12 year old exhausted at the end of the day — Scope | Disability forum
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12 year old exhausted at the end of the day

This discussion was created from comments split from: Ask a Sleep Practitioner.


  • AJL
    AJL Member Posts: 3
    edited September 2014

    I'm not sure if this is a problem but our 12 year old daughter is exhausted at the end of the day and we find that we have to put her to bed between 5 to 5.30pm.

    She is usually asleep by 6 - 6.30pm and does not get up during the night. She is going through a patch right now of getting up at 5.30am but will usually sleep until 6am or longer. Her ideal sleep range would be between 11 - 13 hours a night. When she gets that amount of sleep she is happy and copes well with life.

    Trying to put her to bed later than 5.30pm seems to disrupt her sleep pattern, even delaying bedtime to 6pm will mean that she takes longer to get to sleep and if we keep this going for a few days she will complain of tiredness during the day. If she has later bedtimes for a long period of time she starts to become ill with colds etc and it has a huge impact on her behaviour - lots of tantrums. We also notice that the amount of sleep has an impact on her communication skills - with less sleep over a period of time she becomes increasingly jumbled and increasingly reliant on Makaton.

    She never objects to going to bed and has always needed a lot of sleep - this need to go to bed at 5 - 5.30pm is the same on school days, weekends and during holidays.

    She is autistic, has Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (she is adopted) and has learning difficulties.

    She appears bright and energetic during the day. She is very lively to the extent that a teacher thought she has ADHD but she was tested for this and doesn't.

    She has a healthy diet and gets a reasonable amount of exercise.

    The reason I ask about it is because this need to be in bed by 5.30pm restricts our family's social life. We have to be very rigid about her schedule or risk behavioural problems. She does not complain about it but there are no signs of things changing and I wonder if this pattern will continue as she gets older.

    Also it seems unusual to need so much sleep - is it something I should be concerned about?

    Thanks for taking part in this, it is great to be able to chat to sleep experts.
  • SleepPractitioners
    SleepPractitioners Member Posts: 41 Courageous
    edited September 2014
    Hi @AJL
    As you said in your email when your daughter is getting 11-13 hours a night she is happy and copes well with life, I think that is what is important as we know disability can be exhausting, it is not unheard of that disabled children need extra sleep, we have spoke to many parents who have said the same about their child.
    I think you may well see changes in your daughters sleep pattern as she goes through puberty, keep to a consistent routine and as you see your daughter needing less sleep make the changes gradually by moving the bedtime by 15 minutes every 3 days.
    I hope that helps
    Best wishes
    Max x
  • AJL
    AJL Member Posts: 3
    Thanks, yes it does help. I have not come across other kids needing so much sleep but it makes sense that she would need more because of the challenges she has. And really we have no choice as trying to lengthen her day can have such a dramatic impact. It can even lead to her waking repeatedly during the night - at one stage (before we realised how much sleep she needed) she was waking approx. every 90 minutes and this gradually stopped when we began to put her to bed earlier. I would hate to go back to those nights!


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