How can my son get better sleep?

This question was asked in Heathrow, Florida on 06/18/2012.
I have a 19 year old son that has had trouble sleeping since puberty. It has been gradually getting worse and now he can stay awake for 48 hours or more. I have had him sleep in my room and he is so frustrated because I look over and see him still unable to sleep. What should I do?

Doctors Answers (3)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 6/22/2012

Your 19 year old son with chronic insomnia needs to see a sleep specialist who can outline a plan for treatment. This will likely include an investigation of any obvious causes for sleeplessness, possibly medication and a referral to a cognitive behavioral therapist. This form of therapy works with the patient to learn techniques to induce sleep. These techniques may include biofeedback, imaging therapy and relaxation.

Marjorie Yong, M.D.
Answered on: 6/19/2012

He will need a sleep study to see what his brain activity is like during the night time.

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 6/19/2012

It sounds like a chronic insomnia or circadian rhythm disorder may have developed here with your son. An evaluation with a sleep specialist to monitor his sleep over several days and possible institue therapy is suggested. A medical evaluation to assess for any physiologic or psychiatric problems would also be to his benefit. Cessation of caffeine, tobacco or alcohol use if applicable is also suggested.