Sleep, a Four Letter Word

It seems that my son is allergic to sleep.

I’m puzzled as to where he developed such an allergy, as both his father and I are champion sleepers. I mean, if there is one thing I do well, it’s sleep. Oh, and wear sweatpants. (I’m REALLY good at wearing sweatpants. Just ask the Ex.) I should clarify, though – he is only allergic to sleeping at night. Come morning, he absolutely loves it, to the point of having to be dragged out of bed.

There are two big problems with this situation. First – I have this thing called a J-O-B. And while I’d LOVE to be able to waltz in at 10 am every morning, I suspect my boss is getting sick of my arriving just before lunch, cranky and flustered. Second – I am no expert, but I don’t think allowing my 4 year old to stay up until midnight every day is going to win me any parenting awards. Other parents literally gasp when I tell them what time G falls asleep (which, by the way, is not reassuring in the least. Aren’t parents supposed to comfort each other by sharing some story more horrific than the one you just told? Isn’t there a rule about this in the handbook? Just tell me your preschooler goes to bed at 2 am. For god’s sake, lie to me.)

I have tried many, many things to encourage G to fall asleep at a normal hour. They include:

  1. Establishing a bedtime routine.
  2. Forbidding his school from letting him take naps longer than 1 hour during the day.
  3. Removing the iPhone and its associated games from his bed. (Me: “So, the birds flew south for the winter. Also, they’re not that angry anymore – now they’re just slightly displeased.” G: “You’re NOT funny.” Commence pillows flying at my head.)
  4. Not allowing him to get out of bed for any reason – and closing his door when he does so.
  5. Threatening.
  6. Bribing.
  7. Begging.

The worst part is, this is all a vicious cycle. The less he sleeps, the more overtired he is by “bedtime” (really, a misnomer at this point…) and the longer it takes for him to fall asleep. Then, when he finally does fall asleep, he crashes HARD and it becomes next to impossible to wake him at a normal hour the next morning.

If anyone out there has any tips, please share. I’ve read all the generic advice in parenting articles on the topic, and none of it has helped. Ideas? What worked with your kids?

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