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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

My Sleepy Son

sleeping-teenRecently, we’ve been having some pretty odd experiences.  Our second-oldest son, age 16-1/2, keeps falling asleep.  Everywhere.  Anytime.  All the time.

One minute he’s “there”, and the next minute, bam! his head drops to his chest.

I don’t believe he has narcolepsy, a sleeping sickness, because we can wake him immediately, it’s just that he’s constantly dozing off.  As a matter of fact, we were speaking of sleeping disorders one night after dinner… and off he went into dreamy land.

“Pasha!” I shouted as his lids dropped and his head followed.sleepy-teen-works-on-computer-thumb19168529

“I wasn’t sleeping-!” he protested, before I ever in said the word.

Let’s just say it’s been happening a lot.  In the car while “studying”, during the school day while watching a DVD,  at an evening meeting, around the kitchen table discussing spelling words.

Does he get enough sleep?  I would think so at around 9 hours on average, but obviously not.  The kids go to bed about 9:30 pm and get up just after 6:30 am.  If we give him a nap during the day, then I hear him up at night when he either can’t fall to sleep, or when he rises to see if we’ve left any video games out and about.  As though I can’t see that other-worldly glow emanating from under his bedspread when lying down, or underneath his tightly-clenched thighs when sitting.

“Close the computer,” I insist at 1:00 am.

2010 03 20 NAN sleeping in car after solo and ensemble - Copy“It’s a phone.”

“Give it to me.  Now.”

He has no more electronics.  They’ve all been confiscated.  I don’t think he’s up all night reading a book, either.

Could it be trouble sleeping?  Quite possibly.  If we’re on an early-morning road trip, all of the kids immediately konk-out straightaway at 5:00 am.  They have risen, showered, eaten breakfast, loaded the car, and are now ready for about three more hours of sleep. 

Not Pasha.

“Pasha, go to sleep,” I instruct from the front seat.teen_sleep

“I’m helping the dog,” he tries to explain.

“The dogs are settled.  I want you to close your eyes now.”

We go back and forth, he squirms, he twists, he tries to find a comfortable position.  It doesn’t help that he’s quite tall.  Nor does it help that he probably has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) to one degree or another, which brings along with it the possibility of sleep disorders.

So it’s either too much sleep, or not enough sleep.  For the former option, I have to be on high alert all night, monitoring any movements and commanding him back to bed.  I’ve gone from policeman to jailer.  For the latter option of not enough sleep, again I need to be hypervigilant and check on him every 5-10 minutes in order to nip in the bud the nodding off.

It’s never been like this, yet, somehow, the sleepiness escalated this summer.  Our schedule has not changed significantly, so I’m somewhat at a loss to know what’s up. 

Does this sound normal to you?

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10 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    No, it doesn’t sound normal to me, even considering he is a growing teen. If I had this situation I would take him to his Dr. and I would hope he would be referred to an expert in the field that the Dr. thinks is appropriate. Also, you should not have to be on high alert monitoring movements and sending him back to bed . That should tell you that there is something going on that needs some evaluation. It may be nothing, but I would be a Mom that would need to check it out.

    • avatar admin says:

      Thanks, Sybil, that was my first thought, too. (Though nobody here agrees with me.) In many ways, he doesn’t understand the most basic concepts and tends to be a literalist (i.e., no common sense), so we tend to give more time to “watching situations” with him than with the average child.

  2. avatar Sam says:

    Has he had a sleep study done? Sleep apnea (kid stops breathing 100s of times a night, while they’re sleeping) results in poor quality sleep… and a child that falls asleep everywhere — and easily fixed with a CPAP machine (if you’re lucky) and removal of tonsils (if you’re not).

    And, yes, my kid has sleep apnea — and within days of getting the CPAP was basically a whole new kid. Happy! Friendly! Calm! Not cranky or sleepy!!

  3. avatar hoonew says:

    I have two things to suggest. One is to control nighttime light, by either avoiding looking at bright electronic screens or using amber glasses to look at the screens (filters out blue light, which causes the pineal gland of the brain to shut off melatonin, and wake up). The other is to use melatonin. Night shift workers know about this light control stuff. Maybe his sleep/wake cycle, already weird because he is a teenager, has been screwed by too much late screen time. I bought amber glasses from a hunting supply store, which sells glare-reducing glasses, which are amber, and bought an amber theater gel for use on the laptop screen (though the glasses are easier).

    • avatar admin says:

      You may be onto something, hoonew! Thank you for mentioning the glasses and the melatonin. I believe he may be sensitive to light. We have a very dim light in the boys’ bedroom that they share. It’s for security reasons when we’re gone (different lights on different timers). When both boys are home, Pasha turns it off in order to sleep better. When only Petya is home, he turns it on at night, since it doesn’t bother him at all and helps if he wants to go to the bathroom, or get up early. Pasha doesn’t have many electronics at his disposal these days, but we do watch the occasional family movie on a big-screen. Must check into the amber glasses-! Woo-hoo. (I won’t even think about him then losing them, misplacing them, leaving them behind….)

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