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Teenage Gifted Son can't get to sleep at night?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

My teenage gifted son 14 yrs old. Can't seem to get to sleep at night, he goes to a all gifted school, active in church, missions, is one of 3 boys and we are constantly running somewhere. But when it comes to bedtime he lays there eyes wide open, if he reads he has to finish the book (literally), music keeps him awake, any little noise, any lights. I'm at my wits end when he wakes up he is exhausted and falls asleep in school. Any suggestions on how to help him relax and get to sleep? I'm not a fan of medications but at this point I'm wondering.....

post #2 of 11

 

Before trying medications, I would explore other options for good sleep hygiene, like

 

- changing late evening and bedtime routines that tend to rev him up - eg. reduce active exercise,  t.v., computer, reading if he won't be able to put the book down 

- removing stimulation that might interfere with sleep - eg. lights - even stray light from the street or electronic equipment, sounds of other people's activities - possibly move him into a separate bedroom if he's sharing now, maybe try a sleep mask and earplugs, 

- guided relaxation techniques with breathing and muscle relaxation

- meditation

 

If he has tried all of these things and is still exhausted, then I'd discuss it with his doctor. There may be other sleep issues, like sleep apnea (does he snore?) 

 

Teens are on a different wake/sleep schedule. It's normal for them to be wakeful into the wee hours of the night and sleep late into the day. Personally, I let it go as much as I can and let them decide their own sleep needs. I don't roust my kids out of bed on the weekends. It's hard, though, since they attend school, so I do encourage them to get a good night's sleep which means turning in earlier than they feel like it. 

 

 

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

No snoring, does share with brother but his brother (5 yrs younger) is put to bed first and he is sound asleep by the time this one goes to bed. He also has bed wetting issues once every 2 weeks or so. At first I thought  he was staying away to avoid wetting the bed, but he says no. When I turn him in early it is a fight "I CANT SLEEP, SO WHY ARE YOU SENDING ME TO BED EARLY" kind of thing. He did wear ear plugs last night but I gave him some Melatonin (natural sleep aid). It was a rough night last night......

post #4 of 11

It's actually pretty normal at this stage. Teenagers need a lot of sleep but their cycles are all messed up. My own DD is wired at night and would love to sleep all morning but she's has to leave for school at 6:30 so can't do that. We have a 9pm "bedtime" but we know she is up an hour or two later on a regular basis and up until the wee hours on some occasions. We try to be flexible as long as she's happy and interactive in the day. I know it's not the same situation as your son but just sharing that you aren't alone and the world is filled with teenagers who don't sleep!

 

As someone with insomnia issues, I can tell you that lying in bed for hours only makes things worse. Once that mind starts racing, it's impossible to shut down. I was given some great advice. If you try to go to bed and don't fall asleep in 15 minutes, get up, do something else and then try again later. It usually results in my going to sleep within an hour or two as opposed to tossing and turning for 5 hours.

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

 

As someone with insomnia issues, I can tell you that lying in bed for hours only makes things worse. Once that mind starts racing, it's impossible to shut down. I was given some great advice. If you try to go to bed and don't fall asleep in 15 minutes, get up, do something else and then try again later. It usually results in my going to sleep within an hour or two as opposed to tossing and turning for 5 hours.


 

I suffer from insomina too, and at recent gathering of extended family members, I discovered it's true for many of us. It's considered a family trait, I guess, although I didn't know it before. Anyway, I find if I get up and start doing something else, I have to very careful what I choose. It might consume me until I finish. Two nights ago I was in my kitchen at 2:45 a.m., cleaning up and preparing muffins for Sunday breakfast. By the time I went back to bed, it was dawn and I considered heading outside for some exercise. I can't pick up a book or watch t.v. because I'll need to find out the ending.

 

Often I am better off trying some relaxation techniques and meditation, rather than getting up and roaming the house for hours. YMMV.

 

 

 

post #6 of 11



No I agree, when I get up, I tend to watch TV, maybe read or get on the computer. Doing anything physical tends to badkfire on me like you said.... start projects I can't put down. I really just focus on activities that keep my brain distracted and pull it out of whatever thoughts I was having while trying to sleep.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post




 

I suffer from insomina too, and at recent gathering of extended family members, I discovered it's true for many of us. It's considered a family trait, I guess, although I didn't know it before. Anyway, I find if I get up and start doing something else, I have to very careful what I choose. It might consume me until I finish. Two nights ago I was in my kitchen at 2:45 a.m., cleaning up and preparing muffins for Sunday breakfast. By the time I went back to bed, it was dawn and I considered heading outside for some exercise. I can't pick up a book or watch t.v. because I'll need to find out the ending.

 

Often I am better off trying some relaxation techniques and meditation, rather than getting up and roaming the house for hours. YMMV.

 

 

 



 

post #7 of 11

I just had to chime in on this one.

 

I have been plagued with this my entire life and one of my dc (older ds 15yo) also has this issue.

My problem is that I just cannot turn my brain off. I find it helps me to watch nonsense tv. I steer away from Nova or the NatGeo or History channel and tend to watch Frasier or Will and Grace or How I Met Your Mother. (this might tell you what time I go to bed;-) My "fix" for the issue may not work for you son but he is not alone. There are nights I lie awake for hours and, for me, the tv works. Although I do turn it off before I actually fall asleep.

 

GL and welcome!

post #8 of 11

How much physical exercise is he getting? My teen who was having some sleep problems last year is now running an hour a day and working out an hour a day and has no trouble falling asleep. (School PE and after-school sports weren't sufficient because they were overall much less sustained and usually lower intensity.) 

 

I'm also convinced that artificial lighting is a contributor to sleep problems. I've had a lot of success helping my kids get to bed and to sleep sooner by turning off overhead lights after dinner. Instead I provide low-voltage task lighting. And I try to remind everyone to dim computer screens as the evening rolls on. 

 

After all pre-industrial-revolution humans slept and woke by the sun, and mostly did hard physical work all day. We're built for that kind of a natural daily cycle. I think that's worth thinking about when we suffer from sleep troubles these days. I remember summers at my grandparents' cabin when we would spend all day swimming, and where we had to light oil lamps at night to read by. Everyone slept like logs up there, even my uncle who had chronic insomnia. We all feel asleep around 10:00 pm, even the teenagers... and that was on holidays, with no pressure to get up in the morning. 

 

(And just a reminder to make sure of course that he isn't drinking any caffeinated beverages at all... coffee, iced tea, colas, other soft drinks, etc.)

 

Miranda

post #9 of 11

Miranda has a great point!

Since ds started parkour he is sleeping much better, even later into the daywinky.gif This might be something to consider, adding an extracurricular?

 

FWIW Since my initial post I spoke with 16yo dd who said she uses breathing and meditation she learned at yoga class to help her sleep.

 

post #10 of 11

You mentioned that you gave him melatonin the other night. Does that help him? My 7 yo DS has a very hard time getting his brain to turn off at night (but sleeps very soundly once he falls asleep) and his ped recommended melatonin if all the regular things didn't work. The melatonin has been fantastic though we don't use it every night. If we use it a few nights in a row it seems to get his sleep clock in good shape and the effect will last about a week.

 

I can understand as I have a very hard time shutting off my brain as well. For me the best is to work on logic problems that are super hard because my brain will finally exhaust itself and allow me to sleep soundly.

post #11 of 11

When I was a teenager, I liked to read comics at bedtime -- not like comic books, but like a little book of Garfield comic strips.  That gave me something to lighten my mind, but each comic is so short you don't really get engaged in a story that you have to put thought into later.  We had a bunch of them -- Garfield, Peanuts, Gary Larsen stuff.

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