Reply To: Help with Sleep


I feel for you — and know the pain. One of my boys has had similar sleep issues and is now 11. The main culprit for him seems to be anxiety. Some things have helped more than others:

1. Bedtime is fixed. Even if he doesn’t fall asleep he is expected to be lights out and in bed. The only okay reasons to get up are to use the bathroom, if he is feeling sick, or if he has a nightmare. The last 2 reasons are the only okay reasons to wake mom or dad. We started this when he was quite young — younger than 7. We explained that he was a big boy in a big boy bed and that this is what big boys do. It helped that he realized that as bad as his sleep issues were, everything was just that much worse when his parents couldn’t have uninterrupted nights’ sleep. We could sleep because we knew he was safe. (He has younger brothers, so we had a baby gate that helped discourage him from wandering the house while we were sleeping.)

2. Bedtime routines are fixed. He gets ready for bed, reads for a bit, or when younger I read to him. He listens to music now, but in the past we did some exercises for anxiety (putting worries on a train, tightening and relaxing muscles, etc) Toys, books, etc are not allowed in the room. The bed is used for sleeping only — he does not play on it during the day, he is encouraged to read in a chair.

3. He takes melatonin right before bed and teeth brushing. It has been recommended that we give it several hours earlier. This did not work for us. He has melatonin on his night stand that he can take if he wakes in the night.

4. He has been on guanfacine. He used to take it in the morning. When we moved it to the evening, he started sleeping through the night for the first time ever.

5. His nights are generally worse when he has had screen time of any kind within 2 hours of going to bed.

6. Believing that the source of the problem is anxiety, we have a list of happy/relaxing things that we try to get him to focus on — vacations he has enjoyed, something he is looking forward to, being at the beach.

I hope you find what helps soon and really hope he takes to the idea of not waking you so you can rest and refresh for the next day!

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by DenverMom.
  • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by Penny Williams.