thread: Reading in bed

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2012

    Reading in bed

    Im having trouble with 10yo dd reading in bed at night til all hours.
    Firstly we set aside time for reading before bed. She claims shes not tired at bed time. We tried moving bed time around and adding outside playing time to her afternoon to help her sleep.
    We took all her books out of her room but she started sneaking them in. We made her room pitch black and she snuck in a torch.
    Ive let her sleep in and be late for school as a natural consequence for her extreme tiredness. She didn't care.
    We've spoken about sleep in depth and how important it is.
    We go in and check on her and remove any books we find but she sneaks out and gets more.
    We have done reward charts etc.
    She just wont stop.
    Tomorrow we are installing a video baby monitor so we can physically watch her and stop her from doing it.

    Has anyone else had this trouble? Any tips?

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2005

    My 7 yr old would read for ages at night, but we go in after an hour or so and say, that's enough, lights out. Sounds like you've gone beyond that stage!

    Maybe instead of letting her sleep in, a really loud annoying alarm clock with no snooze and at the other side of her room - set to a reasonable time for her to be ready?

    I was a bookworm - the flip side of this is it's a good problem to have.

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Aug 2006
    On the other side of this screen!!!

    Reading in bed is definitely not the worst behaviour in the world!

    Have you talked to her about why she is reading? Is she afraid of the dark? Is she having trouble settling into sleep for some other reason? Or is she just not getting enough down time? If she's introverted she may have a higher need for time by herself engaged in the life of her own mind.

    Here is what I would do. Allow her to have reading time in bed. Work out a compromise. Maybe she could go to bed half an hour or an hour earlier and read for an hour and then definitely lights out. You could enforce this by giving her a bedside lamp (warm white bulb, 40 watts Max) which is plugged into a countdown timer. My DD has one of these (in her case we use it for stereo & electric blanket) and basically you press a button on the timer to switch it on, then it switches itself off a set time later. Once she's tucked up and has already had a good read she might be snoozy enough to not want to get up to turn it back on again, kwim?

    Another option - and this worked really well with my DD around that age - is to have a stereo on the room, and a plentiful supply of novel-length audio books. This allows them to lie in bed in the dark, and still enjoy the story. It's pretty cost-neutral because most public libraries have an awesome collection of audio books so you can just keep borrowing new ones. And if they're lying in bed, in the dark, relaxed, that's nearly as good as being asleep. And it takes the stress out of the whole going to bed but being awake thing.

    Re the difficulty sleeping - she may be getting not enough sunlight on her skin/in her eyes during the daytime, and too much artificial light in her eyes at night time. Definitely getting outside in the morning light will help her to wake up, but it will also help her to feel sleepier at nighttime. Does she get enough exercise? Could you encourage her to do some of her usual activities outdoors? Also, check what sort of lighting you have. Any lightbulb that is "daylight white" or "cool white" will have a lot of blue light in it, this stimulates wakefulness. Compact fluoros (well, any kind of fluoros) are extremely bad in this regard. Screens like the tv, ipad, computer, etc all have lots of blue light coming from them. Adjust the brightness, colour settings, time of use - these things will all help promote sleepiness at the right time.

    ETA - allowing her to sleep in and go to school late is a reinforcer, not a consequence!

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2012

    We did the sleep in one as I hoped the embarrassment of arriving late would encourage her to get some sleep. We only did it once though. (She loves school and hates to miss a second)
    Normally we get her up and she is getting ready for school in a haze. Shes grumpy all day and her mood is awful at school.
    She rides her bike all afternoon after school and we do lots of activities as a family too.
    She gets screen time once a week and a dvd on sat night.
    She gets reading time every night before bed and we come and tell her when its up so she cant "lose track if time"
    She just claims she can't sleep. Im too a chronic insomniac.
    We did audio books but she stayed up listening to those.
    Weve also tried soothing cds (sounds for silence etc) but to no avail.

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2008
    summer street

    I think she needs more down time too. Perhaps all the afternoon physical stuff is actually too much stimulation??

    I was a big reader too and just loved being alone with a book. I was always an early riser too though so tended to fall asleep at a reasonable time.

    I would perhaps try and encourage reading in another room. Can she read in your room for an hour and then take her off to her room? Sometimes when we associate bed with an activity it's hard to switch into 'sleep' mode, so if you remove reading from her bed she might be more ininsd to fall asleep faster.

    Otherwise have a reading 'time' then do shower and teeth etc so she isn't reading straight before lights out.
    Her books might be stimulating her brain too much.

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2012

    She currently reads in the play room as I thought the same thing so we delegated her bed as a sleep only zone.
    Ill try the shower after reading idea. That mighy break it up a bit and help her end the task. Great tip

  7. #7
    2014 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.

    Mar 2008

    Do they have to keep record at school of what they have read and are reading?

    Reason I ask - when I was 10, we had to do this and I wanted to have read more than anyone else in my grade. But so did my best friend. So the only solution for me was to read one book every single night. So long after mum went to bed, I was still up, reading. I wasn't worried about being tired or being up alone, all I cared about was being the best at reading and having the most books on my list. I was lousy at PE where my friend was excellent, we were both good at our class subjects and I wanted to be better than her at something.

    Wondering if something like this is going on.

  8. #8
    Life Member. Every Australian needs a Farmer.

    Dec 2005
    In Bankworld with Barbara

    Could staying up late reading on Friday and Saturday nights and not on school nights be the compromise? That way she's got two night when she can read to her hearts content and not have to have that early wake up for school. It sounds like the late nights are getting to her though if she's grumpy in the morning and then by the afternoon she's overstimulated and gone past the point where she can sleep, if that makes sense?

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2012

    This has been going on for over a year. Even when we home schooled so I dont think there is any competing stuff going on.
    I think it is a cycle. They normally get an extra half hour on non school nights. I might actually turn it into a reward in that if she goes all week without reading after lights out she can read as late as she likes on friday night or something similar.

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Dec 2007

    Have you tried to use any nutritional/herbal methods to aid her relaxation and sleep? Meditation techniques?

  11. #11
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2012

    No I was just looking into dinosnores which is a guided meditation.
    I might ask the naturopath too.

  12. #12
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2008
    in the ning nang nong

    Sorry to say, but both DH and I (and my sister for that matter) used to read for hours and hours after our bed times ... it never really stopped - we just got to ages when our parents stopped enforcing a bed time.

    We love reading, and just couldn't put the book down ... my parents tried all sorts of things - I have many memories silently, silently turning pages in my bed, reading by the red LED display of my radio alarm clock (much less noticeable than a torch...) or laying down by my closed bedroom door, reading from the light under the crack of the door...

    And my three year old already gets up, gets his little stool from the bathroom, climbs onto his bedside table to turn on his light, and (after securing all the dinosaurs) takes piles of books into his bed.

    We've moved the bedside table, we've put the books on higher shelves, we've given consequences for disobeying and given rewards for obeying - there's no change in behaviour. He loves reading, and doesn't get why we'd restrict it.


    And frankly, I'm sitting here reading adn typing at 11.18pm when I have to get up at 5am to get ready and go to the Stampede (a mini Tough Mudder) so I guess nothing has changes, really

    But good luck!

  13. #13
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2012

    I was the same and like I said im a chronic insomniac too I survive on little sleep. I just wanted to help her develop good sleeping habits.
    I love that she loves to read and we go to the library every few days to swap books and we encourage reading often. I really hope we can work out a way to allow her the reading time she needs and the sleep she needs too

  14. #14
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2011

    I loved reading too. But I must agree once I'm into a book I can't put it down. I also can't switch off to go to sleep. I become so absorbed in what I am reading that I just can't sleep.

    I would suggest definitely breaking up the reading before sleep. See how you go with a shower in between, if not you might have to go more drastic, like introduce a quiet activity between reading and bed, just to help her brain switch off.

  15. #15
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2005
    Where the heart is

    I was like this from about the same age, too.
    I would advise against a reward system (for anything) but particularly for something she likes to do that is actively growing her brain cells and neural pathways
    I'd second changing the late arvo family routine and bringing forward the wind down time, even if actual bed time remains the same.
    Insomnia and chronic readership are not the same, as I did love to sleep, but would rationalise my need for it with the need to satiate my hunger for the story line. She's getting lost in other worlds, and that is going to help her transition to the adult world enormously - though it's really hard to see it that way when you're in the thick of it, as the parent
    I don't think it would be a medical issue or even much of a psychological issue, though if it affecting your family and others' sleep, then perhaps a family counsellor could help mediate everyone's needs. I very much doubt a disorder is at play
    Helping her develop good sleeping habits is different from enforcing sleep habits. It's not your failure, you just need to work with each other on this one - and that means really factoring in her inclinations, rather than manipulating her to work in with what you want for her.
    And this is a billion times better than her being addicted to and sneaking in screen time!

  16. #16
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    SE Melbourne

    I have had this same issue with my DD from about the same age. She is still an avid reader, reads all the time, she is now 17 and doing VCE. The sleep issue is hard to get through to them. I tried everything with my DD. The one thing that I did find that helped was her stopping reading, having a shower, then a mug of the old fashioned Horlicks....nice and warm, straight after her shower. Not long after she would head off to bed and sleep. It helped her, not even sure that they still have it! Its a different story now though, she could sleep the day away!!

  17. #17
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2012

    Well success the last two nights. We are doing dinner 6-6:30 reading 6:30-7:30 then shower and hot chocolate and in bed by 8 lights out.
    Shes been finding it much easier to go to sleep and this morning she got out of bed at 7:40am without being woken up!! Huge difference!
    Thanks for all the tips!

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2005

    Great to hear, bellany! I will keep some of these things in mind for DD1 as she gets older. I think the later shower might work for us for other reasons too.