16 answers

10 Year Old Difficulty Falling Asleep

Has anyone used lemon balm (called Melissa in Europe) or Valerian root to help a child fall asleep? My mom used to use both and my online search seems to indicate lemon balm is very mild and soothing but Valerian can have side effects. My 10 year old daughter sleeps well but takes a long time to fall asleep (sometimes 2 hours). We have tried all the usual: reading to her (although she reads herself as well), soothing music, rain forest sounds CD, HEPA filter for the fan noise, no sugar after noon, warm milk, warm bath, etc. I am beginning to think she simply only needs 9.5 hours of sleep and perhaps I am putting her in bed too early (about 9-ish, and she falls asleep 10:30 or sometimes 11, occasionally even later). However, I can't help but think that if she could sleep 10 or 11 hours she would be better off. We tried Melatonin which worked great (only 100 micrograms was needed instead of the doctor recommended 3 grams!) but after a week it gives her nightmares. Any advice for herbal remedies since the behavior changes do not seem to help. Thanks.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the answers. We will try to be stricter with her bedtime since it is not consistent (or perhaps I should say consistently sort of late), we will ask her to read in her comfy chair and then move into bed, I read about "snack+snuggle+snooze" so we will give her a light bite to eat, some hugging and then lights out in bed. We have tried the sleepy-time tea but she can power through that it seems, for that reason I was considering something stronger. Her anxiety stems from school since she has just been formally diagnosed with dyslexia and inattention, and we are struggling with the school to get her some help. I will stay away from the Valerian since it can have scary side effects. Caressing her arms and face with a clean make-up brush seems to really relax her, which is fine occasionally, but too much work every night. Thanks all you mamas out there with your good advice.

Featured Answers

from the amount you have written I would suggest that you are worried about it. IMO the more you worry about it, the more the problem will continue. I think this is an example of a vicious cycle.

There is a a lemon based tea at teavana.com that is supposed to be fantastic for sleep. I have only heard of it but not tried it. Best to call the tea store and ask directly.

I do not mean to scare you or open a can of worms however have you assessed for anxiety issues. This age group often has the beginnings of sleep issues that are secondary to some other cause. Just a thought. Please disregard if you have already investigated this.

Best wishes.

More Answers

Your daughters' body is going through a change at this time in her young life. At this point your right, she doesn't need as much sleep as you think she requires'. However, there is a SleepyTyme tea that you can buy at any Health Food store. She is able to drink this at her age. Give it to her about an hour to two hours prior to bedtime and see if this works. It definetly won't hurt her.If you find that she is still not tired then she doesn't need the sleep. Is she active prior to going to bed. Has she lots to do to play her out. If shes' not doing a whole lot after school like chumming with friends and being out in the fresh air then she has nothing to make her sleep. As well when she is having a bath put some Epson Salts into the tub. This is very soothing and may help as well.
I wish you luck, but as I said, she is going through a change and it just may take some time for her to get back on track. I do think though that 8hrs. of sleep is plenty for her at her age. If she appears tired, she will make up for it maybe every second night or on wknds. Take care and don't worry mom, she is a normal child.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is 9 and has recently had some issues also with not being able to sleep and/or sleepwalking. At first we guessed it might be due to some anxiety about things happening at school (anxiety about upcoming tests at school or some issues she and some classmates were having getting along). Just as with babies, sometimes the child can actually be overtired and that makes it harder for them to fall asleep.

When it became a consistent problem I finally called our pediatrician and he had some good advice. One thing we did was to figure out how much sleep a child of her age really needs—it is still an average of 10-12 hours and we were falling short with inconsistent bedtimes and letting her stay up too late to read in her room. She is a kid that needs her sleep (as was evidence by crankiness in the mornings getting ready for school)! She was also reading in her bed which is a no-no (I like to do that too) so we created a reading corner in her room for her to read in and then climb into bed for sleep. We also started being more firm on lights out time and beginning our usual bedtime routine a bit earlier.

Also, we use lavender oil (a blend of lavender essential and sweet almond oil actually) at bedtime. I use it myself and it has seemed to help my daughter as well. We just dab a bit onto our wrists and behind our ears for the aromatherapy benefits. It is a natural alternative and safer than anything taken orally. There is a lot of scientific research too that supports its use to help with insomnia, etc. Just do an online search and you will find lots of articles.

Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

When I went to the yearly check up with my 8 year old, the doctor asked me if he gets at least 9 hours of sleep. I was surprised that he considered 9 hours to be enough, but when I thought about it I realized that my son really only did sleep about 9.5 hours and that he almost never fell asleep right away when I send him to bed around 9. I ended up letting him read for an hour before lights out, that way at least he does something fun instead of just lying there trying to fall asleep. Right now he usually goes to bed between 9 and 9.30 and I let him read till 10. He usually falls asleep between 10 and 10.30 and has to get up at 8 am. At first I felt a bit bad about letting him be up so late, but it has turned out to be a routine that works well for all of us.

1 mom found this helpful

I would see if you can go and see a sleep specialist. She is old enought that perhaps she could do a sleep study. I took my daughter to a sleep dr. last year and I have NO idea what took me so long to do that.. Good luck..
Are you sure the melatonin gave her the nightmares? Is it possible that she was just get good sleep that she might be been having the nightmares?

1 mom found this helpful

How long did you try the melatonin to see if maybe the nighmares would go away? It may be that her deep sleep, and the time she spends asleep just give her the opportunity to dream more. Maybe the recomended 3 grams would keep her from having them? Just a thought, since you found something that worked, I would try to figure out a way to do away with the side effect.

M.

There is a a lemon based tea at teavana.com that is supposed to be fantastic for sleep. I have only heard of it but not tried it. Best to call the tea store and ask directly.

I do not mean to scare you or open a can of worms however have you assessed for anxiety issues. This age group often has the beginnings of sleep issues that are secondary to some other cause. Just a thought. Please disregard if you have already investigated this.

Best wishes.

from the amount you have written I would suggest that you are worried about it. IMO the more you worry about it, the more the problem will continue. I think this is an example of a vicious cycle.

Chamomile tea can be very relaxing. You might want to make sure she has no caffeine at all or maybe none after noon). Try to make sure she wakes up same time week days and week ends and same with bedtime (to try to keep her on a regular schedule). Try to work in some aerobic exercise during the day (but not close to bed time). I have trouble in the winter if I don't get enough bright light during the day. For some reason a day in the sunshine makes me very tired at night (I always sleep very well after a few hours at the beach). If Melatonin works ( I never heard about nightmares with it before, but everyone is different), use it sparingly maybe once every 2 or 3 days. If you can't find a smaller dosage, maybe you can use a pill slicer (drug stores sell them) to get a smaller amount. Kids will need a little more sleep than usual during a growth spurt.

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