12 yr old girl, sweet as pie but turned sour by lack of sleep... please can you advise?

(24 Posts)
useryourillusion Mon 02-Jun-14 14:27:49

My 12 year old daughter is really suffering due to lack of sleep.
She is pale. anxious, somewhat tetchy and short-tempered, as well as experiencing regular, hard-to-treat headaches.
Telling her in the best, most empathetic way I can summon that it is highly likely that she would benefit from some more sleep is utterly refuted and a waste of time...
Yes, I am aware that she is at a stage in which she is likely to be in a state of emotional and physical flux - growing, hormones and so on. I truly believe that decent sleep is one of the building blocks of health, but she just will not take this on board.
Please please please MN friends... could anyone advise a way of communicating with her? She does not want to go to the GP and I have no dm or dmil to ask. I also want to avoid pathologising this issue.
Thanks so much in advance.

mumofthemonsters808 Mon 02-Jun-14 14:38:27

User- What's the nature of the sleep problem? i.e.does she not go to bed at a set time, does she struggle to get to sleep, or does she sleep and then wake up?.

I also have a 12 year old DD and she is terrible when she has had little sleep, so you have my sympathy, it's like walking on egg shells.

my 12 year old's headaches were caused by her eye strain - have you had hers tested recently?

what time does she go to bed during the week and weekends? what electronics does she have in her room?

useryourillusion Mon 02-Jun-14 14:50:51

Errrm mumof, i suppose it is a combo of the factors you mentioned. Most probably, the fact she gets to bed so late is the likeliest cause. Enforcing a set bedtime, however reasonable it appears to be, is proving pretty-darn-impossible... one cannot exactly force, slip a Mickey Finn or any of the other extreme measures which slip across one's mind (do rest assured they have merely slid and not gained any footholds) due to sheer desperation and exasperation. My feeling is that she needs to understand the reasons for giving herself the best chance by way of plenty of sleep, take them on and actually IMPLEMENT them.
Grrr.
Water to horses etc.

useryourillusion Mon 02-Jun-14 15:03:14

Hello tired, in answer to your questions she had an eye test fairly recently but you have an excellent point, I will check the date thereof.
During the week she normally goes to bed around 10-ish, probably more like 9 at the weekends. Just bear in mind she gets up about 6:30 in the week, around 9 on Saturdays and 5 on Sundays (early religious service).
She has no electronics at all in her bedroom unless you count the most sophisticated straighteners ev-ah.
Poor joke but thanks for your interest

useryourillusion Mon 02-Jun-14 16:06:06

aaaghhhh... sorry, re-read my post and thought it sounded potentially offensive...I have a terribly self-deprecating, sarcastic style and my meaning can be lost in translation.
Please do post your suggestions, they are interesting and helpful.
Apologies again from this newbie!

no offence taken by me - the straighteners comment made me smile. Your DD has early starts - would your ideal be for her to go to bed around 9pm in the week?

What does she do until 10pm week days?

Why does she avoid a bed time time? What is she doing that she wants to continue? Does she feel your saying to early? Are friends pretending theirs is late? Are clubs interfering ?

headlesslambrini Mon 02-Jun-14 17:23:58

On phone so cant link but mencap / scope have a good leaflet on getting to sleep including things like sleep inducing food etc if u google it should come up.

useryourillusion Mon 02-Jun-14 17:57:43

Tired - she spends her evenings with family and friends at church - say three or four in the week. She won't hear of forgoing this.
I would like her to go to bed around 9:15 or so. She also gets a lot of homework, loves chatting on the phone, a bit of surfing the net and reading, emailing and general chilling.
Minnie - I think she has a severe case of FOMO plus the whole affair seems to have become something of a power struggle, ho hum. Of course we only hear that her friends go to bed when they want and so on. We are, quite frankly, the worstest parents since the cruellist Czar. (Filicide an exception) Madame just sees no link whatsoever between her symptoms and her sleep, or lack of!
Headless - thank you, sleep-inducing foods is an avenue I have not explored except for hot choc/warm milk.

Are the church things classes or youth groups? Just wondering if some negotiation there.

Family - which family? Would they sympathise? Would the groups support school work by talking to her in some capacity?

Is dad about? Does this cause family issue say with siblings? Do you have school schedule to know classes /homework even if guesses?

Look, I think there's negotiation. Maybe if she had control in designing the schedule? Equally, she's pushing boundaries. You need to decide which are flexible / moveable and non neg. which when your tired is uber crap. You have my sympathy. Wish can be more help.....

Nocomet Mon 02-Jun-14 21:41:09

Ditch 5am on Sunday, let her go to bed when ever she likes, if that's midnight so be it!

11-13 yearolds are very odd about sleep, it's an utter waste of time worrying about.

DD2(13) now asks me to send her to bed at 10.30 because she's found that's what works.

DD1 and me were lights out at 12pm at that age. I never grew out my bad habits, DD1(16) has.

Fridayschild Mon 02-Jun-14 21:44:29

DS, 10, complained of lack of sleep - he finds it hard to get to sleep, but is then out like a light when he does sleep. We put lavender oil in the bath. This made a big improvement. Even, erm, on the nights I forgot to put it in.

I think you get used to the soporific effects of lavender oil. I use geranium oil now for the times he really needs sleep.

I had a willing victim but you might need to resort to subterfuge?

Tbh these sound good suggestions.

useryourillusion Tue 03-Jun-14 09:20:33

Everyone, thanks so much for your input,it is like talking with non-judgy friends - btw loving that judgy pants thread.
The comments have opened my eyes to a range of different approaches. I think that the whole issue has become kinda twisty and complex, with more - mucho more - to it than the beautiful tired=sleep equation. DP just gets annoyed and overly authoritarian about it and ds of nearly 18 poke his oar in with horrendously annoying regularity, often utterly missing any empathy.
Guess I need to breathe, step back, look at these ideas and have a decent discussion with my dd. There must be a workable compromise/agreement.... must there not?

Nocomet Tue 03-Jun-14 17:05:48

One would hope there was a workable compromise, although DD2 and I have spent 11 years failing to each one over vegetables or the drinking of water.

AlpacaLypse Tue 03-Jun-14 17:12:04

I think you need to get the family/friends/church group on board about how late she stays there with them.

And welcome to MN. The hair-straighteners remark alone is a definite pass to the ranks of new members who'll do well here!

stealthsquiggle Tue 03-Jun-14 17:13:34

My 11yo DS is similarly grotty without enough sleep and similarly not open to reason when tired (paradoxically, him getting grumpy about being sent to bed is the surest sign that he is overtired and needs to go to bed).

Would she possibly be open to it as an experiment - "you go to bed at 9:15 for a week, and if you try it (properly) and it doesn't make any difference then I promise to stop going on about it?"

Also - is the 5am Sunday thing her choice or yours? I know I get very narky / sink into mild depression if I don't get one decent lie in a week. Is there an alternative plan for Sundays that would give her a lie in?

useryourillusion Tue 03-Jun-14 20:29:41

Stealth, I know preeeecisely what you are saying re the whole bed/grumpy/bed matrix. I wish we could somehow communicate that we are no just speaking standard-because II say so and I am YOUR parent language, that we really care, that we are not just reying to curtail their fun but we see sinking into the arms of Morpheus as an effective recourse.
In other words... YOU REALLY NEED YOUR BED, DC.
Excellent idea about negotiating/suggesting an experiment - sounds like a plan.
Sunday ayem - yes, definitely something she wants to do. I should make it clear that she has ample opportunites over the weekend for mini-kips, but even this does not seem to hepl

3littlefrogs Tue 03-Jun-14 20:33:58

Aromatherapy massage is brilliant for sleep.
Would she be up for a pampering night at home? Pedicure and foot massage with lavender oil?

SugarMouse1 Wed 04-Jun-14 04:39:37

Give her some Phenergan?

you can buy it in chemist, it works brilliantly for me.

3littlefrogs Wed 04-Jun-14 18:10:24

DS was allergic to phenergan. It made him really hyper and jittery.
I don't feel drug induced sleep is really refreshing, plus the "hangover" effect makes things worse.

Is she worrying or stressed about anything?

SageMist Wed 04-Jun-14 18:18:34

Your DD is the same age as my DD. It sounds as though they are getting a similar amount of sleep. My DD is often still awake at 10:30, but is up at 6:30, 8:00 at weekends.
So here are some other things to check: decent diet, plenty of exercise, plenty of friends, no bullying and, if she's menstruating, no anaemia?

useryourillusion Thu 05-Jun-14 17:27:02

Last few posters, thanks, I am considering all these options, that is truly helpful.
I am somewhat ambivalent about the Phen option, as I know something like that to help you sleep can help to break the cycle and enable your own personal biology to get back to doing its job, but still.. whenever I have taken sleeping tablets, whether they work or not (heavy on the not) they still feel like the-morning-after-with-no-night-before.

Cheaper, it has to be said....

Sleep is such a complicated subject, with more biological and sociological factors than we can shake a duvet at. (I can attribute my terrible grammar and sematics to insomnia.. for a while)

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now