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‘You nearly find yourself resenting other people whose children sleep’ – The families who have gone years without a full night's rest

We expect babies to wake frequently. But what is the toll on family life when older children, even teenagers, are still waking at night?

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Patricia Butterly with her daughter Fainchea (4) who has sleep problems. Photo: David Conachy

Patricia Butterly with her daughter Fainchea (4) who has sleep problems. Photo: David Conachy

Patricia Butterly from Co Louth with her daughter Fainchea (4). Photo: David Conachy

Patricia Butterly from Co Louth with her daughter Fainchea (4). Photo: David Conachy

Fiona Walsh and her daughter Robyn. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Fiona Walsh and her daughter Robyn. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

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Patricia Butterly with her daughter Fainchea (4) who has sleep problems. Photo: David Conachy

I can’t remember the last time I had a full night’s sleep. Although to be honest, I’m so worn out from lack of sleep that I struggle to remember most things; what I had for breakfast, where I put the keys, even (after a particularly bad night) my name.

My four-year-old frequently wakes ready to start the day at 4.30am. And even if he doesn’t, he’ll certainly wake every night and can take a long time to get back to sleep.


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