17 Year old Can't sleep!

Louise - posted on 04/23/2011 ( 24 moms have responded )

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My son has been having sleep problems for about a month now. We have tried everything from removing lap tops and x-box from his room and letting his phone go flat so he is not tempted to use it. He is awake all night and looks like a drug addict with big bags under his eyes. He tends to crash about 12 noon for a couple of hours and that is it. He has tried staying awake all day but that does not work either. I am really worrid because he drives his motorbike and think this is dangerous as he reaction times are alot slower because he is so tired. I have tried everything to help him sleep I am at a loss to what to do. Has anybody got any advice!

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Kathie - posted on 04/26/2011

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Louise, try the Melatonin that was suggested. While ther emay be other issues, this can help get his sleep back on track while you deal with those other issues. Melatonin is all natural and non-addictive. My 16 year old has ADHD so often has sleep issues. He takes 2 3mg (so 6 mg) tablets of melatonin about an hour before bedtime. He gets good, restful sleep, is easy to wake in the morning, and does not need naps. Your son may benefit as well. Wish you the best.

Jocelyn - posted on 04/24/2011

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Louise have him try a St Johns Wort supplement. It is a natural sleep aide, and helps with depression and anxiety.

Janel - posted on 04/24/2011

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No depression drugs! Sounds like he needs more B vitamins - B 1 specifically. They don't call it Stress B for nothing. Sit down with him and have him write down all the things he needs to get done. Figuring out what to do with the girlfriend should be on the list.

Louise - posted on 04/26/2011

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Thank you ladies for all your replies. i will look into the vitamin B thing and see if I can get Melatonin in the UK. Thanks everyone your all a great help.

Kathryn - posted on 04/24/2011

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i second the b vitamins, i swear by blackmores executive stress relief

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Mary - posted on 04/26/2011

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Make sure he's not drinking caffeine or energy drinks. You are right too much computer time can't keep your brain going when you want to sleep. I think that since he's nearly an adult, as long as he's in the bed, maybe reading if he can't sleep, you should BUTT OUT.

Constance - posted on 04/26/2011

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I take melatonin, L-Theanine, and L-tryptophan all organic herbs that help the brain trransition in to sleep mode. No drowsy side effects in the morning. I also give it to my 15 year old so she sleeps as well. Or she will never sleep.

Kathie - posted on 04/26/2011

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Louise, you may need to try a health food shop or order online due to UK restrictions. Here in the US melatonin is OTC like other vitamins. If you have to order it, try Amazon.com.

Tracy - posted on 04/26/2011

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Eliminate caffiene and sugar. I have a 17 yr old too who does this on purpose. It may have just become a habit for him now... Teenage stress is a big contributor in our case also.

Veronique - posted on 04/25/2011

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My husband started having sleep issues at 18 years old. At first he taught that maybe it was just the fact that he was going to school and working so hard but then when he moved back at his parents it just go worse and worse. He's now 45 years old and it's still not fix. he can go 3-5 days with about 1 hours of sleep in him and then he'll crash and sleep for like 18 hours and still feel tired. I told him to go see a doctor but no he refuses to go. We tried all kinds of teas and they help a little but not much more. I know that Dr.Oz recommends a tea for people with sleep issues but the name escapes me maybe go on his web site and check it out. We've tried it on my husband and it work but he ended up sleeping maybe 4 hours straight. Other then that i would say go see a doctor!
Now i know this is your son, but one thing that we found that works at 95% is if we have sex. After sex he's out :) but your son is 17 years old and i highly think that you would allow that kind thing in your home. But just saying that, that works for my hubby :)

Susan - posted on 04/25/2011

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There is an over the counter medication that works wonders, my 3 year old doesn't sleep and he is on this medicine, the name is melantonin and its all natural it basically helps promote sleep

Susan - posted on 04/25/2011

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There is an over the counter medication that works wonders, my 3 year old doesn't sleep and he is on this medicine, the name is melantonin and its all natural it basically helps promote sleep

[deleted account]

He could also have a thyroid condition--over active (hyperthyroid), as opposed to the more common under active (hypothyroid), can cause insomnia exactly like what you described.
They can do a simple iodine test to determine if this could be the problem. Treatment is also simple, an out-patient surgery, nuclear therapy (this is what I had), or thyroid suppression therapy.

It could be stress triggered insomnia, but it seems a little extreme for that, so I would rule out all medical possibilities as well as taking measures to reduce stress.

My son was also diagnosed with insomnia as an infant into his toddlerhood. His sleep patterns did not "normalize" until he was 4 1/2 and even now, he wakes up from 2-4 hours in the middle of the night, but we expect them so we can deal with it by working our schedule around it. Some things that help him sleep are a cooler room with a heavy blanket (medical supply stores sell specific blankets for this, they are properly weighted). Also, books on tape that he has heard before, or soothing music--my son has one that has a heartbeat in the back ground that he still listens too every night. I know your son is older than my 6 year old, but these things might still be helpful, and are safer for teens than sleeping medications which can cause depression in teens and schizophrenia in children.

Mary - posted on 04/24/2011

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take him to a doctor he may have insomnia which is a sleep disorder they can prescribe him sleeping pills to help him sleep.

Valerie - posted on 04/24/2011

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probably stress related would suggest medical help to determine first that is isn't something biological and then perhaps therapy if anxiety-related...

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Louise, teenagers naturally have sleep cycles that are later than adults and younger children, but this is extreme. Teens need more sleep, so if he is that deprived, it is dangerous for him to be riding his bike. Can you do a phone consultation with his doctor? What about talking to a therapist? If nothing else, they may be able to prescribe some anti-anxiety meds or sleeping pills for the short term. Getting some artificial sleep would be better than nothing and I don't think melatonin is going to be enough at this point.

Tiffiany - posted on 04/24/2011

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Hi Louise! I would have him try Melatonin. Both my 11 and 7 year old take it on the advice of their doctor. Your body produces it naturally and taken at night it will help him fall asleep. My 11 year old is a night owl and when she take it - she has no problems falling asleep at all!

Louise - posted on 04/24/2011

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@ Jodi yes there is a girlfriend issue. She is messing him about and he has the stress of finding a job after he lost his in february due to the lack of work. Ofcourse he has seen the stress in the house with me and my husband too so he has a lot to contend with. He just can't switch off and he jiggs all the time when sat down. I think he is stressed to the max and does not know how to chill enough to sleep. I have got some Phenergon to give him tonight to get his sleep pattern back into shape. he needs to sleep as he has an interview on Tuesday. i think if he gets the job some of his worries will slip away giving him some chance of a natural sleep.

you were bang on again jodi as usual thanks.

Kathryn - posted on 04/24/2011

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there are some homeopathic remedies that are very good. brauers make a sleep & insomniac relief, which i've found helps quiet the mind to allow sleep. another alternative is seeing your gp and getting a SAD (stress, anxiety, depression) evaluation done to ensure there isn't an underlying problem. another option could be to get him on a mild sedative, to get his body used to sleeping again and then wean him off them

Schyla - posted on 04/23/2011

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Try Liquid Melatonin I use it for my 3 and 5 year old in small doses when they have trouble sleeping The Pill do not work for me when I take them but in Liquid form I am able to relax and sleep. It is a natural herb you can purchase at a health food store or off line you do not need a doctor to get it either although I would still take him to see the doctor I would try Melatonin first and it's not habit forming and like I said it's safe enough to use on my littles! My 18 year old brother is having the same can't sleep issue and when we gave him an adult size dose he was able to relax and sleep!

Rina05 - posted on 04/23/2011

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Hi Louise. This sounds very familiar to what I experienced as a 17 turning 18 year old and still to this day I fight. I became an insomniac due to anxiety - I woke up one night and I thought I had died it felt like my heart stopped ( very frightening), up until this point everything was fine - or so I thought. The anxiety turned to depression from the lack of sleep and I had some pretty weird thoughts. I tried a lot of things to sleep but I didn't seem to be able to turn off my mind. I had to sleep with the light on.I would only sleep for a couple of hrs around 3am every morning. My mum tried to use a placebo to trick me but this failed. I still struggle with it and I am now in my mid thirties. I still need a light on.I went to a psychologist finally when I was in my late twenties and did behaviour therapy which helped greatly.I couldn't understand how I had this as my life was quiet good. Lovely partner and job etc. I found out you can have a pre-disposition to this and have since found out there are other people in my family with similar issues. I now use Australia Bush Flower Essences morning and night to still my mind. I also find I must do at least 1 hr of exercise a week to keep my anxiety levels in check. I would definitely get him checked out - I wish my mum had, but hindsight is a great thing.

Jodi - posted on 04/23/2011

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Lousie, is there possibly something that is bothering him? Like perhaps school exams, girlfriend problems, etc?

Louise - posted on 04/23/2011

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He wont go to the doctors but I think I will have no choice but to drag him there because the whole family is suffering from his foul moods and short temper.

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