For Parents Problems sleeping

Gymx2

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Oct 9, 2015
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Despite all the hours in the gym, my DD has problems sleeping. Sometimes it's difficulty falling asleep, other times she wakes up around 3am and tosses and turns for hours. She takes children's melatonin, has several meditation CDs, her room is dark and a comfortable temp. She has a lot of calming tricks she uses, but some nights none of this helps. Any other ideas or suggestions?
 

GymOwl

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Feb 6, 2021
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Been down that road before, definitely is a struggle that we don't hear getting talked about too much.
We tried melatonin gummies for kids, but found that to have almost no effect, so we had a talk with our doctor and we went from there, so I'd say do that.
We did find that diffusers and essential oils helped a bunch, they have huge varieties of scents, including ones they help with sleep (usually a mixture of lavender, mandarin, etc)
 
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gymgal

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Have you discussed with her regarding what she thinks is causing the difficulties? it is mental (thinking too much, weird dreams), physical (pains, twitching), combination? That will help you decide what the next step is.
 
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CLgym

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Dec 22, 2014
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Yep. This perfectly describes our situation too. In the case of my daughter, it is definitely anxiety related. Literally the act of going to sleep is anxiety producing for her (what if I can't fall asleep? I will be tired and have a terrible day at school, practice, etc...). Some nights it takes 1+ hour to get to her to sleep. And if she wakes up in the middle of the night (2-3 nights per week when things are bad), she can be up for an hour or more. She is also highly dependent upon me to provide comfort at bedtime / middle of the night.

She takes melatonin gummies, uses an essential oil diffuser, and plays either white noise or meditation all night long. We have her psychiatrist and pediatrician involved.

One thing that I have definitely noticed is that my reactions have a substantial impact on the entire situation.... Not gonna lie, waking up at 3 am multiple nights per week for a non-infant child (she is 12 yrs old!) can sometimes make me more than a little grumpy. But if I express my own stress and frustration about the situation, it usually gets worse.

We start bedtime as early as possible (not always easy with a school+gym+homework+bath schedule). Also we try to avoid electronics right before bed (again not easy given my DD's age and that fact that school/social interactions all take place virtually now).

Big picture, we are working on providing DD with self-soothing and coping skills for getting and staying asleep. We created a list of self soothing ideas that she has above her bed. And, on nights where we have nothing the next day, I make her put herself to bed after a brief hug/kiss goodnight from me.

When she starts to get overtired, she does get leg cramps too. Motrin helps that.

Good luck. I know the struggle is real!
 
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Gymx2

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Oct 9, 2015
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Yep. This perfectly describes our situation too. In the case of my daughter, it is definitely anxiety related. Literally the act of going to sleep is anxiety producing for her (what if I can't fall asleep? I will be tired and have a terrible day at school, practice, etc...). Some nights it takes 1+ hour to get to her to sleep. And if she wakes up in the middle of the night (2-3 nights per week when things are bad), she can be up for an hour or more. She is also highly dependent upon me to provide comfort at bedtime / middle of the night.

She takes melatonin gummies, uses an essential oil diffuser, and plays either white noise or meditation all night long. We have her psychiatrist and pediatrician involved.

One thing that I have definitely noticed is that my reactions have a substantial impact on the entire situation.... Not gonna lie, waking up at 3 am multiple nights per week for a non-infant child (she is 12 yrs old!) can sometimes make me more than a little grumpy. But if I express my own stress and frustration about the situation, it usually gets worse.

We start bedtime as early as possible (not always easy with a school+gym+homework+bath schedule). Also we try to avoid electronics right before bed (again not easy given my DD's age and that fact that school/social interactions all take place virtually now).

Big picture, we are working on providing DD with self-soothing and coping skills for getting and staying asleep. We created a list of self soothing ideas that she has above her bed. And, on nights where we have nothing the next day, I make her put herself to bed.

When she starts to get overtired, she does get leg cramps too. Motrin helps that.

Good luck. I know the struggle is real!
This is almost exactly what goes on here too! And I am also not always the most empathetic mom at 3am when woken up! :p I ordered her a weighted blanket, which someone else recommended, so we'll see if that helps at all. I get really stressed out about her not sleeping- I worry a lot about her getting hurt at practice if she's going in on little sleep. I love non-school days where she can sleep in and catch up on her rest!
 

CLgym

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Dec 22, 2014
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@Gymx2 -- My best suggestion is to try to work on reducing your own stress about the situation; and talk to her doctor, therapist, etc.

We have had some success with a reward system (e.g., if she stays in bed all night for 3 nights in a row, then 5 nights in a row, etc. she gets a small reward like acrylic paint or fuzzy socks), although we are not currently implementing a reward system right now.

Another thing we worked on (at therapist suggestion) is having me leave her room for periods of time at bedtime, with the goal of increasing the amount of time I am out of the room. One thing that made this a little extra tricky is that my DD's anxiety increases if I set limits related to time (e.g., "I will sit here for 5 more minutes" or "at 10:30 I am leaving"). And she flips out if I point out how late it is getting, so we usually put her clock down. I have noticed that if I can get out of the room (e.g., "I'm going to go brush my teeth and we be back in a few minutes...") she often falls asleep on her own.

Oh, and it can sometimes help to distract her from anxious thoughts. For example, sometimes we play "the listening game" -- We live in a big city and her bedroom window is facing the street, so we will both be very quiet for a few minutes and just "listen" then share what we heard (the diffuser, the washing machine, a police siren, someone talking on the sidewalk, etc.)
 

Kegler

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Apr 16, 2020
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My DS has been going through this since he started competing at 9. He’s 14 now and I think puberty has made him tired enough to sleep better. Being an insomniac myself, my advice is to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. My son would get in a vicious cycle where he would have problems falling asleep, then sleep late the next day. This would make it even harder to fall asleep that night, and on and on. So we get him up at the same time every day - school day, weekend, doesn't matter. We also found that drinking tart cherry juice (contains natural melatonin) helped for a while.
 
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MuggleMom

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Dec 22, 2016
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CBD oil helped my kid with anxiety in general and falling asleep as well. For awhile the dog slept with her which helped calm her before bed. Once she got in a better habit of falling asleep the dog actually kept her up so we had to move the doggo back to her bed (the dog was sad about that lol) I will say CBD is awesome for helping with sleep and anxiety and anxiety about sleep.

I have read also that Melatonin every night for kids their age is not recommended. It is supposed to be more to get them on track again if needed than an every night sleep aid.

Magnesium is also supposed to help a lot with sleep and anxiety about sleep but my daughter wouldn't take the pills. My friends son took them and she said it helped a lot.

Meditation never worked for us, essential oils sometimes helps sometimes not.

Letting her stay up later actually helped a great deal. The earlier bed time was just not when she was tired so if I tried to put her to bed at 8:30/9 shed be up till 11 or 12 and get really upset about not being able to sleep which just became this self fulfilling prophecy kind of thing.
But if I let her go to bed at 9:45/10 she goes right to sleep. Some nights she will read in bed too this has helped alot and she will maybe stay up a bit later than I want but she will sleep better. On nights I need her to go to bed early I send her up early with a book and then tell her when to turn the reading light out and that usually gets her in bed way earlier than just sending her up.
 
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mommyof1

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Magnesium is also supposed to help a lot with sleep and anxiety about sleep but my daughter wouldn't take the pills. My friends son took them and she said it helped a lot.

Magnesium supplements are huge! Another option is to absorb magnesium through the skin by soaking in a bath with epsom salts.
 
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PreciousJ

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Magnesium supplements are huge! Another option is to absorb magnesium through the skin by soaking in a bath with epsom salts.
I'm a big believer in magnesium supplementation. I've personally taken Natural Calm (a powder magnesium supplement) for years, and given it to my kids on occasion. Take note, though, that magnesium supplements can make you go to the bathroom! The magnesium helps to relax muscles, including the smooth muscle of your intestines. If you go this route, start with small doses.
 
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