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Not Sleeping: From the Teen’s View

by Jacob P. | November 13th, 2012 | Teen Perspective, Teens

Sleep and I are not exactly best friends. I am frequented by nights in which I have trouble falling asleep or am not tired when it’s time to go to bed. As I write, it is 2:32 AM and I am not tired at all. My story is a fairly interesting one, with a deal of mystery involved.

My insomnia began in fourth grade. I began to have trouble falling asleep at night, often laying in bed wide awake for hours. This would freak me out, because I would panic, knowing that I should be asleep by a certain time, but laying there, simply not tired. It got to the point where my mother would sit next to my bed and try to calm me down nightly. The dilemma was brought up to a doctor, but we have never been sure what caused it. Throughout middle school, I still experienced some sleepless nights, but the situation began to improve. They became much fewer and farther between. Now, in high school, the nights have begun to return more often. Now, there is a reason for them, though. Often, I find myself sleepless, attempting to finish an assignment for school the next day. Sometimes, when I’m lucky, my wide-awake-at-night weirdness coincides with my homework, helping me stay awake, while other times I struggle along. Often I find I simply don’t need that much sleep, while on some days, I will sleep through my alarm. I average 6-7 hours of sleep on a school night, not the suggested 8-10. Fortunately, I almost never have sleepless nights when I don’t have work to do. Now that you know my story, I have some tips on children’s insomnia:

  1. If they are younger, don’t let them roam when they can’t sleep. If they need to do something, make them read. This will hinder kids who just want to watch TV or play games.
  2. If they’re older, let them work. As an older kid, I know when I’m tired and when I’m not. So, if I can’t sleep, I might as well capitalize on my time and get some work done or learn. If I am messing around, I will be punished in the morning.
  3. Feel free to stay in the kid’s room until they fall asleep. I found that having my mother sit next to me and stroke my hair was the most relaxing thing when I couldn’t sleep (when I was young). Staying alone would only exasperate my fears.
  4. Don’t do the same thing every time your child can’t sleep. You could form a ritual necessary for sleep, which could become bad in the long run. Also, if you’re consoling your child, don’t follow a rhythmic pattern, because stopping the pattern could wake the child back up.
  5. Counting sheep doesn’t work. I tried this many a time, also counting down in my head. None of this worked. I was thinking too much when I did it, preventing sleep.
  6. Don’t make excuses. There is no reason to skip school because you didn’t sleep well. In the real world, that would never fly, so don’t let it fly in this world, either.
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