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QUESTION: My 8-Year-Old Is Incapable of Getting More Than 4 Hours of Sleep a Night: Advice?
“My son is 8. He barely sleeps. He might get 4 hours a night.
I took his TV and Xbox out of the room, but I still hear him up at 3, 4, 5 a.m. Melatonin will put him to sleep, but only for 2-3 hours.
His bedtime is 9 p.m.. I tried chamomile tea as well. When I was pregnant with him, I couldn’t sleep. What do I do?”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“Have him run laps, ride his bike or scooter around for at least an hour. Sounds like he needs to burn some energy.”
“My son did not sleep very well. Get together with his teacher and guidance counselor and see if he has trouble sitting still. My son was diagnosed with ADHD at 5 years old.”
“School should kept him busy in the mornings, but also learning activities from books, fun activities like painting, using water ect. Get creative. Ones school is over take him outside to play, ride bikes, scooters, running, going on walks ect so many outside activities. After that a nice warm bath and dinner, a nice book and hopefully his little mind is so tired from keeping busy all day. Get him on a daily routine doing the same stuff pretty much and have times. All my kiddos are in bed by 8pm. But we are busy all day long. And not much tv, or tablets, and no video games at all. I personally don’t think they are helpful for young kiddos.”
“I’m assuming all the parent comments here come from their own stories and frustrations. Everyone is different. My mother tells stories about coming into my room at all hours, and I was quiet, but awake, even back as far as my crib years. I am 63 years old and still rarely get more than 3 hours of sleep a night and I can skip sleep altogether for a night or two. I have had sleep studies done. The ‘funniest’ one was the technician yelling at me all night that I had to go to sleep because otherwise he couldn’t do the study…
… Um…. that’s why I was there, connected to the wires! He finally kicked me out at 5 a.m. ..and sent a note to my doctor that I was uncooperative! I am healthy and energetic. I get outdoors. I have raised children and am very active in my grandchildren’s lives. I have more energy actually than most people I know. I rest… I’ll watch mindless TV for hours to give my brain a break. Some people simply don’t need the traditionally recommended amount of sleep. So sure, investigate in case there’s an issue. But there may not be.”
“Limit screen time at night! Try having him read 15-30 minutes before bed! If that doesn’t work I’d see about upping his melatonin intake! I use melatonin and occasionally I have to up it or I’ll only sleep a few hours! I wouldn’t up it by much maybe half of the normal dosage you give him.”
“Don’t allow naps – if he is taking them stop. Ensure he is up at same time every morning. CBT-i coach is an app that’s free that has some good techniques.”
“Take him to a sleep specialist. My daughter was finally diagnosed with sleep apnea at age 12. She didn’t sleep through the night from birth until age 5. And even until recently would still wake up a lot of times. We finally know why and are taking care of it. She gets fitted for her CPAP tomorrow.”
“Go get a sleep study done on him and see what his doctor recommends when the results come in. It could be a number of issues.”
“Try the Calm app played through a Bluetooth speaker it has sleep sounds and stories. That is what I use my younger son uses one that plays just sounds at night. Since we play it through Bluetooth he sleeps so much better.”
“I would get him a fitness watch that tracks his sleep (we like Fitbit). He may be getting more sleep than you think and some of the noise he’s making in his sleep. It will also help him to set a goal of steps per day and that could tire him out more. Also try a weighted blanket.”
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