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506 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Pinky Tuscadero
My DD (8 years old) has a terrible time falling asleep. Bedtime is at 8 with reading until 9. She is usually still awake until 11 or later. She also tends to get up during the night for drinks, etc.
Now we are homeschooling and she can sleep as long as she needs to in the morning. The started before though and even when she was getting up at 7 every morning she couldn't fall asleep at night. (now at least she is less cranky since she can sleep later in the morning)
It's getting worse. She used to be fine during the day and now she is sleepy. She tries to take a nap (her choice) and can't fall asleep. She was so tired last night at 9 that she could hardly keep her eyes open and at 11 she was still trying to fall asleep.

Is there any chance that she is missing something nutritionally? We are searching for answers to help her and I thought that was as good a place as any to start.

Is there anything she could add to her diet that would help her sleep?

Thanks! If there is any other ideas of what we could do feel free to share too.
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I assume she doesn't have caffeine in her diet. Chocolate can cause restlessness, too. I would recommend Hyland's Calms Forte. It is a natural relaxer. I know another mom that uses it with success for the same reason as you.


Does she have any food allergies? How much fat does she get? Does she eat sweets? Processed foods? Juice? How much outside activity does she get each day? Is she watching movies, playing video games, playstation, ds, psp, etc.?

I don't have any direct answers. I know my 8 yr.old struggles with this, as well. We've mostly found that it correlates to not enough physical activity outside during the day. Also, too many sweets seem to disrupt his ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. When he has trouble falling asleep, a back rub, leg rub, shoulder massage, etc. help him relax and get the focus off him not being able to sleep. Instead of him having to get up for a drink in the night, we give him a cup with a lid by his bed. Also, having the room totally dark helps him.

He still has the problem, though, so I'm not entirely sure what the solution is.
Have you read the book "Sleepless in America"? Some of the suggestions there might help. Otherwise, you might want to look into the Failsafe diet as food chemicals (natural or otherwise) can cause sleep problems.
No caffeine, she doesn't have chocolate on a regular basis. We've tried the Calms Forte and it doesn't do much for her. (works great for me though! just not on her)

Food allergies--Not that I know of.
Fats, processed foods, sweets, etc-- Not sure. She eats pretty well. Seems to regulate her sugar intake pretty good on her own. She will tell us when she doesn't think she should have more. (and we don't do sweets everyday anyway) We have some processed foods in the house, but it's not all she eats.
No juice

She definitely doesn't get enough outdoor time. Probably too much TV.
It's our big weakness. Any ideas on how long before we would see results if that's it?

I'll also try the back rubs and that book. I've heard of it before and wanted to read it anyway.
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I also have a little night owl (4.5 yrs) who has trouble quieting her mind enough to fall asleep. And even at her age, she'll fall asleep at 10, be up at 8, repeat for several days and still not go to sleep early unless we throw in a strategically timed car trip - and I know that is not enough sleep for her. I'm also looking for solutions, but I have noticed that:

-- any sweets, cookies, juice, etc. after mid-afternoon definitely doesn't help
-- tv is definitely not good for her sleep - we're currently 6 weeks into a trial "tv free break" and it has helped - when she had long afternoons of tv it really wound her up and put her in a foul-mood in the evening. Mine are younger than yours but it only took a few days for me to see the difference and bizarrely after bugging me all the time for a few days, they have 98% forgotten tv existed (it had to be completely out of sight and access). Of course it's helped that we've been able to get outside a lot now to replace it.
-- lots of fresh air and exercise is needed for sure
-- there does seem to be a "magic window" that is so hard to catch, but when they do fall asleep more easily (I notice it more clearly with my littler one and myself, but think it's there for all of us). Because I anticipate her staying up later, I think I tend to get into bad habits of letting dinner and bed time slip later so I don't spend half the day on it. But sometimes I do think that I miss a mellow moment because we still have to brush teeth etc.

I am a huge night owl, as was my father and my grandmother, so I'm sure genetics are at work here. But I know I have a distinct low point around 9:30/10pm - if I force myself to go to bed then, I'll fall asleep easily. Otherwise, I'll happily stay up until 2am and still have trouble falling asleep!

I would like to find a way to try introducing a cup of warm milk into the routine because I know it helps me. It's great that your dd doesn't have to be up in the morning - we're facing a one-hour earlier start in September that we're all going to have a rough adjustment to, I think!
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Mmmm, I read somewhere that eating cherries helped you to fall asleep, I'm trying to remember . . . I think it's the melatonin that helps calm you for sleeping??? Don't know if that would help you any or not, but I just thought I'd throw that out at ya.
One of the good kids sleep books says outdoor time/sunshine in the morning is crucial for resetting your circadian rhythm and internal clock. Also, have you tried chamomile tea before bed? My mom swears by it.
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