Didja ever make something a totally too big huge deal only to find out that there was a really simple solution? Me too.Read Now
We have this sleep thing. It's called co-sleeping and we didn't mean for it to happen, and I can't quite say we're fighting it either.
Once upon a time, there was a nice balance. She slept in her bed most nights, usually crawled in with us around 3am and we didn't mind, and always took weekend naps with us.
I swore when she started giving me a hard time about her bed, we'd stop with the co-sleeping.
Well anyway, it turned into flat out insomnia. Lying awake for over an hour. Coming out of her room 25,000 times. Her being awake later than us. A flat out mess by any sleep standards.
I bought her a unicorn that quite literally has rainbow stars flying out of its ass.
Worked for exactly 1 night.
I bought her a little nightlight. A special blankie. Stuffed animals that only live in the big bed.
I started to panic. Go down the OMG-I-did-pass-on-my-horrible-insomnia-and-probably-depression-too-how-can-I-live-with-myself-shes-obviously-going-to-do-drugs-and-smoke-crack road.
You've never gone down that road? Please put somma that in a bottle and sell it.
Then I noticed the insomnia was leaking into our bed too.
The haze of panic overwhelmed me. I imagined I'd be telling her years from now, "I'm so sorry I gave you my insomnia. You've had it since I can remember".
So I decided to change some things around. I'm a behavior analyst by trade, after all. I should be able to troubleshoot some sleep training.
The solution was in front of my face. Once I cleared the haze of panic and started to look at some simple, behavioral solutions, I realized: The CD had become associated with wakefulness.
Every night we play the same lullabye CD. Even in our bed, we play it on the monitor. It used to be part of the "routine" that was associated with sleeping. Over time, as she lay awake longer and longer, it came to be associated with awake.
We shut it off. That night, she went to sleep right away. And the night after that. And the next one.
That's why, if you are an insomniac, you are not supposed to do anything in your bed except sleep (and special snuggles). If you are awake in your bed, you're supposed to get out of it after 20 minutes. This helps your mind with "BED=SLEEP".
Step 1, accomplished. We're back to a reasonable sleep time.
Sometimes, the answer is obvious. Getting caught up in the "What-If?" took me out of the present moment and unable to see (in this case, hear) the answer.