Mothering Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This has been happening for almost 1 year, on and off, but lately more on than off. I am a single mom and we have separate bedrooms, he goes to sleep fine, then in the middle of the night he wakes up and comes to my bed...falls right back to sleep but I wake up and cannot sleep anymore. I tried explaining to him that if I don't sleep through the night I cannot function the next day. I tried sending him back to his bed, he says he is scared. During the day we talk about what is there to be scared of, he thinks someone can break into the house while we sleep. We live in a safe neighborhood, nothing ever happened to us or anyone we know that could cause him to feel this way. I imagine it could be something he watches, and the images come back at night. For 2 weeks, while my mom was visiting I slept in his room, on extra airmattress and he was fine, just knowing that I was in the room with him...I thought that from now on he was "cured" but, she left and now he started it again. I feel exhausted, sleep deprived all day dragging myself around...
Any ideas would be helpful!! Thanks!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,186 Posts
Night light and both sleep with doors open so he doesn't feel so separated from you? Honestly, if that was my son (who did do this for a couple of years solid until he was 10) I would really sit him down and tell him he is putting my health at risk, and he would start to be punished for it by losing privileges such as screen/computer time among other things.

If his fear is from something he watches/plays during the day, then he is to young to see whatever it is, and so you need to step in on that.


It took the "my health is now in danger" talk to get through to my son I really needed undisturbed sleep. Once every few weeks (5 to 8) he will ask if he can sleep with me and I will say yes on a Friday or Saturday evening, and he's happy with that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
I would first look at anxiety, then insomnia.

Based on my experience, when it comes to anxiety, I would first look at nutrition and physical health. The people I know who struggles with anxiety without obvious causes, also were not well nourished at the time. It isn't just about macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat), but about micronutrients--these come from eating a wide range of veggies primarily and also fruits, also shellfish, fish, and/or good quality meat & organ meat. The latter may sound pretty out there, but the truth is that it's easier to eat say a burger with organ meat mixed into it than to get all micronutrients from a mountain of veggies. Also the macronutrients should be good quality a fair proportion of the time, not too much reliance on pizza, etc etc etc. And either a probiotic or fermented food/drink. Then, is the person too sedentary. After that I'd look more at mindset specifically, though it is first in most people's perspective. Is he stressed about school, or socially, or something else? Work on maintaining a mellow environment at home, demonstrating good mental health practices, and talk over any stressors he may have, in a mellow way. Consider media changes too.

Next I'd look at insomnia. The night waking may trigger anxiety, but it starts as night waking, if he slept through the night in the first place his anxiety wouldn't matter so much. Is he waking from low blood sugar? Does he wake up feeling adrenaline panic? These could suggest adrenal fatigue related issues. If he snores I'd consider sleep apnea. Then there's long lists of sleep hygiene practices available with a websearch... I'd just go down the list. For lights, I recommend lowbluelights.com.

Of course moominmama's idea of keeping the air mattress by your bed is a great one and much quicker too :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,580 Posts
Has he always had problems with sleep in some way? Perhaps he is having the teenage version of night terrors, which are connected to brain wave activity that the person does not really have control over.

I would think at age 13 he would be somewhat self-conscious about sleeping with his mom and would be internally motivated to be in his own bed. That's what makes me wonder if it is something 'organic.'
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all so much for the replies, I will look into all alternatives above, do some more search and try different approaches. I will keep you posted on results!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,461 Posts
When I was about this age, perhaps a bit younger, I spent hours each night in a state of sheer terror. The fears shifted over time - fire, burglars, aliens, murderers, even sexual assault - as I became aware of these things. I would stand paralyzed at my door for hours before working up the courage to run to my parents' room. Then they'd tell me it was all in my imagination and send me angrily back to bed. Obviously the things I fears were imaginary, but the terror was very, very real. I'm not sure how to help you stop your son's night wakings, but I think it's really important to take his fear seriously.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,580 Posts
I just remembered something. THe Gesell Institute psychologists promote the idea that children have periods of equilibrium and disequilibrium. They take two steps forward and one step back in other words. I found this to be so true for my children. On this page they go through the different stages of childhood and the 'steps back' that are typical.

http://centerforparentingeducation....er-coaster-of-equilibrium-and-disequilibrium/

One of my children, male, really increased in anxiety in tandem with his increasing awareness of his gender and power dynamics in the world. He did get more reflective and then anxious at this age.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top