How to Get Sleep When Your Child Is In Therapy

Parents lose sleep from the time they discover parenthood awaits. Unfortunately, sacrificing slumber seems naturally connected to parenthood, regardless of age.  While brand new parents tend to the needs of their sweet, little babes around the clock, parents of struggling young adults wait up worrying about what challenges will arise next. Parents cannot sleep at night for countless reasons, but having an emerging adult child in therapy surely sparks insomnia.

Young adults enter therapy programs at overwhelming times, like during family or identity crises, resulting from trauma, when relationships with drugs, alcohol, body image, or food become dangerous or if set apart with a social, emotional, or physical disability.  With the uncertainty of a positive outcome at hand, it is no wonder parents cannot sleep at night when their child admits to an intensive residential program or spends every evening going to group therapy.

Often putting their own needs last, parents forget to prioritize personal wellness.  Ending up with restless nights, racing minds, looping thoughts, strained eyes, and tightly wound backs and bodies,  parents cannot carry on as caregivers without, first, caring for themselves. As distress debilitates a healthy sleep cycle, parents should seek sleep advice and get help for insomnia.

Simple Sleep Advice for Parents With Children In Therapy

  • Slow down your stressors.  Stress seems to be the number one culprit feeding into insomnia.  Face your challenges, accept their existence, and try to tackle them one by one. Do so by writing and reflecting on daily dilemmas. This helps your brain organize thoughts, making things feel less complicated.  Stress can also be lessened by adopting daily physical exercises, like walking, yoga, biking, or strength training.
  • Trust. If your child is just entering therapy, you may not be able to sleep at night because you are having a hard time establishing trust in the program. If this is the case, understand as much as you can about the program, like talking with the team of therapists or visiting  the program’s website. When doubt or hesitation enters your mind, learn by reading about the program’s mission, policies, and practices to quiet your mind and relieve your resistance.
  • Establish healthy evening routines.  Practicing a normal nighttime flow, like shutting off electronics two hours before bed in order to meditate, journal, take a hot bath, and sip a cup of chamomile tea, send signals to the brain that it is time to shut down for the night.

Sometimes, insomnia surfaces as a symptom of a deeper problem, like anxiety or depression.  While a child receives therapy, parents benefit from seeking programs for their own mental and emotional limitations.

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