's freezing in there no matter what we do and she won't keep blankets on. We're working on that.)

Today Genevieve slept an hour later than she has been lately, and I'm pretty sure it's because we went back to super-early bedtime again. She went to bed at 6:15 last night, and slept until 5:30. I think if we can get her back to 6, she'll eventually go back to sleeping until 6 or so in the morning.

Truly, I realize it does not sound logical, but in our experience with both girls this theory is always correct. Any attempts to move Genevieve's bedtime to later than 6 p.m. have backfired! It's really hard to get her in bed by 6--it makes the supper hour a total race--but in the end it seems to be best for the whole family, sleep-wise. I guess I'll have to figure something else about in terms of when I can go for my runs!

Grandpa Jim said...

That "sleep expert" sounds like my doctor. His simple philosophy for my weight loss program is to prescribe so many meds that I have no money left for food. Thus weight loss is easy! I never in my 64 years of reading pediatric journals have heard of such a thing as putting them to bed earlier makes them sleep later! He must own stock in some bedding company. Besides that I dont think a kid needs that much sleep. They should be out and about excercising and learnng with maybe a nap during the day.

Shan said...

Hmmm, guess you missed reading all the pediatric neurology research on this topic. Since the early- bedtime-is-better theory has worked with our girls exactly as Weissbluth's research shows it should, and has for several of our friends with their children (and has been recommended by both our recent pediatricians and our ECFE instructor), I tend to put more stock in Dr. Weissbluth than I do in certain crochety old men I know. Please keep your uninformed opinions to yourself, or at least be respectful and non-judgmental of others' parenting styles if you feel compelled to express your differing opinions on this site. Thank you!

Anonymous said...


Jordan said...

It's true - Dr. Weissbluth is a genius. Worked for us, too. Kids cranky and waking up too early? Put 'em to bed earlier. It's pretty much worked every time! We swear by that guy.