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7 year old can't get to sleep

(8 Posts)
Cherys Mon 11-Jan-10 22:54:46

My son has been complaining for ages that he can't get to sleep at night. Last term I put it down to excitement as it was such a busy term with lots of shows and then the run up to Christmas, but he hasn't settled down and is getting very upset by it, coming downstairs at 10 pm saying he just can't sleep.

He doesn't have tv before bed, has a set routine which includes a bath, snack, stories, teeth, prayers, cuddles. He shares a bedroom with his brother who falls asleep quite easily.

We've tried relaxation techniques, even some mild self hypnosis (Just him thinking the word 'sleepy') and tried letting him have the light on to read a couple more pages, but nothing seems to work. Now I'm having to drag him out of bed at 8am to get to school on time. Until recently he's always woken up at about 6-6.30 am.

If anyone has any ideas of what might help him, I'd be really grateful.

Thanks, and sorry for long post but I wanted to let you know what we've already tried.

Strawberrycider Mon 11-Jan-10 23:05:31

Hi Cherys

My 7yr old son has been having exactly the same problem since September (start of Yr2). He never had any trouble going to sleep before then. There was another thread about a 7yr old boy with this problem a few weeks ago - it must be something about their age?

I have tried all the things you have, but he just seems to have trouble switching his brain off. He gets very upset if he is awake at 10pm and says he won't be able to go to school because he will be too tired - and of course the more upset he gets, the harder he finds it to go to sleep.

I have had a bit more success lately with a special relaxation CD for children that I bought from Amazon. It has three tracks on it and I just leave it playing at very low volume from start to finish (one track just didn't seem to be enough - the whole CD is over an hour long though!). He is usually asleep well before the end. I'm hoping that this will reinforce in his mind that he can get to sleep by himself. In an attempt to make him less anxious, I've also told him that now he's a bit older, it doesn't matter if he doesn't go to sleep as early as he used to and that he can always sleep in a bit at weekends.

Cherys Mon 11-Jan-10 23:17:22

Strawberrycider - thanks for that. How interesting, what you say about the age group.

That relaxation CD's a great idea (one we haven't tried yet) Do you have the name of the CD? Thanks

smee Tue 12-Jan-10 12:00:28

Chery's it sounds like 'Bedtime Meditations for kids' by Christine Kerr. We have it as my boy's 5 and the same, but then he's always been like this. We've despaired over the years and tried pretty much everything from cranial to dietary solutions. Now though we've accepted it's probably just who he is. So the only thing I might advise is to try not to let him get stressed by it. We have a gentle bedtime routine too, so bath, stories, recently I've added in letting DS read in bed with light on for 20 minutes. I then go in and tell him time's up, switch off his light and he tries to go to sleep. If he's quiet and has obviously been trying, then after 40 mins or so I agree to putting on some music on low or an audio book - though always one that he knows backwards so he won't stay awake to hear what's going to happen. Lights in his room are v. v. low - he gets scared if we try and make it completely dark - and he knows he's not to get out of bed, which he sticks to. If Strawberry's CD is the same one we've got, it is good and DS does quite like it but unfortunately it makes him laugh rather than relax...!
After a fair few years of this I've given up pretty much, but equally don't worry as much now as DS seems to quite like the time and spends it inventing things in his head and he doesn't get how to zone out. We make sure he's got lots of time in the day to think and invent but that makes no difference either.
Still, if anyone out there's got any ideas I too would v.much love to hear them.

jeee Tue 12-Jan-10 12:04:39

I tell my non-sleepers not to worry, but pretend to be asleep. That way they'll be rested in the morning even if they don't get to sleep. A few minutes later I hear the gentle snores materialising from their bedrooms. The next morning they tell me that they didn't sleep ALL night, and I smile sweetly and tell them that at least they're rested. I guess this solution won't work with genuine non-sleepers but it might be worth a try?

smee Tue 12-Jan-10 14:22:02

Sounds good jeee, that's why we insist DS stays quiet in bed, but he annoyingly doesn't nod off. Still at least he's rested and he does always go to sleep in the end...

smee Tue 12-Jan-10 20:00:13

should have said jeee, we've tried the 'pretend you're asleep' idea. It's definitely worth a go, but doesn't seem to work for us. I've even sat in the corridor to make sure he's still and quiet to no avail. ho hum..

Shybairns Sun 31-Aug-14 21:32:13

This thread has made me feel so much better. Having the same issues with my 7yr old. Will try the relaxation CD.

As this is an old thread. Would anyone out there have any other ideas about a 7yr old DS who can't get to sleep?

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