Who can notice sleep problems at any time during the teenage years and into adulthood? The sudden fear of sleep could be due to a specific reason or be unavoidably appearing. Whatever the reason, the children and teens are typically not equipped to tackle the issue by themselves.
However, there are ways to help them identify the primary reason and figure out how to sleep when they are scared and restore peace in your home. Here’s what you should be aware of to help your child conquer the fear of sleeping.
Causes Of Childhood Sleeplessness
Children and teens face many stressors in life that they are not prepared to handle on their own. Your child may not even realize the problems are weighing heavily on their mind until the fear of going to sleep occurs. Even then, without some troubleshooting, it cannot be easy to figure out the main cause.
Being afraid to go to sleep in this population often stems from:
If the cause is emotional trauma, such as an illness or injury of a loved one, you might need to receive help from a therapist who can help your child learn how to cope. Anxiety-related issues, on the other hand, often stem from school performance or social difficulties. Your child may need to be coaxed to inform you about these problems, especially if the anxiety stems from bullying.
If your child recently suffered from a serious illness or injury, it may have been difficult to sleep while experiencing pain or discomfort. After recovering, many patients notice their sleep patterns feel off for an extended period.
Fear is a big reason kids find it difficult to get some rest. Many kids battle against their fears cropping up as they’re trying to get some rest at the end of the night. The fear of sleeping may stem from worries about their family, thoughts on mortality or recurrent nightmares concerning any of the above issues. Certain foods can also cause kids to have nightmares, which builds on each other to cause frequent feelings of being scared of falling asleep.
Deeper Exploration of Sleep Phobia
Hypnophobia, also known as homophobia, is an ongoing fear of falling and staying asleep. This fear is more difficult to deal with as its trigger is frequently unknown or changes from day to day or week to week. Your child may start to have a panic attack as the bedtime hour creeps up. The panic attack could include breathing difficulties, hot flushes and a growing feeling of dread.
The dread, or fear, may seem to take over your child’s rational thinking process. Unfortunately, no matter of persuading or discussion will end these overwhelming feelings plaguing your child. Instead, you must have your child wait out the cause and allow the anxiety to dissipate independently.
If the phobia of sleep continues each night, consider hiring a therapist to help you and your child eliminate the phobia.
Identifying The Main Cause
Your child may be reluctant to share the main cause of feeling scared to fall asleep with you at first. Many kids feel embarrassed by their feelings, especially if they do not think it’s normal to have those thoughts and worries.
You can try to help your kid open up by sharing difficulties you experienced at their age, including fear of nightmares and fear of not sleeping. Please do not go too far into detail with the difficulties as it could cause new fears to develop. Instead, share a single story and then ask your child to do the same.
Many kids will skirt around the issue at first to see if you’ll take the initial answer at face value. Do not discard or ignore these initial problems. However, each issue may contribute to your child’s phobia of sleeping, so it makes sense to solve them all.
Keep trying to find the main source of your child feeling afraid to fall asleep by taking it out each night. You can also talk to your child’s teacher, counselor, babysitter or other family members to troubleshoot the problem privately, but without your child’s input.
Helping Your Child Face Problem Head On
Once you figure out the main cause of your child feeling afraid to sleep, attempt to solve the problem outright. You can teach your child coping methods that reduce or eliminate worry well before heading to bed. You can also use distraction techniques to keep your child’s mind occupied until sleep arrives…
For example, children respond well to listening to soothing music or a white noise system to stop feeling afraid of sleeping. Finally, allow your child to provide you with feedback to see what’s keeping them from feeling scared of sleeping.
Solutions To Ongoing Sleeplessness
If your child continues feeling scared to sleep, keep searching for the cause while finding solutions for the problems that do come to light. You can try to give your child melatonin supplements that encourage restful sleep if your pediatrician authorizes that treatment.
You can also try a few sessions of Hypno sleep to eliminate underlying fears that your child cannot identify.
If your child has a fear of falling asleep, consider sitting at the side of the bed and providing gentle pats or a softback massage to help your child relax and forget about being scared. Most kids eventually grow out of sleep issues as their mind matures to better process the information around them.
You can help facilitate this process by eliminating exposure to bad news on the television, in magazines or printed in the local paper. Always be sensitive to your child’s needs when processing bad news from the community, school or family.
Upon reaching the teen years, your child’s doctor can take over the treatment process for fear of going to bed. Your teen may need a sleep study performed to rule out medical problems that cause sleep phobia and related issues.
Attending all of your child’s appointments will keep you informed while you chase down the cause and find good solutions for fear of falling asleep.