Teenager with sleep problems


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    • #84126

      My son has recently been diagnosed with ADHD at age 13. He has just started Concerta but we are not at the right dose yet. He has always slept less than other children, right from birth, but it’s worse than ever now he’s a teenager. I think the Concerta has made things even more difficult. He can’t get to sleep at night until 1,2 or 3am and I have a terrible job waking him at 7am to get the school bus. We are trying to limit screen time but he says he gets so bored when he’s trying to sleep and wants something to keep him company. He won’t listen to us and says we don’t know what it’s like.
      Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • #84129

      He sounds exactly like my daughter, I hate mornings with her lol. I did some research online and found that melatonin vitamins help with sleep. So I have her take one at night after dinner. I bought the gummies and she likes it. Now she’ll sleep a little earlier around 9 or 10. Hope this helps 🙂

      • #84538

        Thank you. We are definitely going to try melatonin. In fact, my son is begging me to get some.

    • #84140

      I would go see a Biomedical Doctor.
      I recently started my 9yr old son on
      300mg Magnesium (veg) for a month and
      Now he takes 500mg. I open the capsule
      and stir it in a glass of water right before bed. I also take 1000mg before bed. Best nights sleep and I wake up great! I’m 6’ tall.
      He also listens to meditation music. There is
      This great app ‘Calm’ or YouTube also has lots.
      Doctors say you should only take Melatonin for 2-3weeks or if taken for too long it will
      Mess with your natural sleep patterns.
      You could also try an essential oil ‘Calming’
      From Rocky Mountain Oils. rmo.com
      In a diffuser/humidifier in his bedroom. Start
      It 30mins before bed. He will fall right to sleep. Amazon has white round 500ml $30 diffusers/humidifier. They last 8-10hrs on the low setting.

      • #84539

        Thank you for your suggestions. I might well try the calming oil – it sounds great. I’ll ask the paediatrician about magnesium too.

    • #84151
      Penny Williams

      There are many things you can try to help him get more sleep:
      1. Melatonin supplement (ask his doctor)
      2. Magnesium Supplement (I find Natural Calm works best)
      3. Weighted blanket
      4. Essential oils
      5. blackout drapes
      6. Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime EXTRA tea

      My son is 15. He listens to videos to fall asleep. He struggles more to fall asleep in the quiet.

      ADHD, Sleep, and Me: It’s Complicated

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #84541

        Thanks ADHD momma. My son prefers videos or music too but he doesn’t start to get sleepy for ages after I go to bed. He’s just started a different medication and it seems a bit better: lasts longer, does not ruin his appetite. We’ll see how it goes for a couple of weeks.

    • #84191

      My son started having trouble sleeping at the age of 3. We did 5 mg Melatonin for quite a few years based on recommendation from the pediatrician, but switched to Clonidine 0.1 for the past few years based on his nurse practitioner that he sees for behavioral and developmental issues. It worked really well, but he is starting to have more trouble again. He is now 10. He also takes Concerta. Ask your Dr. about Clonidine and if she thinks it will help your son.

      • #84542

        Hi jmsc hue. Thanks for your advice. I’ll be asking the paediatrician about melatonin or Clonodine. Now he’s off the Concerta I’m hoping things will get better.

    • #84476

      I’m a high school student, and often I can only get to sleep when I’m running on severe sleep debt (my favorite catch-22), but over the last few weeks, I’ve started doing yoga before bed and it’s made a massive difference. My therapist suggested yoga with Adriene on youtube, and she has this 7-minute bedtime yoga routine that I really like. May not work for everyone (My ADHD is on the mild side of moderate) but it gets me out of my head when I can’t stop thinking.

      • #84543

        Hi bonnyand curst. I love yoga with Adriene too. Maybe i’ll try to get my son to do the 7 minute routine which you suggest. Thanks for the idea

    • #84514

      Good morning! My son has been on ADHD medication since 6 (now 12) and we are currently on a high dose of Concerta for daytime. Due to the same issues you are seeing with sleep—since he was a toddler actually, my son take 0.5mg of Rx Clonodine 1 hour before bed each night. He now also takes a 3mg melatonin . These medications are a life-saver for my son in that he is able to wind down easily and actually fall asleep and stay asleep. Mind you, they do not knock him out or anything! They just allow him to relax. Based on over 6 years of following this, I feel comfortable recommending you talk to with your MD about this! Good luck!

      • #84544

        Hi curly girl. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. It sounds like Melatonin and / or Clonodine might be just what we need.

    • #85035

      Hi there! I have a 12 year old daughter with ADHD (like Mother, like Daughter:/!) She has also has struggled with “busy brain”
      when it’s time for bed. We use 10mg of melatonin, it can disrupt natural
      sleep patterns – but she does better on it than off. We did start allowing her to use music
      on her phone, but just found out she has been
      texting friends online until 2 – 3 am so that privilege has been revoked. Having no device activity and also being more physically active (riding her bike, walking the dog, walking to the store with me or her Daddy) has helped somewhat. A fan or a sound machine with white
      noise is also very helpful. Also starting the wake up process 30 mins earlier is also a good trick. She has also been late too many times and missed a lot of school.
      It was a big wake up call after discovering her sneaky phone activity. The “I didn’t get any sleep” excuse is a NO GO. Hope this helps!

      She takes Adderrall on school days.

      • #85036

        Thanks for your suggestions Suzanne. The meds my son is on at the moment are great for focus and impulse control but he doesn’t feel sleepy at all at any reasonable hour. I’ve had a terrible trouble waking him for school since he’s been on it and one day I couldn’t get him there until midday. I’m going to ask for a melatonin prescription tomorrow when I have a phone consultation with his ADHD nurse practitioner. I looks as though it works for a lot of ADHDers.

    • #85194

      I can’t count how many times my father woke me up(loudly)just to tell me to turn off the TV and go to sleep, what he didn’t realize was that the TV was the very reason I could fall asleep,if it helps I say let him watch tv/listen to music, maybe w/head phones/sleep timer, I still do this to this day, especially if its something I’ve watched hundreds of times,that way I’ve already seen and know what’s going on in the program and not tempted to open my eyes constantly to see what’s happening, it really helps me 😪💤

    • #85211

      Hi mccoyver
      My child read your response and said “Are you sure you didn’t just type that from my point of view mum?” Because it’s exactly how he feels! It’s reassuring that adults use the exact same strategies as him. And it helps me to understand why he watches the same dvd 100s of times. Thank you!

    • #85362

      I have ADHD and I’ve had sleeping problems since always 😛 I didn’t really find any solutions though. I’m going to share my experience hoping it’ll help a little.
      I’ve tried reading,but I wanted to continue the stories so bad I spent complete nights reading sleeplessly….so…no.
      I’vê tried melatonin but my body quickly developed a tolerance and it wasn’t effective anymore.
      I’ve tried trazodone but it didn’t just make me fall asleep,it literally made me K.O. and it gave me headaches. Worse, in mornings I would wake up dizzy and I almost fell off the stairs once.
      I noticed that not touching my phone helped me fall asleep faster though! So,even though it’s super long to wait for a sleep that just WON’T come, using the phone should be the last solution really…..
      I totally uderstand how annoying not falling asleep is XD
      Good night

    • #85419

      Some suggestions that have helped me find a better sleep routine.

      1. Dim the lights/use blue light blocking glasses for electronics. Our bodies associate blue light with daytime, so being exposed to it when you’re trying to go to bed pushes our internal clock later so that it’s harder to fall asleep and harder to wake up in the morning.
      2. Make it cooler, between 60-67 degrees. More science stuff to back this up.

      3. Monitor caffeine intake.

      4. Make it a routine!

      5. This should stimulate natural melatonin release. Melatonin supplements can be used initially to “reset” a circadian rhythm that is not jiving with our daily schedule, but low doses seem to work best. Melatonin supplementation also works best when all the previous steps have been taken to enhance your body’s natural production.

      6. If it is too quiet, add some white noise or nature sounds(thunderstorm, rain, babbling brook is my favorite!).

      Hope this helps! It did for me! Good luck!

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Czar. Reason: spelling
    • #85449

      Teenager’s on ADD meds with sleep problems seems to be a normal side effect.

      My experience with my son has been that sleeping on meds is a problem with few real answers.

      My son’s med refusal is what got me out from lurking. He’s at that age where forcing him to take meds just isn’t realistic. He’ll be 18 in almost no time and forcing him now would in my opinion almost certainly make him stop 100% when he turns 18 and needs to study in college.

      So, my husband and I have probed to get to the “real reasons” for med refusal. I think we’ve uncovered some real reasons and also some made up ones my son has found online. Hey, they can use Dr. Google just like the rest of us.

      Not sleeping has been an on going problem.

      I remember when I first started learning about ADD meds and sleep problems. The doctor recommended a strong morning instant release dose, a milder afternoon dose and benadryl at bedtime.

      We didn’t agree to medication on the first visit. I did my research (as most of us do) and on the 2nd doctor’s visit I asked the doctor, “why not just give him three shots of espresso in the morning, two shots of espresso in the afternoon and a shot of whiskey before bed?”

      The doctor was not amused -but I insisted on an answer. I have caffeine in the morning and if I have any caffeine in the afternoon, I have trouble getting to sleep. So, I was really worried.

      But, the improvement in grades and ability to participate in school is what convinced me to stick with it.

      Recently, things have been easier.

    • #86788

      I have had this issue as long as I can remember. My “natural” sleep cycle is to fall asleep around 3-4 AM and wake up around 11-12. I have absolutely no problem going to sleep and getting up on this schedule and I get my best work done in the 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM time-frame. Unfortunately, this sleep schedule is incompatible with the rest of the world.

      Going to sleep earlier is a major problem. I’ll just lie in bed with a million thoughts buzzing about in my head until about 3 AM. If forced to get up early, I’m nearly useless until around 11. As you may well imagine, this was a major problem in high school. In college, I did my best to avoid early classes where possible and mostly slept through the few AM courses that I could not avoid. Professionally, I have done fairly well by sticking to jobs which work with this odd schedule — software engineering for the most part.

      I’m fairly new to ADHD medications, but I have actually had success with these in shifting to an 11 PM to 7:00 AM sleep schedule. I set an alarm for 1-2 hours before I actually need to get up and take a dose of immediate release Ritalin. After I am up, I take my dose of Concerta 2.5-3 hours after the pre-wakeup dose. With this, I’m actually able to get out bed and get things done in the morning and am quite functional.

      There was still the issue of shifting my sleep schedule back. I have found that the “least-bad” way of achieving this is to skip a night of sleep and then go to bed at the target time the following night. If I try to just go to bed earlier, it’s just a waste of time and an exercise in frustration and futility.

      I had tried both Melatonin and Clonodine in the past. Both make me feel sleepy, but I don’t actually fall asleep on them, but they do make it more difficult to get up in the morning.

    • #86807

      Have you tried Mirtazapine? It is an atypical antidepressant with sedative, anxiolytic, and antiallergenic properties. I personally had great experiences using it for insomnia in the past. Check with your physician about it.

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