8yo with sleep anxiety

(7 Posts)
rasberrynipple Sat 09-Jan-21 09:53:38

My 8 yo son for the past week is suffering from major sleep anxiety. He will not settle!
We have been isolating for the past two weeks so our usual routine has been non existent. Lots of screen time, Tv etc. Pretty much what most families are dealing with right now. He's in bed around 9.30 watching a film I will check up on him various times then tell him tv will have to go off. When I come to bed he will be sobbing, fidgeting and sounding genuinely distressed. I eventually got in bed with him last night he drifted off around 1.30am. He has never had problems sleeping before this.My partner was shouting at him last night sad
I'm going to get him out the house today to try and tire him out!
Is anybody experiencing anything similar? I'm upset he's so unsettled and I'm thinking he has anxiety at the moment!

OP’s posts: |
gettingolderbutcooler Sat 09-Jan-21 12:15:19

I have all the feels.
Thank god for tv etc though.
Nonetheless now school routine is on again, mine are back to bedtime at 8.30 and no screens after about 7 ( we all give in sometimes don't we?!).
Useful articles about screens causing sleeplessness hence recommending none for an hour before bed.
Like when he was little, do a pat/reassure and then leave. Return as necessary and repeat. Explain about screens- I let mine look at the online advice as they were old enough.

AuntyJack Sat 09-Jan-21 12:35:32

Instead of movies what about listening to an audiobook with earbuds, while in bed with a dim lamp on and eyes shut. He may fall asleep and you can come in and pause the book and turn off the lamp for him?

Exhaustotron Sat 09-Jan-21 12:47:05

I would implement a good routine and good sleep hygiene. It's not pretty, or easy. But it'll help.

Firstly, get him up at a normal time (ie before 8am)
Importantly, get him outside for a walk or something in the garden. It's important to get bright full spectrum light in the morning to set the body clock. Even all the lights on, inside on a sunny day the light will be many times dimmer inside. So go outside. Pretend you're walking to school or something. 20mins minimum if possible.

Then he needs some structure & routine, particularly during the week. So school work, set break and lunch times. TV & games for the afternoon.

Dim the lights in the evening.

No screens at all for at least an hour before bed. Reading books only.

A hot bath. Warm milk. And if he can't sleep let him read for as long as he needs to.

And repeat.

You can get reading lights which are orange-red spectrum that won't interfere (as much) with the circadian clock.

I would avoid audiobooks as they need a phone/tablet nearby which means more screens and blue light interfering with the circadian clock.

ThatBitch Sat 09-Jan-21 12:48:02

My 8yo dd struggles. The things that help her are no screens after 6, audio books on an Alexa and she has a lamp that is controlled by her Alexa so she doesn't have to get out of bed when she feels herself getting dozy, we can also turn down the brightness. She has a weighted blanket and I put lavender cream on her feet and fluffy socks as I know I can't sleep with cold feet! Also it's a nice relaxing 5 mins together while I rub her feet and chat about the day.

On days she is really struggling we do a warm bath with lavender bubbles and Epsom salts.

I also make sure she has a decent size tea around 5 so her tummy has time to settle.

One thing we have been focusing on for lockdown is making sure she has plenty of exercise and fresh air, so a nice walk once a day, a stretching and flexibility video on YouTube, some dancing and playing in the garden when suitable weather.

Exhaustotron Sat 09-Jan-21 12:49:39

Oh, and limit snacks before bed too. Leave two hours between food & bed if you can. Eating is another way the circadian clock is set.

He might feel hungry, but a glass of water will help.

I recommend reading/listening to Matt Walker speak about sleep. He's on lots of podcasts.

rasberrynipple Sat 09-Jan-21 12:56:22

Thank you all, I have been trying to get him to read with his reading light he tells me his brain is feeling a bit dizzy! I'm hoping now we are allowed out we can plenty more exercise. He is quite an active child usually. I'm a key worker and hoping he can return to school on Monday.
Ive been trying to homeschool this week but he is so unmotivated and uninterested- this leads to arguments and frustrations.
I know it's such a a crappy situation for all! Hoping this passes he looks like a zombie today all pale and kind of withdrawn!

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