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.

My Child Won't Go To Sleep, Keeps Moving

by Chicky
(Australia)

My child turns 6 early this year. She seems to have some kind of movement disorder. She continually moves, it stops her from falling asleep.


We have tried so many methods even giving up and allowing her to stay awake. She would usually be asleep by 11 or 12 pm. She was fine "we thought ok she doesn't need as much sleep as most kids" but then she started school and I could tell how tired she was or still is.

If I lay with her and stop her moving which sometimes I have to put my leg on top of hers to stop her leg tapping. She will do anything to remain awake like wiggle her fingers, toes, constantly blink, sometimes you don't know she is moving so she remains awake.

I have tried kids relaxation tapes and if she does the breathing exercises she falls asleep easily but after a couple of weeks she just wouldn't do the exercises anymore. Now my current practice is to read her to sleep no pictures and when she moves I tell her to stop. It still takes an hour and a half but she is now asleep at least 3 hours earlier than usual. She still seems tired to me and this reading thing may also only work briefly as everything else has. Any ideas or advice?

Comments for My Child Won't Go To Sleep, Keeps Moving

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 03, 2015
Mirror image NEW
by: Anonymous

Wow your post blew me away it's so exact with my own 6 year olds behaviour I could of written it! Your doing everything I'm doing I'm even doing the reading to sleep, I wish I had advice for you but I don't have any I'm sorry, I will be trying the herb Melitonin

Aug 07, 2015
Mover not sleeper NEW
by: Anonymous

I am so glad to have read other people are experiencing this my son does this too. He always sleeps well once he is asleep but getting him to sleep is an absolute nightmare he cannot give in Y all. He had been like this since he was a baby. I have tried so many things and just don't know what else I can do. Would love any advice!

Aug 12, 2015
Same NEW
by: Anonymous

My son has the same issues. It takes him 2+ hours to get to sleep vs 10 mins for his younger brother. Wiggling, moving about, tapping, he just can't be still and drift off. He has always been difficult to put to bed, even as an infant, but "waiting for him to grow out of it" seems to be a passive route. Any suggestions would be a godsend!

Aug 16, 2015
Restless legs NEW
by: Jo

My son is 10, he has never slept properly. He says he needs to move about. He hates assembly at school as he has to sit still and he says it makes his legs hurt. I had not put 2 and 2 together until this week. I was talking to my Mum. She has restless legs. RLS... (Genetic or a symptom of Iron deficiency).
Read your posts so thought it may be worth a mention to you.

Aug 19, 2015
Low Ferritin/PLMD NEW
by: Anonymous

Our son too, has always been a "mover," both in the day and at night. He had a Sleep Study and they found he was deficient in Ferritin so he was prescribed supplemental iron. They said he has PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disorder) in which he has frequent uncomfortable sensations within/in his limbs and needs to move. From the study they found that he was moving around 26 times an hour when the average movement for his age is only supposed to be 3 times an hour during sleep. So, needless to say he is truly never getting the restful sleep he needs! We have seen some improvements since starting the supplemental Ferrous Sulfate but he's still not all the way there. Therefore, I would recommend discussing an iron/ferritin check with your kiddos Peds as it's an easy and fairly quick and simple fix!

Nov 25, 2015
Please help. All of children struggle to sleep NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi

All 3 of my kids struggle to sleep. My eldest who is 19 grew out of it when he hit his teenage years. My other 2 (8 and 1) are driving me insane. 8 year old goes to bed at 8, falls asleep at 11, I have to almost drag her out of bed in the morning, most days she is just horrid and clearly tired, you would have thought she would sleep early the next night but nope 11pm again! I can already see this in my 1 year old to and I know I've Gotta do this all over again. Surely they must be all missing something? Like what produces melatonin.

Dec 18, 2015
My Son Can't Sleep Cause His Body Keeps Moving NEW
by: Anonymous

My 6 year old Son Can't Sleep cause His Body Keeps Moving..And I'm Don't Understand Why and What's Going On..Can Somebody Please Help Me. .

Mar 17, 2016
Help!!! NEW
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem with my daughter 6 years old. Please Help!!!!

Mar 28, 2016
Sounds like my 2:year old, too NEW
by: Anonymous

The joke with my family is that she doesn't want to miss anything. She cannot unwind, stop fidgeting or talking. 1.5 hour bedtime process.

Mar 28, 2016
4 year old NEW
by: Anonymous

My Dr has always been difficult to cajole into sleep. She will only sleep with someone, never alone. I say she literally falls asleep because she passed out from exhaustion. I have also begun to notice screaming her legs hurt and her having to shake them when she is overly tired. It can sometimes take 4 hours to get her to sleep when this happens if I don't intervene with meds. This typically only happens when she hasn't had her tenex. Her iron levels are WNL, but this sleep thing seems to be getting worse.

Aug 25, 2016
Another 6 year old mover NEW
by: Mary

My son, also 6, has always been difficult to get to sleep. But recently he can't fall asleep for HOURS and then still wakes up at 6:00 am. He moves his legs a lot during sleep and moans. No bad dreams or night terrors. He has no sugar or screen time late in the day. He's starting to doze off in class by his account. Searching for answers. There is iron deficiency on my side of the family so I'm going to talk to his pediatrician about that.

Sep 02, 2016
Iron supplement helped my child to sleep NEW
by: Nadine

My two year old is finally sleeping great since I got her on galfer liquid iron. Took a while to get her dose right. Now on 5mls every evening at 7pm. She is only 10kgs as was a small prem baby.as she grows we adjust her dose. If Her legs start jerking and disturbing her sleep,this is our que to up her dose by half a ml.doctors and consultants no help as this iron deficient sleep disorder appears to only effect about 1% of toddlers.my daughter seemed to be in pain when her legs jerked and didn't seem to be responsible for the movements. We were delerious from lack of sleep.hope this works.Dr said iron wouldn't harm her but watch out that she doesn't get constipated.she eats kiwi and pears so no problems there.in the past on a bad night I found if I got her to walk around a bit as the jerking and twitching was worst at rest.she would settle for a few hours then. Good luck our world is so much better now.

Sep 02, 2016
Iron supplement helped my child to sleep NEW
by: Nadine

My two year old is finally sleeping great since I got her on galfer liquid iron. Took a while to get her dose right. Now on 5mls every evening at 7pm. She is only 10kgs as was a small prem baby.as she grows we adjust her dose. If Her legs start jerking and disturbing her sleep,this is our que to up her dose by half a ml.doctors and consultants no help as this iron deficient sleep disorder appears to only effect about 1% of toddlers.my daughter seemed to be in pain when her legs jerked and didn't seem to be responsible for the movements. We were delerious from lack of sleep.hope this works.Dr said iron wouldn't harm her but watch out that she doesn't get constipated.she eats kiwi and pears so no problems there.in the past on a bad night I found if I got her to walk around a bit as the jerking and twitching was worst at rest.she would settle for a few hours then. Good luck our world is so much better now.

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.