"Sunday Night Syndrome"


New Member
difficult child has a pretty severe case of it. He has developed a hypersensitive anxiety about school since entering the day treatment program months ago. Sunday nights are horrible. He is lucky if he gets to sleep by midnight, which was the case last night, as they munchkins had yesterday day off due to the holiday.

He simply cannot calm himself to sleep. Then he worries about not getting enough sleep. Couple that with the fact that he is convinced he will not sleep now that seroquel has been discontinued and - yikes!

Immediately after discharge last week from psychiatric hospital, I took him to the store to get some relaxation CDs. He chose a two-CD set of classical music bcuz he plays the violin. He loves the CDs and plays them each night, while doing some breating/relaxation techniques we've learned, but it is as if there is a part of him that just won't shut off long enough for him to fall asleep.

At this point, he is counting down the days till he graduates from the day treatment program. He is done there June 15th.

I know this is not a problem exclusive to difficult children. There have been many nights when I have not been able to get to sleep because of something on my mind, but I was wondering if anyone else has any ideas of any additional things we could try.



New Member
I'm sorry your difficult child is having a rough time getting to bed. I must admit, I, too, had a difficult time getting to sleep last night! My mind was heavy both with thought and a killer migraine. One thing I was wishing I had was a pen and paper by the bed...I thought perhaps if I just wrote things down, my mind would take a rest. Of course, I was afraid that if I actually got up and GOT the pen and paper, my body would wake up more and I'd be even father from falling asleep, so I didn't get it. LOL But, for future reference, I think I'll try to get a pen and paper for the bedside.

I hope you find something that works! :::hugs:::


Active Member
I think difficult child 3's anxiety was this bad. The mention of school, even in a positive way, would cause nausea. Simply knowing that school was on next day - yep, that'd do it.

We pulled him out. For us it was the only long-term solution. before that we had tried changing schools - it did work, for a while.



Hi Jamie, my son has bad "Sunday Night Syndrome." In fact, "Monday Night Syndrome" after a three-day weekend is even worse. Last night he told me he didn't want to go to sleep because then "school would be here faster." He wasn't wrong!

We do what all the "experts" tell you not to do -- allow difficult child 1 to watch TV while lying on the couch in our family room, or take our portable DVD player into his bedroom to watch a movie. It seems to get his mind off of school enough to fall asleep. If I try to talk to him about his anxiety or engage with him in any way, it seems to make things worse. So we "break the rules" and allow "screen time" while resting quietly.

Have you asked about trying Melatonin? We've never tried it, but I know a lot of difficult children it seems to help.


We use what smallworld uses, too. TV. It's a distraction. The anxiety just feeds on itself.

With my difficult child she doesn't feel good and/or she can't sleep. Then she's going to be tired in school. The she isn't going to be able to concentrate because she's tired or not feeling well. Then the teachers (her perception, not reality) are going to get angry because she's not concentrating/paying attention. Then the teachers are going to yell at her (again, not reality). In front of everyone. You get the idea. It's just this huge snowball effect.

I've found that trying to talk about it only keeps the focus of the anxiety in the forefront. So, we use distraction and relaxation. Sometimes I'll lie down with difficult child. Sometimes I'll rub her back and hair and sing. Just depends on what she needs. We save the talking about it at another time.

Sara PA

New Member
I not only allowed my son to fall asleep with a TV on, I do it now too. I prefer the sitcom reruns on Nick@nite, nowadays he likes SportsCenter on ESPN. When I first couldn't sleep, I had to put on CNN and force myself to read the crawl across the bottom. Nothing like trying to keep your eyes open to make them want to close.

by the way, my son is once again trying hypnotherapy for his anxiety. He tried it before with some success but stopped and now has restarted. The focus is on teaching him to relax. Both therapists (current one is a psychologist) use cd's to help with relaxing at home. Seems to be the best thing he's tried.


Sara -

I've been watching the reruns on Nick at Night, too. Roseanne makes me laugh so hard.

What cd's did you use? I'm always keeping my eyes open for these things for my difficult child.


New Member
Any time sleeping is a problem in our home I work on a way for my kids to relax. I tell them to close their eyes, only think of their breathing and imagine a fluffy white feather drifting slowly down, getting blown up in the air gently by their breath. Any time other thoughts try to invade, to mentally make them self go back to the feather.
After a while the feather is an automatic, just thinking about it now is making me drowsy, lol.
The only bad thing about the TV being on while they sleep is that their brain keeps processing the noise and voices and they don't get the deepest level of sleep needed for concentration the next day.


New Member
We tried the TV route about a year ago - seemingly difficult child goes into pseudo-caffeine mode and stayed up one night well past 2:00 a.m. watching Scooby Doo and Pokeman.

Sara, reading the crawl along the bottom of CNN would definitely work on me!

I have thought about melatonin in the past, but we have never tried it. Think I'll look into it a bit more.

I really think that any assistance difficult child could get in the relaxation department would help him with sleep as well as some of his daytime anxiety. Problem is, sometimes just the discussion of relaxation is enough to prompt some negative reaction.

Last night, after exhausting our usual rounds of relaxation ideas, I told him to lie still with his eyes closed and try imagining Sonic the Hedgehog running around jumping bales of hay - and count how many bales of hay he jumped. This morning difficult child told me that did the trick. Said he got up to 733 bales, but that finally he fell asleep - before midnight (earliest night since coming home from psychiatric hospital).

We have made both munchkins' bedtimes 30 minutes later, hoping that might help?? They are getting older and they always have a hard time going to bed this time of year because it's still light out at bedtime and some of the neighborhood kids are still outside hooting and hollering when we are trying to get them to settle in for the night.

I thought difficult child would be exhausted last night after the long weekend, getting back to school and getting back into karate after a month-long break while inpatient. This morning I suggested he ride his scooter and/or bike after school today, reminding him that the more physical activity he gets, the more tired he may be at night.

Guess we'll see. Thanks again!