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Since my daughter has been 10 months old she has not slept through the night. She is now two years old. She used to sleep very well, where she would go to sleep at 8pm and then wake up at 8am. However, for some reason at 10 months, she would wake up at around 2am and then not go back to sleep till 3-6am. It varies every night. She starts off in her own bed, and then she walks to my room, gets in to the bed and then tosses and turns for hours. She will start talking and shouting randomly and then make hand gestures as if she is eating. I feel she wants to go back to sleep but she cant. We have tried to put her back to sleep in her own bed, but because she shares the room with her brother, we are afraid she disturbs him, with the talking and shouting. We have tried cutting out her day nap, giving her milk in the night , changing diapers but nothing makes a difference. Sometimes out of the blue she will sleep through the night, but i cannot see any difference in the way we have put her to sleep or anything different in her daytime routine. I am so exhausted as i have a 5 year old and a 11 month old. I just don't know how to tackle this problem.

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Is she perhaps overtired? If you post a complete schedule someone familiar with toddler napping and sleep may be able to provide feedback. –  justkt Sep 21 '12 at 23:37
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3 Answers

this is pretty common. One probable cause is that she knows that if she comes thought to you she will be allowed to stay- so you will need to make it plain that she has to stay in her own bed.

There are different ways to do this - but all will take patience and persistence, as you have to let her know that even if she comes to your room she will be taken straight back (ideally in silence, and without a cuddle, so she doesn't associate reward with the visit) - it is conditioning: children can soon learn that when a particular activity doesn't gain any reward they might as well give up.

Also see How do you stop a toddler from trying to get into bed with her parents in the middle of the night?

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I can't imagine you are getting much sleep with her tossing and turning in your bed. I would probably start by getting her a sleeping bag, and leaving it at the foot of your bed. Let her know that in the future, if she can't sleep and wishes to come sleep in your room she is to use her sleeping bag and sleep at the foot of the bed instead of getting into bed with you. Move her out of bed and into the sleeping bag, or return her to her own bed as needed until she "gets" the new rule.

Secondly, I would discuss with her pediatrician whether her behavior is indicative of sleepwalking or not, because solutions for sleepwalking may look quite different than solutions for someone who gets lonely in the middle of the night, or has trouble re-settling herself if she wakes up.

And I would also mention that some parents swear by melatonin to help their children sleep restfully who otherwise have tons of trouble falling asleep quickly and staying asleep. Obviously, you would want to rule out sleepwalking as a cause first and discuss appropriate dosage with her pediatrician before trying this.

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+1 for putting up sleepwalking as an explanation, and I like the sleeping bag idea. As you say, always always discuss medication with the pediatrician first. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Sep 20 '12 at 20:36
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I think you know what you need to do, you need to stop her getting into bed with you, but you are worried about disturbing the sleep of your son. If she had her own room you'd have dealt with that problem already. Unfortunately you are just going to have to deal with her sleeping in the same bed with you even if it disturbs your son. Put a stair gate up and let her cry it out. Ways that might make it easier:

  • Get her tired out every night. The more tired she is the less likely she is to wake up
  • Eliminate noise and light, although that's unlikely to be a problem at 2am it's still worth looking at what might be waking her
  • Put water next to her bed, it's a small thing but you never know how what little things make a difference
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