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How to get an older child to sleep?

 
 
kokobop
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Nov, 2010 07:26 pm
My daughter has the EXACT same problem and we have done EVERYTHING that has been suggested on this forum and more - INCLUDING seeing her physician. The doctor suggested the same things suggested in the forum even giving her Benadryl which I am against. I found an over the counter sleep aid that children can take called Midnight you can find it by all of the other sleep aids. It helps put her to sleep but then she wakes up and panics and can't sleep and it all starts again. She has just turned 12 YES 12 and it continues. Now that she is this age I am considering a true perscription sleep aid but am very nervous about starting that. She needs her sleep she gets it if someone sleeps with her. UGH
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Nov, 2010 07:37 pm
@kokobop,
Re-reading this thread... one thing I found out with my daughter (who is now 10 herself) is that she just doesn't wake up "naturally." That is, she will sleep much longer than she actually needs to unless I wake her up.

So the fact that she sleeps in doesn't really indicate much of anything, for her.

I've figured out how much sleep she needs by how hard it is to get her to sleep at night and how she functions during the day. She needs 8-9 hours of sleep. Less than 8 and she's moody and her brain doesn't function very well. Over 9 and she has a harder time getting to sleep that night. But if I let her, she will sleep 10+ hours (and then be draggy and never really sharp all day, and have a TERRIBLE time getting to sleep that night).

Anyway, that's just an addendum to what I said before.

Additionally, after I figured that out there was a transition period where she let go of her previous anxieties about getting to sleep (she knew she needed to get to sleep, she just was scared she wouldn't be able to and then things would be messed up the next day, etc). Once she reliably went to sleep (because of being really tired) a few times, she believed that she COULD, and relaxed, and getting to sleep became much easier in general.

Re: your daughter, kokobop, that sounds difficult. Is she anxious in general?
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 12:08 pm
@kokobop,
Since all this - we finally have set up an appointment with a counselor. The doctor suggested it. She said it is quite common in tweens and young teens. It is a type of anxiety. The doctor felt a few sessions should bolster her confidence and help her sleep on her own. I really think this will help her and she really wants to go and speak to some one about it. She felt a bit better when the doctor let her know that other children her age have this problem. And yes, my daughter just turned 12 a couple of weeks ago.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 12:36 pm
@Linkat,
Of course, after I posted that past-tense thing yesterday, the kid had a terrible time getting to sleep last night. It really hasn't been a problem for a while. But she was sick on Saturday and I let her sleep more than usual, including a long nap during the day. This worked in terms of getting her over her illness (she was very nauseous when she fell asleep, and fine once she woke up) but meant that she didn't get to sleep until late Saturday, which meant she woke up late Sunday (since I wanted her to recover all the way and didn't want to risk waking her up after not-enough sleep), which meant that she wasn't tired by her regular bedtime on Sunday.

EhBeth's point about a variety of causes is well-taken, but for sozlet, it seems to be a pretty clear cause and effect that if she gets too much sleep (and "too much" isn't obvious, many kids need more), she has a hard time falling asleep, and if she has a hard time falling asleep within 15 minutes or so then she enters the anxiety phase and we have to re-set. The anxiety is there in the background and takes over if she's not tired enough -- if she's tired enough and goes to sleep easily for a stretch, the anxiety lessens significantly.

Last night I let her turn the lights back on and read for a while, then when she tried going to sleep again she conked right out. At midnight. Sigh. (I let her sleep in a bit this a.m. rather than forcing her to go to school on 7 hours of sleep, woke her up at 8:45, she seemed fine.)
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 08:38 am
Update on our first appointment - my daughter was excited to go - she seems torn as to wanting to be a big girl and sleep on her own and wanting the safety of her parents.

The Dr. brought up several suggestions on how to proceed. She did suggest medication as potential along with behavioural thearopy - which I said I do not like to medicate children. We have 3 appointments going forward every two weeks. She did push the benodryl thing if my daughter decides she wants to try to sleep on her own - during a period like Feb. vacation where lack of sleep would not impact her school and other activities. I am on the fence on this. She says it will help relax her. I honestly hate the idea of medicine unless it is absolutely necessary.

We will see going forward. It is definately anxiety and it has shown up in physcially where my daugther will have stomaches - she has thrown up in a couple of stressful situations before. We will see how this pans out going forward.
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 09:36 am
Your daughter may benefit from yoga.

It teaches how to calm oneself.

Of course NO soda pop, tea, or chocolate after 5 p.m.
No computer games one hour before bedtime.

I read somewhere where teenage brains get a "boost" around 10 - 11 pm, so this really could be just that.

I have a grandaughter who is not a good sleeper. Always "off" everyone elses's schedule. Can't tell you how many family meals she has missed. I think hormone flucuation has a lot to do with it, too.

Good luck, she just might be that way all her life. She just has to respect the rest of the members of the family and stay quiet.

There are many natural remedies on the shelf; consider some teas and a back rub from mom.



Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 11:40 am
@PUNKEY,
She isn't loud - it isn't an issue of bothering others - she just gets so anxious that she gets stomach aches and cries. She tries to read to relax herself, but when she starts getting tired and puts the book down she gets all worried and anxious again. It isn't a one hour thing - it is more like several hours. We have tried all the "normal" remedies to relax her - warm bath, soothing music, diet, pretty much just about everything.

It is more than just the suck it up and deal with it, we have tried that - it affects her physically.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 11:41 am
@Linkat,
Yoga might be a good idea and you're right in not to medicate your daughter,
I would abstain from that too.
There are natural remedies to calm her down: lavender oil on her wrist, and
spray a bit on her pillow; warm milk at night with a bit of honey, and yes,
yoga might help her too. She'll learn proper breathing techniques that help her
calm down.

Did you check,if she has some trouble in school with classmates? Is she bullied
or in any other stress situation there?
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 12:00 pm
@CalamityJane,
I've actually used the lavender oil - I will probably continue to use some of this as well especially once we move onto sleeping further and further away from us (perhaps in place of some medicine).

Yoga may be an option - is it too difficult for a 12 year old? I've taken it before myself and not sure if she would like it or not. Always worth a try.

As far as trouble with classmates - she is actually the one who steps in when others are teased. Other than the normal catty girl stuff - gossiping - no big deals - she does tell us about the goings on with her classmates. She sits with the boys at lunch most times as she prefers their company. Her class is small 10 kids (5 girls and 5 boys) so not much gets by the teachers.

She was upset at her favorite teacher one day - because the teacher teased her that she was flirting with another boy in front of the class. I talked to her about it - but it was one time thing and not going on since she has had trouble sleeping. Last night she told me that she prefers her friends on her basketball team than the girls in her classroom - it does get me to thinking a bit. It seems natural that she would be closer to her teammates as they share the same love of sports and of course the whole team feeling.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 12:03 pm
@Linkat,
I think these things tend to snowball -- that is, there is an initial cause of some kind and then the anxiety becomes about not being able to sleep, and that whole drama, rather than the initial cause.

That's the only upside I see to Benadryl et al, is taking willpower out of it and letting her just sleep, so then the next night there is less anxiety.

But of course then she can become dependent on the crutch.

What do you think of a placebo? Some sort of colored sugar water that you say will help her sleep? (Maybe talk to the pro before trying anything like that.)

And good for you for talking to the pro, and sounds like your daughter has a really good attitude about it too.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 12:20 pm
@sozobe,
I think it helps her mentally just to be able to talk to some one. It empowers her a little. She was worried a bit before and saying what if this doesn't help me...

I agree - she says she worries about not being able to fall asleep and what happens if I can't.

I definately worry about the crutch thing - I do not want her dependent on something. The doctor was getting at exactly what you are saying - Benadryl will physically help her relax so that she can be less anxious about falling asleep.

The one nice thing I enjoyed about this talk was the Dr. asked me to tell her some of my daughter's attributes. Of course I love bragging about her and it was an opportunity for her to hear all the wonderful things she is. The Dr. pointed out some of her attributes that could help her overcome this.
0 Replies
 
David Bushey
 
  0  
Reply Fri 4 Jan, 2013 01:36 am
@Linkat,
Hello Community,

Sleep is important to everybody. When we sleep, we rest and gain energy for a new day. But sleep does more than that. When we dream, we process all the events of our daily life. Sleep is important in laying down long-term memories. At night, the body produces more of the hormone that stimulates growth. So, sleep is important for your child's development as well. From four months old, babies often start to sleep for longer periods of time. From six months old and up to one year, they often sleep five to six hours continuously. Children between one year and five years old sleep up to 12 hours each day. A pre-school child may still need to sleep 10 to 12 hours each day.

Best Regards,
David Bushey
0 Replies
 
 

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