Dr. Greene’s Answer:
How exhausting! Missed sleep is tough for all of us, but yours has been long and consistent and without a failsafe solution if you just get too tired. Most young kids will return to sleep well if rocked, or cuddled, or fallen asleep with (of course, whether or not you want to do this is another issue).
Sometimes adjustments in bedtime or napping can make a difference. In some children, periods of waking can occur when a child is toilet training. In these children, taking them to the bathroom in the middle of the night can solve the problem. If a child wakes up in need of comfort, a special blanket or stuffed animal may help.
But when kids don’t sleep well in the most conducive setting, I like to have them seen at a sleep center. Thankfully, sleep is beginning to get the attention it deserves, and sleep centers are springing up in many places.
Occasionally, sleep specialists recommend medicines after other options have been explored. I am in favor of this (although I am not a fan of the Benadryl class, at least as either a medium- or long-term solution). I prefer medicines in the hypnotic class that are eliminated from the body relatively quickly. Sleep is so valuable for health (his and yours) that, in some situations, the benefits clearly outweigh the costs. Your doctor can refer him to a sleep center if necessary.