Help! My 10 year-old has insomnia!!

UPDATE 2011  ~  I’ve noticed alot of traffic coming to this particular post, so I thought I would add a little post-script here.  This insomnia issue lasted a few months, and then it seemed to resolve on it’s own.  We continued doing all of our regular nighttime rituals and all, and I don’t know, the problem just seemed to work itself out… so if you are here because your own child is experiencing this problem, I wouldn’t worry about it just yet…. maybe it is just something in the growing up process that some kids’ bodies/minds have to work through, and if we don’t add additional stress by freaking out about it, it will probably be just fine!  Best wishes to you!
This is so true ~   from an article I read on the internet, about childhood insomnia ~
“A child waking up in the middle of the night is a crisis forthe whole family,” said Goetting. “It destroys quality of life.The emotions accompanying the event start with sympathy andcaring, but if a parent can do nothing and the child can’t goback to sleep, feelings of anger and frustration emerge.”
I am beginning to get very frustrated with the situation here.  About 2 nights a week or so, Kiki cannot fall asleep.  Tonight, for instance.  She’s been in bed for almost 3 hours, but she’s not yet asleep.  At first, she gets sad.  Then she gets frustrated.  Finally, she gets angry and completely irrational.  She starts crying and yelling, and kicking in her bed…she says she wants to go to sleep but can’t.  I don’t know what to think.  The first several times I got mad at her and thought she was just being a brat, but then Alan found out what was going on, and told me he had the same trouble when he was a kid….weird. Often, after all else has failed,  I bring her downstairs and put her to sleep in the guestroom.  That usually does the trick…I don’t know why…change of scenery??  She likes her bedroom, likes her big comfy bed….so I don’t know.  Certainly the kitten hasn’t helped…about bedtime he gets all wound up and starts attacking her toys and things, (mind you, the minute I brought Kiki downstairs and put her in the guestroom and shut the door, the stinky cat curled up on the office chair in here and is sound asleep…I think cats are from the devil! ) Kiki’s room doesn’t have a door I can use to shut him out (it’s the upstairs bonus room, not actually a bedroom)  Tonight she was practically screaming at him because he was “irritating” her. I could hear her and I was downstairs on the opposite side of the house.  This can’t be good for her, and it is certainly messing up my sleeping…. I don’t know, maybe she’s stressed or something?  Does she need counseling??   I am going to try to put her to bed earlier and on a more regular schedule.  I read that this is supposed to help.  Being an only child, we tend to let her stay up…she’s just “one of the little gang”, so to speak – not to mention that since several days a week we don’t really have to get up early, I tend to be lax about bedtime.  Because I prefer to sleep in.  Other than that, I am at a loss…if the bedtime shift doesn’t help, I have no other ideas….  Does anyone else have any ideas?? 

8 responses »

  1. Hi Ann!   Once again, I\’m getting caught up.
    I have not had a child experience insomnia although I have had it at times myself.  That is such a hard one because I\’m not sure how much you can do about it.  I suppose if it lasts for any length of time you can see what the pediatrician says…. I\’m not an advocate of sleeping pills but I wonder if there is some other holistic/alternative type of remedy??  Or just have her read Moby Dick at bedtime, that should do the trick! 
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  2. Hi Ann,
    First, some questions for you…
    Does she watch tv or videos?
    Does she drink anything with caffeine or have sugary things?
    Does she have any artificial dyes or colors in her foods?
    Does she fall asleep fine and then just have the trouble in the night?  Does soft music help to fall asleep?
    Are her bedding or pj\’s too warm?  Is the house too warm?
    Does she have any allergies?
    Does she sense any tension?
    Could the kitty be kept secluded in another part of the house when she goes to sleep in her room?
    Could she have a small bladder and need to wake up to pee?  Does she have a nightlight for going back to sleep?
    Does this happen when she is anticipating something the next day?
    Lots of questions, hopefully some answers…

  3. Are there any strange noises or shadows in her room that might not be present in the guest room?  When you\’re trying to fall asleep little things seem magnified. 
    Praying this gets resolved for you all…

  4. My oldest has had trouble sleeping since he was in junior high.  I am pretty sure it was because of all of the caffeine, the video games and the anxiety he has.  Even when I tried to eliminate soft drinks after school, he would go buy his own or sneak to Grandma\’s house to get more.  The other two haven\’t had problems sleeping.  We have always had a bedtime routine, and even when the kids were little, I never had trouble getting them in bed, or getting them asleep.  Andrew is so conditioned to going to bed by 10:00pm, I don\’t even have to tell him to go to bed.  Victoria starts getting ready for bed at 8:00pm by brushing her teeth and getting on her jammies, and if she does it quickly, she can read in bed until 8:30, when I go tuck her in.  She likes her bedtime routine and hates it when it is messed up.  Hope Kiki starts sleeping better soon! (I would definitely shut that kitty away someplace at night, or put a door on Kiki\’s room)

  5. Oh, Ann.  I remember when I was in 9th or 10th grade.  I could not for the life of me fall asleep.  I would sometimes lay in bed for 2 or 3 hours.  But, it was because I had so many thoughts running through my head.  I worried about stuff until I was so wound up I couldn\’t fall asleep.  What did I have to worry about?  Everything from "did I study enough for that test?" to "when am I going to get a boyfriend?!?!?" to I think my mom is mad at me.  But, as a child I was extremely sensitive and carried a lot of misplaced guilt.  I could feel guilty about stuff I had no part in. So, I had so much running through my mind that I was going crazy.  I finally just decided that each night I would rebuke the thoughts.  It took a week or two.  I would tell myself that I wasn\’t going to worry about anything.  It finally worked.  I haven\’t had that problem in a long time.  Now I barely make it to the pillow!
    I hope you figure it out and Kiki sleeps well.

  6. Ann,
    Came by to wish you and your family a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving. 
    Good questions from Jacque.  Might help narrow down things that could be contributing to it. 
    Love and hugs,

  7. This used to happen to me when I was a kid.  I would finally get so upset about not sleeping that I would cry and eventually sob myself to sleep.  When I hear those advertisements for restless leg syndrome, it reminds me of that time.  Only I seemed to have restless body syndrome.  I would definitely ask her doctor about it.  I now have to take melatonin regularly, especially if I don\’t get a certain amount of sunshine and exercise every day, but I tell ya, I sleep like a rock!  I hope you find an answer.
    I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!
    Oh and thank you for your support on the Fritofeet.  I was beginning to think I was screwy… well I AM screwy but… never mind.

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