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15 Year-Old Son Can't Sleep Before 3am and Sleeps Until 2pm :(

by Gail
(London UK)

My son seems to have an inability to feel tired in the evening, and head to bed. he will resist going to bed at all costs. Once in bed he is usually still awake at 2 or 3am. He then sleeps like a log.

However, waking him in the morning is becoming an increasingly big problem as he is late for school, often skipping it entirely as he simply can't be woken. He is ADHD so sleeping has never been easy, but now it's becoming a crisis. Screaming, pulling off duvets, opening blinds, puttting on radios all set him into a rage, then quickly going back to sleep. Would love a solution.

Tired mum of London

Kevin: Hi Gail! Thanks for sharing your experience. One thing just to be aware of: ADHD is often a misdiagnosis in childhood of just sleep debt. It's hard for a daytime tired mind to be focused, and hyperactivity is often a result.

Teenagers and early school wake up calls don't mix well, and a delayed sleep phase teenager even worse. The few things I can mention: Have him mind what he is doing in the time between him getting in bed and actually falling asleep much later. Activities involving direct light will prevent his biological clock shifting back to the desired schedule. Looking into bright light therapy techniques may also help. Bright light early in the morning is the prescription, even if its while he's sleeping--light through the eyelids can still have an effect on the biological clock.

One last thing: a sleeping pill taken strategically now and again is not the end of the world. They somewhat have a bad rap, but modern pills are pretty effective and very safe. And when the alternative is heavy sleep deprivation or frequently missed school, they can be a good ally.

Best of luck!

(Please keep in mind that I am a student of sleep science and not a medical doctor. Please take any thoughts I give with my background in mind.)

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