I went through similar problems with my then 6-year old. She at first said "she didn't feel good" - but I suspected it was something else. She was old enough to sit down and have a talk, and she admitted it wasn't that she was sick, but she was worried about something that she couldn't quite define. Someone suggested to me that she had general anxiety, so I researched - there are lots of great books for parents of kids with anxiety - and it matched her issues. I started empowering her with tools to overcome her anxiety. For example, her anxiety would cause her to think she'd never fall asleep by herself. We started calling that the "worry bug" that was in her brain just telling her crazy thoughts. Everyone gets crazy thoughts - you don't have to believe them. Just like you can't help it when commercials come on t.v. - you don't have to buy what they are selling. Same with the worry bug. Also taught her breathing techniques to relax, gave her a nice sachet to smell, etc., etc.. A lot of these tools I got from the books. Also - I found a couple of kids books about anxiety and having trouble sleeping. They were too old for her at 6 to really read, but just seeing that there were books for kids and that other kids have this problem too really helped her relax a bit about it. The books might be all right for an 8 year-old, although a little bit of it may be too mature and you'd have to help him with it. The main thing is when he gets hysterical that he needs some kind of tools to help him learn to calm himself down. During the day, not at bedtime, talk to him about what is happening and how you want to help him. Also - just a note - my daughter is not completely cured. She has her moments every couple of months, and in general, if we upset the applecart to much and change something in her nighttime routine (such as her sister, who shares her room, maybe being at a party somewhere else) - she starts getting anxiety that she's not going to be able to sleep. But we go back and remind her of all the coping tools, and it's nowhere near as dramatic of an episode as it used to be. Good luck!