I’ve tried everything to relax him at bedtime but he still wakes very distressed most nights
Question: My six-year-old has a lot of nightmares. These started months ago and we are still struggling to get a night’s sleep. We have always had trouble with him sleeping for one reason or another. I was hoping you may be able to offer some advice. He gives every appearance of being confident at school and with friends. He goes to bed about 7.30 every night and has no trouble falling asleep. However, he will usually have one or two nightmares per night, often four or five nights per week. He either calls out or comes in to our room very distressed and tells the dream – we bring him back to bed and usually stay for a bit. He’ll often come back soon after or may go back to sleep and wake with another bad dream.
His nightmares tend to be about being out somewhere and getting left behind. Last night was about being on holidays and his dad and brother were leaving some place without him. He has dreamed of falling in a hole and nobody being there to help him out. He often dreams of being somewhere with me and being able to see me in the distance, he calls for me and I don’t hear him and go away without him. He has dreamed about looking in a shop window at mannequins and they come to life and scare him. He also has had a dream about looking at a stone statue in a glass cabinet who comes to life. smashes the glass and grabs him by the ankles. That’s the general gist
He wakes early and never sleeps beyond 7am even if he’s stayed up a bit later. He has a night light, has a relaxing story before bed and doesn’t watch anything that isn’t age appropriate. I’m trying Epsom salt baths occasionally, have lavender spray, and he has a sleep sheep with soothing sounds when he wakes. We recently stopped TV watching during the week.
He is a very active boy, full of mischief and very curious, not in the slightest bit shy, has a very active imagination…
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