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Snoozefest: Tricks for An Easier Bedtime

Kids with ADHD are three times less likely to get enough shut-eye than their friends. Learn how a bedtime schedule, relaxation techniques, and keeping the bedroom dark can help them fall asleep easier.

4 Comments: Snoozefest: Tricks for An Easier Bedtime

  1. Ok. Our foster son (soon to be adopted son) is 4yo and has been diagnosed with PTSD. We think the diagnosis should be more than that but don’t yet have a “name” for whatever it is that is causing his behavior issues. It definitely has all the hallmarks of ADHD but, to be honest, could be a lot of things. His biological mother has severe mental issues but we’re not sure what her diagnosis is.

    Don’t get me wrong, he’s an absolute joy, loves to laugh, is smart, and makes everyone around him beam with joy and we are 100% committed to him. We have fought VERY HARD to keep him. He is family no matter what. As far as his behavior issues, he constantly interrupts, has very strong emotional outbursts over the littlest things, doesn’t listen, and bounces off the walls all the time. He is very reactive and impulsive. He has to be the center of attention and needs constant affection. If he’s not the center of attention, he will literally climb furniture or bounce off of things to get noticed. If he doesn’t get what he wants he will immediately start crying, repeating what he wants over and over, then will start hitting or will put his hands around your neck and squeeze when all else fails. The only thing that calms him is TV but that is the WORST thing for him because once the TV gets shut off he completely looses it. Despite all of this we are able to keep him on track with rigid routine, love and affection, but also with stern correction and natural consequences.

    Bedtime is the WORST though. No routine seems to be working. When we first got him he was 2 1/2 and while bedtime was a bit of a challenge at first, he quickly got settled into a routine which included bath time, bedtime story, and then finally tucking him in. He would stay up for a time and just wander around his room (which was concerning) but soon was putting himself to sleep.

    Fast forward a year later and he now flat out refuses to stay in his bedroom unless one of us sits with him. That seems to have blown up in our faces. He will fidget and talk talk talk talk talk! He won’t be quiet for a single second and he knows if he doesn’t settle then he’s on his own. Sometimes he is able to go to sleep fairly quickly, but most of the time these tactics don’t work at all. We are at a loss of what to try next. We’ve tried everything the internet has to offer including quietly returning him to bed, reassuring him that we are there, that he is safe, routines, NOTHING WORKS.

    He’s been in therapy once a week for the past almost 6 months but there’s really been no improvement. We’re desperate to help him but we just don’t know what the right thing is to do to help him be at peace.

    Thanks for listening.

  2. My 11yo daughter is afraid of the dark. I know many kids are, as was I, but she is rediculous! She will not go near her room or bathroom at night unless someone goes with her and I have to stay in the room with her. That includes showering or bathing, using the restroom and getting ready for bed. I have to lay with her in bed until she falls asleep or she will not go to sleep and will throw a fit. Some nights I end up sleeping with her in the guest room because she can’t sleep or is afraid. I thought she’d grow out of it by now but it only seems to be getting worse. She says she “doesn’t feel comfortable by herself” or is “afraid” but can’t say why. Sometimes she says she doesn’t” feel safe”. We have two dogs that would alarm us if anyone entered the house and one sleeps in her room, but that doesn’t seem to help either! Anyone have any ideas on how to calm her fears and help her feel “safe”?

    1. That’s tricky. I am 15yr with ADHD, and I am frankly afraid of the dark. It used to be because of not knowing what was out there, but it’s become a more disturbing reasons. One, knowing what’s out there. Two, it’s too peaceful, and my brains thoughts run wild, not all of them are things you want to think about before bed unless you have nightmares. I lay in bed in the pitch black, and have more-or-less tamed my fear of the dark by making myself feel safe.

      For your daughters, try and fix what relaxes her makes her feel safe. Find out exactly what about the dark makes her safe. Don’t suggest things at first. Try and ask her to desribe to you what makes her afraid. Is it not being able to see, or is it that the shadows and dark images she sees becomes things that aren’t really there. That will help you tremendously, knowing what her fear is and then you can try and find out what solves it.

      Some things I’ve tried, that might help. Falling asleep to music. I can fall asleep to any kind of music, rap, pop, etc. But most people need more quiet music. Try and find something like that she might might like, nothing new though unless it’s intrimentsl. If it’s new, too much attention is devoted to it.

      White nose. Similar, but if the sound of voices keep her awake, this may help better. I use and app on my phone. White noise on its own doesn’t work for me, but adding a rythme to it does. I use a grandfather clock noise, and the white noise eleiminates silence, and blocks our disturbances, while he grandfather clock gives regularity and pattern to it.

      Do not talk about what won’t go wrong. If she’s anything like me, her brain is a jerk. If she hears you say something like “Are you worried somebody will break in? It’s okay, the dog will protect you” your are making it worse. (At messy for me) being told NOT to worry about something makes it much worse.

      Journaling. It actually can help with sleep. I also have an ASD (Asperger’s), and events from my life, conversations, and conflits play over and over in my head, trying to find the way I should be handled it. Writing before bed, however, takes a lot of that off my mind. Makes it easier to not think of anything. That’s another think, talk to her before bedtime. Maybe have bedtime be 10min eariker, Lay there in bedtime-conditions, and just talk. My brains is always active at night (I’m writing this at one in the morning), but getting as much as possible off the mind is really good.

      Get a body pillow. I don’t like coddling real people, but I can’t fall asleep anymore without my “person” pillows. I have four pillows, so two of them are an imaginary person I snuggle with, talk to, etc. I know they’re not real, but having a “relationship” with this imaginary person, even if you know it’s fske and are pretending, it really does help.

      1. These are amazing tips! Thanks for sharing your first-hand experience. I will try some of these. I like the pillows idea.

        Have you heard of EMDR? Listening to the grandfather clock sounds reminds me of that.

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