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Any suggestions for an insomniac 8 year old?

(22 Posts)
HoundOfTheBasketballs Thu 09-Mar-17 22:07:10

He can't sleep. He wants to go to sleep but he can't. This happens about once a week. I've explained sometimes people can find it hard to get to sleep but he gets himself so stressed out it's like he's trapped in a vicious circle.
I've finally managed to get the crying and shouting to stop and he's lying quietly.
I feel awful for him.
He's at his wits end. I'm at my wits end. And now I want to go to bed! sad

JonesyAndTheSalad Fri 10-Mar-17 10:10:52

Watch what he's eating when he gets home from school. Also look at relaxation stories on Youtube. What time does he go to bed?

jannier Fri 10-Mar-17 14:30:54

My son had this I was advised to .......
Make a sleep diary to see if you can link it to anything else that is going on...particular day, subject at school, food. etc.
Have a wind down time after dinner so you can talk through anything that has happened or is due to happen tomorrow and make plans if things are a problem.
Set up a relax routine bath chill story cuddle with no screens for an hour before bed removing all gadgets from room....except maybe a noise tape playing something relaxing like waves....sounds odd but it can give something to focus on other than I cants sleep.

Its awful and often the worry of not sleeping makes it worse.

fempsych Fri 10-Mar-17 14:37:59

Could look at relax kids, audio books on at bedtime, thinking time way before bed to talk about any worries/feelings, reframe trying to sleep as resting and that this is also good for our body...

HoundOfTheBasketballs Fri 10-Mar-17 18:14:23

Thanks for all your replies.

He goes to bed at 8pm and we read together until half past. Then I let him carry on reading for a bit if he wants to. Most nights he's asleep by nine at the latest.

We are already screen free from after dinner time. I had tried the YouTube videos of relaxing sounds/music the last couple of times it has happened and until last night it worked a treat.

In the end last night I ended up sitting with him for a bit doing relaxation breathing and visualisation techniques I've learnt in yoga classes! He finally went off to sleep at about 10:30!

I like the idea of keeping a sleep diary to see if there are any triggers and also having a quiet time to reflect on the day and talk about any worries. He's quite a buttoned up little soul though and doesn't like to talk about things. Hopefully having a specific time to think about his day every day will help him though.

Thanks again. Here's to a better night tonight! wine

uhoh2016 Fri 10-Mar-17 21:19:47

I'd hardly call him insomniac going to sleep at 10.30 , I'm assuming then he slept right through until the morning as you haven't stated he wakes up. I think you are making a bigger deal of it than it actually is making sleep time an anxious time for him .
Most nights he's asleep by 9 if not you're sat doing yoga with him til 10.30?? 🤔 if he's (on the odd occasion) not tired by 8.30-9 just leave him be to carry on reading or whatever relaxes him rather than putting on him your anxiety that he's not asleep

Petalbird Fri 10-Mar-17 21:23:55

Camomile tea? Helps when our 8 year old dss when he won't sleep due to fear of nightmares

HoundOfTheBasketballs Fri 10-Mar-17 21:28:17

I see where you're coming from, but believe me, I have tried just leaving him to read or sit quietly in his room, that has always been my first strategy.

However, last night he had got himself worked up into a right state about it. He desperately wanted to go to sleep. He didn't want to read or play, he was crying because he wanted to go to sleep but couldn't.

We weren't actually doing yoga either, at least not triangle pose or downward facing dog. More just lying still and breathing quietly and focussing on the breathing to calm down.

And the use of the term "insomniac" in the thread title was supposed to be a bit tongue in cheek.

HoundOfTheBasketballs Fri 10-Mar-17 21:30:25

Thanks petal.
I'll add warm drink to the list of things for next time, not sure how keen he'd be on herbal tea! But I'll give it a go.

uhoh2016 Fri 10-Mar-17 21:35:07

Lol hound maybe I took your post a bit too literal 🙈

missyB1 Fri 10-Mar-17 21:37:48

My 8 year old goes through phases of this as well, it's so frustrating. I know he's tired but it's like he can't switch off some nights. He has a good bedtime routine, I just have to let him read in bed until he eventually falls asleep but it's very late some nights (after 10pm). It's an issue because he really struggles to get up the next morning.

Wolfiefan Fri 10-Mar-17 21:41:44

Worry box or journal to jot down problems and maybe chat about them?
Something soothing like a light projector to focus on? Music? Watch some chill out TV? Maybe something funny?
My 7 year old is in bed by 7:30. 9 seems late anyway. What time does he get up?

thesandwich Fri 10-Mar-17 21:44:15

Dd had a pillow with a speaker in it to listen to stories at bedtime- helped a lot.

Sittinginthesun Fri 10-Mar-17 21:46:27

I have the odd night when I struggle to sleep, and was told that exercise helps - it burns off the adrenaline. I have been known to jog around the garden at 2am, and it actually works!

Is he getting enough exercise generally? Maybe a brisk walk around the block after tea might help?

user1471495191 Fri 10-Mar-17 21:49:03

I remember from being really little, imagining I was in a different place. A nice hotel room I'd slept in on holiday, or in our caravan listing to the rain, or sometimes a person grateful to get a bed in a hostel for the night. I would focus on the warmth of the bed, the clean softness of the sheets, the fact I was safe inside. This helps put other worries into perspective and I still do it to this day.

HoundOfTheBasketballs Fri 10-Mar-17 22:01:30

Lol uhoh, no worries!

Thanks for the continuing ideas and suggestions.
The poster who said it's like they can't switch off - it's exactly that. Some nights it's like he can't relax and shut down, I think it's probably a vicious cycle of over-tiredness. It's caught up with him tonight though, he was out like a light before 9.
I can't really put him to bed any earlier, although I'm not sure it would help. Because I work full time we don't get home until 6:30 and then I have to do dinner etc.
I love the idea of pretending to be going to sleep somewhere else! Might even try that myself tonight! smile

Carrie76 Sun 12-Mar-17 22:13:05

My 6 year old can find it hard to sleep some nights. We got him a planetarium for his room. Cost £5 and projects stars onto his ceiling, he lies still looking at it and it seems to work sending him off to sleep. Otherwise he spends time sitting up and saying I can't sleep and fidgeting trying to get more comfortable. This way he stays put and it seems to help

minipie Tue 14-Mar-17 12:42:18

Hi, there are kids bedtime meditation CDs which get good reviews on amazon. I haven't tried them myself (my DD has the opposite problem, wakes early and can't get back to sleep).

I will try to find a link

I think something which distracts him without stimulating is a good idea - so he's not lying there thinking "i must sleep" which can make people even more tense.

minipie Tue 14-Mar-17 12:42:58

link here

There's a whole series

lovelycuppateas Tue 14-Mar-17 12:55:23

Hi, my son was the same. Although it's worth trying, meditation, writing things down etc and all the rest of the stuff that was directly related to helping him sleep just made him anxious and more agitated. What worked for us was audiobooks, particularly the Hiccup How to Train Your Dragon etc audiobooks (which David Tenant reads brilliantly). I used to put them on with a sleep timer out of his reach and tell him that he could just listen to the story as long as he wanted and, of course, he fell asleep. He just reads his own books now and is fine. Good luck with whatever you try, I know how difficult this is flowers

anniebambammie Wed 15-Mar-17 13:24:36

I was like this when I was little (and still get the odd pangs of sleep anxiety now!) I can still picture the fear/stress of desperately wanting to sleep and not being able to, I used to panic. I couldn't handle ticking clocks because of the reminder that I wasn't asleep! I also remember being told off by my mother for waking her up when I couldn't sleep once. You sound like a lovely mum and I can tell you that everything you are doing will be making your little boy feel loved and comforted which will absolutely help with his anxiety.

HoundOfTheBasketballs Wed 15-Mar-17 20:14:52

Thanks for the continued support and suggestions. DS is back with me after four nights with his dad so fingers crossed he goes off alright tonight.
As much as part of me loves the idea of audio books, I also worry that he'd get totally engrossed in them and end up listening for hours, he never falls asleep when I'm reading to him. Will beat them in mind though. smile

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