Ideas for 9 Yo Who Can't Fall Alseep (Occasionally)

Updated on October 21, 2014
C.S. asks from Crescent City, CA
15 answers

My 9 year old daughter falls asleep quickly and sleeps pretty soundly (though she is up at 6am everyday)...However, there are times where we have been super busy on a weekend or returning home from a trip and she can't get to sleep that night. I think she is overly tired. We usually know when its going to happen...we put her to bed and with in a few minutes we start seeing her reappear in the living room upset that she can't sleep. We tell her its ok and she just has to lay in bed. leave the lamp on? leave the door cracked? color/draw? Read a book? nope, she won't do that...she gets very stressed out that she can't sleep and continues getting more and more upset until she ends up sleeping in our room.

We usually can tell when this is going to happen and there is really nothing that has worked to calm her down. I feel horrible for her because I can tell that she is stressed out and can't calm,

I am just wondering if there are any tricks out there that we could try? Any ideas that we can encourage her to do?

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answers from San Francisco on

Interesting that everyone is mentioning Sleepytime tea. I just recently started drinking it at night and I'm sleeping better than I have in years! But I do get up to p twice a night.

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answers from Sacramento on

Try a small amount of melatonin. Kids with ADHD often take melatonin at night because their bodies have a hard time calming down enough for sleep. You can find melatonin just about everywhere -- markets, Target, etc. I'd start small with about 1 mg. (just cut the standard 3 mg. tablet) and work up if you need to. Our son's doctor recommended it when he was just four and it worked wonders the very first time we tried it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

My mother taught our daughter how to relax.
She talked her through relaxing her feet, relaxing her shins, relax her thighs, relax her back, relax her tummy, relax her chest and heart.. you get the idea..

We used to play quiet music, like "Enya' for her

I like Celestial Seasons Tea called sleepy time.

My Niece likes a product called "Rescue Remedy". They purchase it at Whole Foods. You spray your tongue and the herbs calm you down so you can rest.

I have friend that has discovered "weighted blankets" really calm her down. She has ADHD and is an adult. Some how the weight calms her antsy feelings at night.
This is the site she purchased from. They are here in Austin.

I also like a weighted Eye mask.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Sleepy Time Tea from Celestial Seasionings. It is chamolmille/mint and always helps us sleep.

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answers from Denver on

Sit beside her and have the lights off (or a nightlight). Practice some breathing and relaxation techniques, with you guiding her. Speak in a soft voice.

Have her lie on her back, with one hand on her chest and the other on her abdomen. Have her breathe in, and count to 5, then breathe out, and count to 5. But, only the hand that is on her abdomen should rise and fall. Her chest should not.

Also, have her tense her muscles, in order. Have her clench her toes, and count to 10 and relax. Then her knees, thighs, butt, shoulders, neck, arms, hands. With each muscle group, tense and count to 10 and relax. Keep your voice quiet and low.

After a while, she'll learn these techniques on her own and can practice them when she's feeling stressed or overtired.

Of course, these are just relaxation techniques that my daughter has learned; I'm not a professional, and you may find other techniques that are more helpful. But I believe they're pretty well regarded as well-accepted relaxation methods.

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answers from Abilene on

I second the sleepy time celestial tea at night. Please be very careful about melatonin. It gives my kids vivid nightmares and I've read some pretty convincing articles not to give it to children. I was taking it because I couldn't stay asleep and realized I was having bad stomach cramps (probably taking too much). Cut out the melatonin and my stomach cramps went away the same night.

Also agree with the relaxation techniques. One thing that comforts me and works almost every time is to recite scripture I've memorized or a hymn in my mind. I almost always fall asleep very quickly that way.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

This happens to my kids occasionally too and I tell them to not worry about it. They will sleep when they need to. I"m trying really hard for them to not develop a phobia. But you already do that. What does seem to help is for me to rub their backs. Rub or lightly scratch. Seems to sooth them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

When my kids are having a hard night after a busy weekend, I just fell them to listen to their breath and relax. Usually they fall asleep in 5 minutes.

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answers from Los Angeles on

You could try sitting on her bed for a minute & rub her back.

Putting a tiny sachet of lavender in her room but not too close to her bed.
It's calming. (I've put a dap of lavender oil on my sweatshirt collar when
I get in ded but not sure I recommend it for a young child because of the
scent. You don't want it to be overpowering.

You could do a little wave machine but make it ocean sounds on very low.

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answers from Washington DC on

everyone has trouble sleeping occasionally. i think the important thing here is give her a few tools so she stops getting upset over it. that's way more of a problem.
if you have the time and patience, sit with her and give a light backscratch while talking her through relaxation in a low, calm voice. think yoga teacher. 'relax your toes. stretch them out as far as they'll go, then let them go soft. pinky toe, ring toe, middle toe etc....... roll your ankle, then let your whole foot relax.......' keep going until you get to her hair. when you can let your hair relax, sleep is sure to follow.
but really, most kids should be able to lie in bed and read until they fall asleep. it's okay to help 'em out occasionally, but she really needs to figure out how to handle it without a lot of parental intervention by age 9. maybe transition her to reading to herself by reading her a book on tough nights.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My kid's are lousy sleepers. Their pediatrician recommended melatonin. They never had a problem with vivid nightmares.

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answers from Columbia on

Another vote for teaching her how to brew a cup of Sleepytime Tea and encourage her to do "bedtime stuff." Ignore her getting upset, and do not allow her to do anything other than go back to her room and relax. She's 9, not 3. She absolutely CAN calm herself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Not sure if this would work for a 9-yr old, but my sister just sent me an awesome meditation/sleep CD. It's called "A Good Night's Sleep" by Lauren Archer and is available on The first night I used it I slept awesome, like I had taken Nyquil. I've used it a few other nights when I couldn't get my mind to quiet down and it continues to work well. Only $10, so might be worth trying! I downloaded it to an iPad. It lasts around 39 mins, but you really don't get that far...just ends and turns itself off. Pretty darn cool! And no, I don't sell or get any proceeds from this. Just a fan!

Essentially, she just helps you relax your body and refocus your mind on a calm and happy place to help you sleep and turn off your brain.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

On the rare occasion my daughter is unable fall asleep, I give her 1mg of melatonin and pat her back. In my experience, patting puts a baby/child to sleep quicker than rubbing. I also downloaded an app on my phone that has sounds like rain, wind, waves, etc. and that has really helped.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

A good loose leaf tea that can encourage sleep would be great! (I have provided a link to what my family uses below.) But also, simply have her lay down on the couch with you and watch a silly movie can help, or maybe try a white noise app. Sometimes when I have had a stressful day the silence unnerves me and keeps me up.

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