Insomnia   (In children, referred to as Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood or                        
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome in Adolescents; see adults below)

Does your child/teen do the following: 

  Resists going to sleep at night?
  Stays up too late on school nights?
  Does not seem refreshed in the morning?
  Is difficult to awaken for school each morning?
If your answers are "Yes" to some of these questions, then read the information below or click this button to screen your child:   

Insomnia (Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood or Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome)

Does your child or teenager have difficulty falling asleep at night, resist sleep until late at night, and then have difficulty waking up in the morning?  If so, your child may have one of two forms of insomnia:

(1)  Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood (BIC) - If your child is under 12 years of age, or
(2)  Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) - If your child is 12 + years of age.

Either one of these forms of insomnia can cause your child daytime irritability, defiance, lethargy, lack of motivation, and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). As a result, your child or adolescent may have trouble waking up of a morning, and therefore, may have many tardies or absences.  Your child or adolescent may even exhibit some of the symptoms of Depression, Bi-polar Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder due to his/her lack of sleep or sleep deprivation.  These children sometimes appear to have learning problems, a learning disability, or even an emotional disturbance or emotional handicap due to their excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).  If this problem is not corrected quickly, it can negatively impact your child’s grades and result in retentions in younger grades or adolescents having to repeat many failed classes in high school.  Many students with DSPS end up dropping out of high school because they get too far behind in school and cannot catch up.  If these problems sound like your child or adolescent, read the information below to find out how to screen and treat your child for BIC or DSPS quickly before his/her grades and schooling suffers.

Insomnia in adolescents is usually referred to as Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS).  It is a circadian rhythm disorder and form of insomnia, which is very common in adolescents (about 7%), but can occur in earlier childhood.  The occurrence of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome in adolescence appears to be caused by biological changes in the circadian rhythm during puberty, where the teen's internal clock becomes significantly longer than the typical 24 hour cycle and causes insomnia.  This results in the teen having difficulty falling asleep before 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. on school nights.  Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome usually develops, or is intensified by poor lifestyle habits or poor sleep hygiene in teenagers.  They stay up half the night on weekends (i.e., talking to friends, playing computer and video games, etc.), and then they cannot switch back to an earlier bedtime on school nights due to their longer circadian rhythm cycle.  Consuming many caffeine drinks, smoking, or taking drugs that prevent or delay sleep onset often exacerbate these insomnia problems even more.  If these problems are not corrected quickly in middle school or the early high school years, many of these students obtain very low grades and may not graduate due to their inability to wake up and stay alert in school.  These students are often tardy to school, absent frequently, or tired and falling asleep in morning classes.  

In the case of preschoolers or elementary students showing signs of insomnia and scoring high on the Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome scale of the Sleep Disorders Inventory for Students, this insomnia is more often caused by parents failing to enforce good sleep habits with their child.  In this case, it is more commonly referred to as Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood than Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome or Insomnia because younger children are not experiencing the biological changes of puberty that lengthen their circadian wake-sleep cycle. The young child's Insomnia often develops when a parent does not require a consistent naptime, bedtime, or wake up time for their child every day. 

The child gets used to going to sleep at the same time as the parents or falling asleep on the couch watching TV or in the car chair going somewhere at night.  The child starts resisting going to sleep on their own and may demand to have the parent with them to fall asleep, or they want to stay up until everyone goes to bed at night, even if the parents only go to sleep at midnight.  If the child is placed in his/her bed after they fall asleep, they may get up and come to the parents bed if s/he awakens in the night.  This can cause many daytime problems for the child such as excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, oppositional behaviors, crying or tantrumming more than is typical for a child of that age, or even ADHD-like behaviors of distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. 

If it sounds like your child or adolescent may be struggling with Insomnia in the form of Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood or Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, you can click this line to SCREEN Your Child or Teen On-Line or click the Button above for these sleep disorders and other common pediatric sleep disorders that can cause Insomnia.  If your child has a major sleep disorder, this screening will give you a report that is several pages in length. 

This report contains information about the sleep disorder, many possible interventions to correct it, and the contact information to find sleep specialists in your local area that can help you if the report- interventions are not successful.  However, the interventions are usually successful in most cases of Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood or Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome if the parents implement the interventions consistently and unwaveringly!  You can screen your child on-line (link at the top) if s/he is between the ages of 2 and 19 years of age.  If your child is above 10 years of age, s/he should complete the sleep disorders screening inventory with you for it to be the more accurate. 

Sleep On-Set Insomnia in Adults

Our on-line sleep screening does not screen for Adult Sleep On-Set Insomnia problems, but if you are snoring, experiencing aching or tingling legs or arms when resting, or rolling & kicking around a lot in sleep, feeling excessively tired in the daytime, or having difficulty falling asleep until late into the night, our sleep screening questionnaire will give you interventions and/or treatment recommendations for those types of sleep problems (screen now).

If you are an adult having difficulty waking up too early (like between 2:00 - 5:00 a.m.) and you cannot fall back asleep, which causes you lots of daytime sleepiness and sleep deprivation, then our sleep screening is not for you.  However, we would like to give you some information right here to help you.

Some people experience short-term insomnia for a few weeks due to some problem in their life causing anxiety and rumination at night.  If this doesn't resolve itself within a month or two, it might be wise to talk to a counselor or clinical psychologist about your stressors and how to resolve them.

Many women (over 30%) in their mid-life or later years have the type of insomnia where they awaken in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or something, and then they cannot go back to sleep, and it is not caused by anxiety or problems they are worrying about.  However, after an hour or two of laying awake and starting to worry and stress about being tired the next day, anxiety usually sets in!  Does this sound like you???  Sleep specialists believe it is due to the bodies of some women over 25-30 years of age producing less and less melatonen as they get older until much of their melatonen production stops around 60-65 years of age.  Melatonen is heavily produced by the bodies of most children and adolescents and helps them sleep deeply for long periods of time. 

First you need to make sure you aren't laying down for a long nap in the afternoon or evening.  You also need to do an on-line sleep screening to determine if you have some other major sleep disorder that might be waking you up like sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs, or periodic limb movement disorder. People with these major and harmful sleep disorders are often awakened in the middle of the night.  If you think you might have any of these sleep disorders, you need to check your probability of having one of them with our on-line sleep screening to read the report recommendations. With some of these major sleep disorders it often takes the help of a sleep specialist to resolve them, but the sleep screening graph gives you a good idea of whether you might have a serious sleep disorder needing medical treatment. If you do not have any of these causes, then it probably has to do with poor melatonen production in your body.  In that case there are many things you can try for relief before you allow a sleep specialist to put you on heavy-duty insomnia medications that may have side effects. There are a variety of interventions that tend to work for about 80-90% of women with  this "awakening in the night and not going back to sleep" problem:

1.  Over-the-counter melatonen (works for about 30-40% of people with this type of insomnia).

2.  An "Organic Insomnia Tincture", which is an herbal remedy containing organic valerian root, skullcap, & a tiny amount of alcohol (not enough for addiction, but used for binding the ingredients).  One brand is Taspen's Organics:  (I do not get a kick-back for anything recommended on this website!).  They recommend taking it with an organic herbal calcium tea, which can be purchased from any health food store or the Taspens website.

3.  Sleep-aides like Unisom, Sleep Easy, Tylenol P.M., etc...  (Found in most grocery stores or Walgreens, Shopko, etc... over the counter).

4.  Increase your exercise in the middle of the day or Early evening (never late at night).

5.  Drink calming teas like Chamomile, Insomnia tea, or warm milk before bedtime.

6.  Dark chocolate (80% dark chocolate) helps with sleep, but if you eat much before bedtime it might result in weight gains.

7.  Warm bath before going to bed.

8.  Make sure your body has enough Trace Minerals.  If not, you can purchase Trace Mineral powders, capsules, etc. from most health food stores.  Our typical American diet of many fast foods and processed foods is resulting in many mineral deficiencies that might result in restless legs syndrome or insomnia.

9.  There are many other home remedies out there.  The key is not to try to drug yourself to sleep with alcohol or other drugs that are addictive.  Then you will have an even bigger health problem to overcome!

If none of these interventions work, then you should consult a sleep specialist in your area.  You need to do something because lack of sleep can cause harm to your body and result in more medical illnesses, obesity, and disease, or result in a vehicular accident or other safety hazzards.

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