my 3 year old son has CVI (little to no vision) and wakes up almost every day at 3:30 am and very rarely will go back to sleep.

He does not have an issue falling asleep. He does this regardless of the time he goes to bed at night.We even tried having him sleep downstairs in case a noise was waking him in his room and still 3:30 wake up call. Any different ideas/suggestions?

Topics: Sleep Solutions
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Posted by Amber Bobnar on Jan 12, 2012 - 1:22pm

This sounds so much like the issues we had with my son, although we do notice that if we keep him up later he actually wakes up even earlier! One thing I would suggest is charting your sons sleep patters for at least a week - all his naps, when he falls asleep and when he wakes up, even if he just sleeps for a few minutes in the car. Sometimes you can see a real pattern emerge (like if he takes a nap for more than one hour during the day then he wakes up at 3am, but if he skips that nap or sleeps for only 30 minutes, he wakes up at 5am) and that can help you tweak his sleeping patterns.

Children's Hospital Boston has a great sleep chart you can download and print:

I also highly recommend Dr Ferber's book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems". He outlines many different types of sleep issues and how to address them.

Another option is melatonin, which can be a problem with kids with little light perception. You should talk to your pediatrician about dosages, but it is easy to find over the counter and can help stimulate and jump start a healthy sleep pattern.

Also, many parents have suggested using a light box for children with little light perception and say that this helps their child's body understand that day time is for waking and night time is for sleeping. Here's an article on light therapy:

Finally, you might want to check out Veronika Bernstein's webcast on sleep. She looks specifically at problems in sleep for visually impaired kids and suggests solutions:

Posted by Jenny3616 on Jan 25, 2012 - 9:57am

Hi. Much like Amber, we had a similar issue with keeping our son up later - he would wake up earlier! We, too, charted his sleeping (especially little catnaps - apparently they count!). Our son was waking, literally like clockwork, at the same time in the wee hours of morning to not fall back asleep. At first we thought it was nightmares, then night terrors, and my husband actually started sleeping in bed with our son. Once he woke up he'd be up FOREVER, whereas, if we could keep him calm, we had a better chance of him falling back to sleep.

Because things were so wacky, we ended up doing a sleep study at Boston Medical. We discovered that our son has mild sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. We started giving him an iron supplement and that actually helped a lot. Melatonin didn't work. While my son doesn't have a major visual imparment, he has a lot of things going on neurologically (ASD+). His sleep hasn't righted itself completely, but it is better and sadly, shorter naps seem to do the trick for better sleep at night. We also have him in an intensive preschool and it exhausts him enough to sleep partway through the night with only minor wake-ups.