16 answers

10 Year Old Takes a Long Time to Fall Asleep

My 10 yr old boy takes a long time to fall asleep yet we have to wake him up in the morning so it is not as if I am trying to get him to sleep too early.We do calm things down fairly early but it does not seem to make a difference.Any ideas?
Question number two is that he has been sleeping until now in a bed with my husband and daughter(too much squirming for me!).Recently we changed all of this and my daughter is sleeping fine on her own.But my son is really trained to having an adult body sleeping next to him as part of his comforting mechanism...any ideas on helping him switch to self soothing and falling asleep on his own? It did take him a long time to fall asleep in the family bed,tho,so I don't think this has changed cause now he is going to bed on his own.

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Hello everyone,
I just wanted to say thank you.I have not yet begun to put any of the advice I received in place but I am very touched by all the thoughtful responses.It's lovely to have your ideas and experiential information but even more lovely to feel the sweetness and strength of your support. My hat is off to all mamas out there ....you do rock!

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Hi P.-

Have you tried having him read for a bit in bed before he goes to sleep? Or maybe listening to some quiet music as he falls asleep? Both these things seemed to help my kids.

hope this helps-

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We've had to ask our pediatrician for help with bedtime issues, and her advice might help you with your first question. She said that our bodies need to learn that "bed" means "sleep" and it was actually counter-productive to just try to put my children to bed early when they would just lie there and take forever to go to sleep. We needed a plan to re-adjust our sleep schedules. She said that we should start by figuring out when our children tend to fall asleep (say, 10:30 pm), and then put them to bed no earlier than 15 minutes before that (10:15). If they stayed awake more than 15 minutes in bed, then it was too early.

After several nights of this later bedtime, so that they started to become accustomed to falling alseep in bed, then we could start moving bedtime up by about 15 minutes at a time, until we were at a more reasonable time (like 8:30 or 9:00). (This was matched with an set time to get up in the morning also, that we slowly moved earlier--the kids had been getting up too late also.) We tried this and it worked for us. Within a few weeks, we saw much improvement.

As for your second question, I'm not sure what to say about that, since a 10-year-old would seem to be plenty big enough to sleep on his own, or at least big enough to reason with about it. Maybe you could try a body pillow for him.
Good luck with it all.

1 mom found this helpful

We have a couple of wonderful tapes/CDs narrated by Jim Weiss that are beautiful stories that are almost visualizations that lead the listener into a calm, safe, cozy and sleepy state. One is called, "Good Night" and another is "Sweet Dreams". They are not too young for a 10 year old (or even for me!) and my daughter (now 11) still puts on the same tape night after night. There are six stories on each CD, each story ending in some calming music and then silence for awhile before the next one starts. And they are such beautifully woven stories (The Forest Cottage, The Toy Shop, Day on the Farm, The Desert Cove...) that one cannot help but be drawn in to another world. The boom box is right next to her bed and she is usually asleep before the first story is over. They can be purchased online, at children's bookstores or through the Chinaberry catalogue (Google it).

1 mom found this helpful

Hi P.,
My daughter had the same issues. We read to her at night in her bed and then we'd be soooo tired we'd end up falling sleep in there with her. It's cozy but we were creating a habit that was difficult to undo. What we do now is we go in and snuggle with her and say our good-nights and let her read herself to sleep. One of us goes in later and switches off the light and puts the bookmark in and pulls the book from her sleepy hands. If your son likes to read it might work for him. Our daughter is an avid reader and we have to often go in and tell her OK time to wrap it up. And she's out like a light on her own.
L. V.
Sonoma (50 years May 30th!)

You might try a body pillow? Same length as a person.

Lots of good advice already. I just wanted to add that my 10-year old son seems to fall asleep easier when he has the white noise of a fan or humidifier in his room. Often, he likes to get under a really warm blanket and let the fan blow on his face. That would drive me nuts, but it works for him.

What if you bought him one of those body pillows? That might just do the trick.


Hmmmm, this is why we ended the family bed when the kids were toddlers...

Does reading or listening to soft music help your son? Maybe a white noise machine? And I'd also recommend perhaps a full body pillow that he can hug. Good luck.

Hi P.:

1. Talk to your pediatrition for answers first. Get him a physical (check thyroid, blood work, etc)
2. Talk to a nutritionist and be sure to take away sugar, fake sugar (still stimulates), chocolate of any kind (hot chocolate too). Food is our medicine.
3. Be in agreement with husband and rest of the family that no t.v. programs or fast music playing or computer games for him first 2 hours before bedtime. Have a family meeting once a week to discuss issues, stress, let kids speak freely and this helps keep everyone on the same track.
4. Run him ragged during the day (not with errands) with a sport, swimming, trampoline (physical).
5 Be sure he is getting a b complex sufficient vitamen (for nerves)
6 Massage or slowly lightly scratch his back only in his new bad and make special things that only happen in his new bed (maybe even let him choose one of those bed toppers like memory foam or egg crate. Make his bed and his space to his liking.
7. Don't hurry him around all day ( we are all so busy) and expect him to learn to go slow.
8. Make his room special for him with no stimulating picture (relaxing nature), etc.

9. Does he have sensory inhibition dysfunction ( can't' stand the seams in his socks or jeans, does not like the back of head touched, hyper, bumps into other children for stimulus, has some social skill problems ? Read "The Out of Sync Child" this was my daughter now a teen. Seams don't hurt but they overstimulate the nervous system and cause anxiety (like scratching a chalk board). Some doctors don't know about this but very common with in autistic kids but now in non autistic kids too.

Good Luck Sweetie

10. Stay calm yourself

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