The following is a visitor-submitted question or story. For more, you can submit your own sleep story here, or browse the collection of experiences and questions other visitors have shared here.

8 Yr Old Son Won't Go Off To Sleep On His Own

by Josie

My son has never seemed able to settle himself off to sleep on his own. As a baby he was rocked or cuddled or fell asleep whilst being breastfed. As a fulltime working parent i did what i could to get him to sleep, so i am aware that I am to blame. As he has got older I always put him to bed and stayed with him until he was asleep, and if he woke in the night, I would get into bed with settle him quickly and to be able to function at work the next day.

He is now coming up to 8 yrs old, and still not able (or wanting) to go to bed on his own. If i stay in his room then it could be anything from 10 mins to over an hour until he falls asleep. I have tried putting him to bed later, but still the same. I have tried reasoning, reward charts, withdrawal of toys etc, shouting.

When we discuss the issue (outside of bedtime) it seems to be lots of excuses, dont like the dark..he has lights left on..he isn't tired, he has nightmares, so and so at school told him x x x ie, burglars.

He seems to be getting worse..if anyone has any suggestions (rather than pointing fingers of blame) i would appreciate it, many thanks, JE

Comments for 8 Yr Old Son Won't Go Off To Sleep On His Own

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 08, 2016
You just told my story NEW
by: Lisa

I don't know when you posted this, maybe it was years ago and if so, please tell me that you got through it! Same story for me, the baby art all the way until now, 8 years and still lying with him and him not able to fall asleep on his own. Still night wakes too and comes into my bed. I got something to try from a psychologist called a fear ladder. I'm encouraged to work on this with my son to set some goals, this involves a timer or clock so he knows how long he's been trying, this involves me being loving and willing to set aside my whole night every night for as long as it takes to work on this with him. i keep putting it off because i don't have time to deal with it...but then when it's one of those evenings that he just won't fall asleep and i've been laying there with him for what feels like hours, i get really really upset. I could have done two loads of laundry and washed the dishes, made lunches, taken some time for me, but instead i'm just stuck in that room like a hostage. It has truly been a living hell of my own making. Right now as we speak it's 11:45 and i gave up lying with him at 9:45, my son has been up and out of his room every 5 minutes since i left the room. I have nothing to offer you except to tell you that you are not alone.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Experiences With Sleep Disorders In Children.

Enjoy this page? Please help us pay it forward to others who would find it valuable by Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, Stumbling, and/or Voting below.

About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?

A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

Ask | Answer

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.