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12 year old girl is stressed out
anon9999 posted:
My 12yr old daughter seems stressed and cannot sleep well. She says that no matter how early she goes up for bed she deosn't fall asleep until 11 or later. Each morning, she takes forever to get ready for school and nearly misses the bus every day and sometimes does miss it. Her answer to why it takes so long in the am is that she's just too exhausted. She said she just can't fall asleep at night and just lays there thinking about everything. We've tried letting her tale a melatonin pill in the pm, also Tylenol PM but it doesn't seem to help. We've told her if she's still awake 1 hour after "lights out" to call down to us and let us know she's still awake. We've read that it's not good for them to lie there awake for too long so we then tell her she can get up and do something quiet for 20 minutes like knitting or reading and then back to bed. She says it hasn't helped her get to sleep any earlier. We tried not putting as much stress on an exact bed time so she's not racing against a deadline to get to bed. Nothing seems to help so far. The mornings are horrible as her bus time approaches and she's still not ready. Nothing seems to move her along. If she misses the bus and has to be driven to school, she loses her electronics for a day (and she LOVEs her Ipod and computer time). Still happening. She used to be over-scheduled with karate, piano lessons, school play, and horse riding. She's cut out some of these activities to focus on her favorite, which is her riding. She was in the school play but that was a limited time commitment. For the past couple of weeks her only after school activity has been riding which she absolutely loves to do. She does well in school. She has all honors classes and gets 4 A's and one B. She beats herself up about the B in math becuase it keeps her on the regular honor roll instead of Superior which her friends are on. We've never pressured her about her grades and always praise her and reward her for her good grades.

Any ideas on how to get her to sleep more and not have such extremely stressful mornings?
moonbeamgarden1 responded:
Some kids are night owls. They try so hard to change their body clock but can't. My DD is one of those. Bottom line is that your DD should go to bed at the same time everynight; say 10 or 11PM. And just stay put. No yelling down to you. No texting, computer, phone after that time. Have her shower and drink a warm cup of milk before bed. Like an hour before. Then just help her get up and ready in the morning. Eventually her body will adjust. My DD is a sophmore in HS now and she gets herself up and out to the bus by 7:05 every morning. I still make her breakfast and just have it ready for her. Otherwise, she regulates herself. She showers at night and keeps her own hours. She is responsible for doing well in school and be responsible for her own stuff. Your DD just needs time and support from you. It's not her fault her body clock doesn't work well with the rest of the world!
phoenix31674 responded:
If you look on the internet about sleep problems, some recommendations included dimming the lights and shutting off all electronics at least one hour before bed time. This may require a massive adjustment of schedules if she's been working on her homework or doing stuff with her electronics up until bed time. This hour would be the time to do the quiet activity in the common area. The bedroom should only be for sleeping, so make sure there isn't a TV or computer there that she might turn to for distraction.

Something else to maybe look into is yoga before bed to help relax. There are evening yoga exercises that could help her relax her mind.

also, just have her move her bedtime back 15 minutes at a time from when she normally falls asleep. This should help her gradually shift her bedtime earlier. It's the same thing they recommend for smaller kids when approaching the time change. Trying to drastically shift it can be almost impossible.

Just one other thought, does she perhaps go through a period earlier in the evening when she's tired and then pushes through? Part of the trouble may be that she's overtired given that she's being woken up before her sleep cycle is over.

Sadly many teenagers are wired to fall asleep late in the evening and schools have not done them any favors with scheduling school start times so early. a few years back a study was conducted showing it's best to start the elementary schools first since those kids tend to be early risers and high schools starting around 9am. School districts aren't complying with that, so we as a nation are fighting biology in trying to get our kids to school.

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