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13 year old daughter scared to fall asleep because she fears death.

Question: For the past 3 years my daughter has had a hard time getting to sleep. She is 13 and a bright girl. We have tried many approaches playing quiet music, small water fountain, reading books, no TV or computer after dinner and adding extra exercise to her lifestyle. Recently, as I was putting her to bed she mention she was scared to fall asleep because she was going to die or I was going to die. In her mind something bad was going to happen. This is all leading to her getting sick and being tired in school. Do you have any suggestions or should I schedule an appointment? And if so, who are your staff would be best to help my 13 year old daughter. I need to help her so she can relax and go to sleep.

Answer: Hello, thank you for sharing about your daughter. It sounds like you have worked very hard with your daughter to discover a solution to her sleep difficulties. It must be very frustrating for both of you that an enduring resolution has not been discovered, yet. Your daughter’s fear about death is probably a source of her sleep disruption, but there may be other variables which are contributing to her insomnia. As you know, adolescences can be a difficult period of time as young people encounter multiple challenges (e.g. personal identity, becoming more independent, taking on more responsibility, navigating relationships with peers and family, and managing sexuality identity and expression). I would be happy to meet with you and your daughter for an appointment. I’m sure some solutions can be discovered.

Response by James R. Matter, Psy.D., LCPC

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