I don’t know why she can’t sleep at night.

All I know is that based on her personality I can’t say I’m surprised to see her sitting up when I head to bed at 10pm or 11pm or 12am.

She’s not wired to relax.

She’s wired to worry.

I offer to leave a light on so that she won’t feel so alone once she realizes she’s the only one in the house still awake…but it breaks my heart to know she’s just lying there…staring.

Last night I crawled into bed with her.

I want her to have memories of feeling safe and loved and taken care of on those sleepless nights. I want her to remember that any time she had something on her mind she had someone there.

I want her to know that when she lays awake and worries…her Mom lays awake too.

Wishing there was something she could do to help her little girl relax and stop staring.

Turns out she’s not the only one wired to worry.


  1. says

    I have a worrier too … and I needed to be reminded that he needs to feel safe. I’ll stay awake with him from now on. Thanks for the gentle reminder.

  2. says

    Poor baby (& mama). This brings out my instinctive urge to ‘fix’ things….have you talked to her doctor? I’ve heard melatonin can help. Does she like to read? My youngest daughter usually reads herself to sleep.
    OK, I’m done now. Wishing you both a good night’s sleep.

  3. says

    Melatonin is a great way to help her ease into sleep. Especially since it is something the body makes anyway, just on occasions like this it may not produce enough. Second there is a thing I used to do with mine.. I would lay beside them and lightly run my fingers from their forehead down over their eyelids, kind of like making them close their eyes. I would recite this poem I made up in a soft soothing monotone voice..
    You are sitting on a big white fluffy cloud in a clear blue sky with the sun shining on you and a cool breeze blowing on you. You are safe and secure calm and relaxed peaceful and quiet. Simply floating along on the big fluffy white cloud in the clear blue sky. You lay upon the cloud and listen for the sounds around you, the trickle of a waterfall in the distance soothes your mind and you find your legs growing heavy and relaxing into the big fluffy cloud in the clear blue sky, where you are safe and secure, calm and relaxed, peaceful and quiet. Thinking how tired your legs are from the climb to the cloud you allow them to sleep.
    Keep doing this with each part of the body, voice getting softer and softer until you get to their eyes.. so it would be like legs, hips, back , one arm then the other, head and the eyes.. When you get to the eyes you say, the cloud holds you safely as you feel the cool breeze, the sun shades it’s eyes from the birds in the trees, the waterfall slows by the sounds that you hear, whispering to the moon beams that sleep is now near. Your eyes grow so heavy, heavier they grow, One, two, three and closed they go. You still feel the wind as it blows right on by, and pushes your cloud through the beautiful sky. To far away lands with stories untold, waiting for you their tale to unfold. So sleep little princess and awaken your dreams, where nothing is ever quite as it seems. In far away lands be the princess you are, riding your cloud and touching the stars. Sleep little fair one with eyes tightly closed, one that big white fluffy cloud and see where it goes.

  4. says

    aww. what a precious girl. It breaks my heart too, i’ve had my own battle with insomnia and it is scary and very lonely. You are such an amazing mama to know exactly what she needs!

  5. says

    My middle daughter is the exact same way. She is not so much a worrier as she is stuck on GO. All of the time.

    She is a wee bit crazy, just like her Momma. I understand her, let her get away with murder because I see what is running around in that awesome mind she has. It spins faster than mine, and comes up with the most amazing things.
    Routine and discipline and early bedtimes matter less to me than how she feels. Most of all, I want her to know she is not alone, that I understand; that the way she is is the way I always want her to be. Just her. She is awesome.

  6. says

    I got permission from our doctor to try melatonin with my worrier when she was 2 or 3. It has saved everyone’s sanity.

  7. says

    I know how hard that is… both as the worrier and the mom to one! I would love to read more about how you help her with her anxiety. Right now I’m waiting for the library to send me a book our doctor recommended about anxiety in kids, and when it’s really bad I use Bach’s Rescue Remedy for Kids (I’ve used it myself a few times, too!!!).

  8. says

    I love that you are creating safe and loving memories for your daughter so she knows she isn’t alone. For most of my life I was always too wired to sleep. Eventually I started reading until 2 or 3a.m., but before that I remember tossing and turning for hours. Sometimes I’d go to my mom and she’d make me buttered Zestas and I’d feel so much better after that. My youngest daughter is wired like me, and every night she needs my cuddles and warmth to fall asleep.

    The only time I ‘fixed’ my wiredness was when I was practicing hypnobirthing techniques (meditation) when I was pregnant with my first daughter. Every night I’d lay in bed and start imagining myself in the scene of the meditation and I lasted less than five minutes and I was asleep. I should try doing that again :) But for my two-year-old, I think she just needs me right now.

  9. says

    I noticed a comment above on the same topic, but try Melatonin. It’s natural and perfectly safe. My son has Autism, and cannot relax either. I often use this so he can get the sleep he needs for his little body to grow. Good Mama, hugs.

  10. says

    For me it is important that they always know we are there for them. Mostly for our oldest as she has had problems since she was tiny with sleeping. We always keep doors open for her to be able to come to us. but in order to get her to sleep we say our prayers and then either I or her daddy give her a bit of a massage and then we leave. sometimes we have to come back and lay down. Like you said, it is important that they know we are there for them!

  11. says

    I can just imagine the angst. You want peace and tranquility for her. Insomnia is hideous. Hoping you find a solution soon. Beautifully written post.

  12. says

    I have a daughter who deals with sleep problems and insomnia, has been a poor sleeper since she was born. I don’t know that she worries, I think for her its a neurological issue.

    On the subject of melatonin, we have used it, even in combination with benadryl at the suggestion of our pediatrician, and it had no effect. I am glad it gives relief to many, though.

    My heart hurts for you, Kat. Knowing you must sleep, and that your daughter is awake and unable to sleep. It’s a huge burden for both of you, and I hope its a season and you find relief.

  13. says

    I was that child. I am that adult – constantly sleep-deprived.

    A nap is a wonderful thing, it helps me cope with the worry-induced insomnia. I’d let her nap when she’s tired and not worried.

    And don’t let her watch (or listen to) the evening news – way too many scary and upsetting things on there – even for me. It’s one of the curses of a fertile imagination.

  14. says

    I can so relate. I’m a lie-awake-and-worry type myself, and my son was just like your daughter. It was one of the things that inspired me to write Can’t Sleep Without Sheep (Wlaker/Bloomsbury 2010). Maybe too young a book for your daughter, (it’s a picture book for ages 3-7) but it pokes a little fun at something that can feel like such a burden both to them and to us as worried parents who don’t like to think of our kids lying awake alone… Good luck. I hope you both find a way to get a few more zzzzzs.

  15. says

    Awww for both of you. I’m sorry you guys are worriers and have trouble sleeping, but how sweet that you cuddled in with her!

  16. says

    We have this exact same thing at our house. Baby Girl actually started therapy to start working through some of her worries/fears last week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  17. says

    That is such a sweet picture and post. It is so loving of you to make sure she knows she’s not alone. I was her when I was young. I am not wired to sleep at night – I’m a day sleeper! I’ve learned to adjust, but I keep later hours. Now…when it’s dark and I’m the only one up, I treasure the alone time….

  18. says

    I was and still am just like that… I remember being so little and wishing someone would come lay down with me. I think the fact that I was alone every night and on the worst of nights intensified my anxiety into adult hood. I wonder how different it would be for me now if I had a mother who felt how you did. GOOD JOB!

  19. Jenn says

    My daughter has just started something similar and it breaks my heart. Thank you for this post, it was a needed reminder to have patience and love her and she’ll sleep when she is tired.

  20. says

    Nighttime anxiety is my specialty, meaning I specialize in having it, not figuring out how to not have it. Super helpful, as usual.

    I can remember being little like her and struggling with it. But I never got comfort. It was always frustration that I “still wasn’t asleep”. You are a good mom. You are right, she will remember you caring for her and being there with her. And while you may not be able to fix it, she will know she is loved. That alone eases a ton of anxiety.

    On a practical note, I am a huge fan of Calm a calcium/magnesium supplement you drink before going to bed. It really does relax me when I remember to take it. You might give it a shot. It tastes like lemonade. Someone gave it to me when I had my 7th baby and 2 weeks later my mom had multiple strokes, requiring me to provide full care for her. I was a hot mess of anxiety.

  21. Kate Wilke says

    I, too, have a worrier. My son is 7 and is just like your daughter. I always tell him to just go to sleep and have happy thoughts. Forgetting, that I was a worrier and always felt scared as a child. Thank for you for the reminder. I, too, will lay with him so he feels safe.

  22. says

    Others have mentioned melatonin and that’s what we use as well. My son used to call it his “no worry pill”. It would allow him to relax in bed. We also put the dogs in his room until he is asleep because he just really hates to be alone. I am a worrier and he gets it from me so I tend to beat myself up about it. Wish I could just magic the worry away.

  23. says

    My oldest son would sometimes not fall asleep until about an hour before it was time to go to school. Nothing we said or did helped. His schoolwork was suffering so I finally told him that if he wasn’t asleep before 1am, he could bring his sleeping bag and pillow and sleep on the floor in our room. (I KNOW people, don’t judge me) It actually worked out quite well and since he is now an adult and recently engaged, camping out on our bedroom floor most likely didn’t damage his psyche too much.

  24. says

    This sounds like my 11 year old. We have found that it helps her to write things down before bed. She writes down anything that’s worrying her, even if it’s as simple as she might forget to put her favorite crackers in her lunch box in the morning. Perhaps writing it all down, or telling it to you and having you write it down, will help.

  25. says

    I used to do that too. But then I’d run upstairs to my mom’s room and lay on her floor while she held my hand. You’re such a good mom!

  26. says

    My oldest worries a lot. She complains about being the only one in the house who has to sleep alone because the twins get to sleep together and so do my husband and I. It’s hard when we don’t have the answers to all of their troubles…..I have no doubt she knows you are there for her regardless if you sleep with her each night.

  27. says

    I have always been a late night person…ALWAYS! I, too, am not so “wired” to sleep! I think it is cool how you comfort her now…once she gets to the teenage years, she will probably LOVE being awake while everyone else is asleep. Well, that is how I feel now and I started in those teen years…

  28. says

    Oh how precious, the memory you have revived. I remember my Mom crawling into bed with me when I was still awake, long after the lights were turned low.

    That is a special memory.

  29. says

    My daughter is like this too. I go over to her bed and find her laying there, awake, at midnight.

    I love that you layed down with her and let her know she wasn’t alone. That is so important, especially to a worrier.

  30. says

    I loved this. This is why I don’t kick Jacob out of our bed yet, I want him to feel safe and secure when he’s sleeping and dreaming, I want him to know I’m close and if he feels that right next to me, then so be it for now. He’ll only be little for a small window of time and so I’ll sleep next to him for now. Thanks for posting this,, it put a lot of joy and contentment in my heart .

  31. Carri says

    I’ve always been a worrier, too. I can remember people telling me to “stop being such a worry wart”. You’re a good Mommy. :)

  32. says

    I have a four-year-old who just started with this worrying/anxiety stuff. It’s been frustrating for all of us. Thanks for the reminder that what matters most is that he knows I’m here to make him feel safe.