How to help my grandson sleep? - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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How to help my grandson sleep?

Mamaw4 profile image

My 14 year old grandson has insomnia. He also gas depression and anxiety along with adhd.odd. help. Need info on ways to help him sleep

10 Replies

I’m sorry to hear that! Getting maximum sleep is make or break at our home.

I highly recommend the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. We’ve referred to it since infancy, and has been a real game changer for us in regards to our children’s sleeping.

I would also discuss this with his pediatrician, who may have some valuable recommendations.

Is your grandson on stimulants for his ADHD / ODD? if so, working with the prescribing physician to adjust dosage or timing, or switching to a non-stimulant in the evening can help.

Here are some things that work for us:

- Early bedtime

- Same bedtime everyday, and really committing to it long term

- No screens during the two hours before bed

- No screens in the bedroom at all, so his body knows this is a place for sleep

- Do something relaxing before bed / have a long wind-down period (ours involves reading & talking)

- Watch food intake right before bed.

- Keep the room as dark & quiet as possible.

- The nightlight is very very dim. It’s more like a gentle glow on the wall, and doesn’t really emit light beyond its surface.

Sometimes magnesium or melatonin can help short term if we are resetting a messed up internal clock (Grr to all time changes!!), but not long term & they seem to give our son vivid dreams / nightmares, and you can possibly overdose magnesium if it’s in supplement form (though no worries from food, like bananas.) If he is taking medication, I would discuss with prescribing physician before adding supplements.

I’ve also thought about trying a weighted blanket, but haven’t gotten that far yet.

Grateful17 profile image
Grateful17 in reply to Pennywink

Do you know what symptoms would be from overdosing on magnesium? Last year I had this full body rash about a month after taking magnesium every day.

Pennywink profile image
Pennywink in reply to Grateful17

I haven’t heard of a full body rash, but who knows. Main side effects would be more like diarrhea/ stomach pain (why it is used in laxatives.)

I was injected large amounts for pre-eclampsia during labor to prevent a potential coma, and it made me feel like I had a bad fever - I threw up even. Another friend with a similar experience said it made her feel / act very drunk, and she doesn’t even remember delivering her first born. Though those scenarios involved intravenously injected large quantities by health professionals, and not something that anyone is at real risk for from supplements. Most healthy adults will be fine with it, just may need to start low & build up. Overdose is rather rare, and magnesium isn’t necessarily the first supplement to try for sleep issues anyway, but it can have a calming effect.

We’ve largely tried it to calm my son’s tics, and found if given earlier day, could help some with sleep. (I tried it myself first for a test run.) Or an epsom salt bath. But taken orally too close to bed tended to give him nightmares. Probably would have warn off as his body adjusted, but we didn’t see enough effects on tics to continue.

Sorry for the diarrhea of information to your very simple question!

Somehow and somewhere I read to take L- theanine for relaxation. It totally works, but I notice it doesn’t last too long and I wake up in the middle of the night. I take it again and bam!

I'm too fimilar with your ordeal, my now 15 y/o used to struggled with non sleep for over 5 yrs. He received a nightly dosage of over the counter malotin the highest strength and it became like taking vitamins, it had no effect. Every night for 5 yrs he was awake, that added to his depression /anexity and when he was awake, it was constant playing. He would lay in his bed and play, making these noises that woke up the whole household . Just imagine it's 12 midnight, 1,.2 or evening later in the am , the house is dark , quiet and all of sudden you hear the sound of a little child almost infant like noises playing like it's 12 noon.

It wasn't until he was prescribed trazdone around age 13 that we got the piece and quiet, we ,especially me can now sleep without being awoken in the middle of the night to playing. Yes before the prescribed meds, I went through all the ideas listed to help him sleep but none it helped him. It's ironic that my youngest son age 13, never had an issue with sleep in fact he sleeps soundingly, too hard and he has issues with bedwetting. I should mentioned that my son usually sleeps on his own without the trazdone now . I rarely give him the medicine. It seems like the med help him find his own natural sleep pattern. My pediatrician would not prescribed any sleep meds until he was about 13.. and when I say he played nightly when the household was asleep, it was nightly for 5yrs.

shellyn04 profile image
shellyn04 in reply to

oh my gosh alex_7..... my son is made like yours!!! if he does not get his trazadone for sleep he will literally come to me and say mom, i don't think i got my med... i can NOT go to sleep!! he hates when he can't sleep. causes him even MORE anxiety!!! you may not like giving a sleep med, but let me tell you, if he doesn't get sleep, no matter WHAT med he takes during the day, the lack of sleep trumps it!!

I have been a follower of this page for a year now, and I always talk myself out of giving input/ advice, because all of our children are unique. My 7 year old son Gage was diagnosed almost 2 years ago, and was blessed with just about every disorder, from ad/hd to autism to sensory issues. Our saving grace was essential oils. A company called plant therapy had created several " synergies" for children, that help everything from the focus issues, anger, colds, and yes sleep. The sleepy time formula helps both of my boys rest more peacefully. I know nothing works for every child, but I haven't found any they sell for a child th at hasn't worked, to some extent for my son. He is in regular classes half the day, and since the beginning of this school year, I began giving him a roll on formula for focus and a calming formula, and his only 2 incidences were from missed medication doses, and neither of them were aggressive beyond refusing to do his school work. I dcan only hope you have similar results. They have changed our lives. Good luck, and god bless.

I just began useing essential oils to help my daughter sleep at night and motivate her during the day. Glad to report It is working!

I use Doterra oils. I use the diffuser with the serenity oil and also on the roller.

During the day, I use the motivate roller formula and she claims it makes her feel focus and wanting to do her homework. These oils are not cheap but if they helped, it’s worth it.

I used to give her melatonin for sleep but now she refuses to take it as it makes her groggy and she dislikes the feeling.

She has sensory issues and these oils have helped tremendously.

Good luck!

I also use essential oils and that has really helped our 7-year old son. I also use the DoTerra brand. I give our son 1 Serenity capsule and rub diluted lavender oil on the bottoms of his feet every night and I put lavender in a diffuser in his room. When we have a babysitter or he really needs to fall asleep fast we give him 1 mg of Zarbees over-the-counter melatonin. I don't want to give him melatonin long term but it helps when it's important he's goes to sleep fast.

Be careful with just any essential oils though...there are a lot out there filled with junk. In the case of oils, you get what you pay for. Someone mentioned oils are expensive and that's true but they last a long time. Another well know and trusted brand is Young Living (I think that's the name).

There were other suggestions that were helpful as well. No screens at least an hour before bed (there are many studies that show how screens interfere with sleep) and no screen in kid's rooms. Consistent bedtime every night, even at 14 he can have a routine. Maybe it's shower, read, lights out - or something like that. Maybe white noise machine on low would help?

My husband has ADD and for a very long time he would do meditation before bed to calm his body and mind and that has really helped him in the long run. I'm sure there are many apps out there but he used Headspace. But the parent/adult should control the screen.

It's really a holistic approach - good diet and exercise are also helpful. Exercise is critical for my son. Does he drink caffeine? I know young kids like caffeinated drinks but drinking those too late in the day may interfere.

There are many options to try and I'm sure something will help! Good luck!

Hi! I would absolutely recommend trying a weighted blanket! We have been able to avoid medication and our daughter gets a much more restful night sleep with hers. She also uses hers to help her be still while watching a movie or reading, etc. I’ve also made her a lap sized blanket to use at school which they find very helpful in class to focus and to help her calm her body (especially during tech and reading when she gets most fidgety).

I would also try oils we have a lot of success with them as well. As long as they are therapeutic grade, they will do you just fine! Good luck and prayers to you!!!

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