• Hi, I am 14 years old and I am having trouble sleeping, can you please help?

    Your cycle of being awake for 24 hours and sleeping for 12 hours is an abnormal pattern of sleep.  This means your natural body clock (Circadian Rhythm) is to have a 36 hour day instead of a 24 hour day.


    The natural body clock controlled by the Pineal Gland in the brain is normally near to 24 hours.  It appears that you have disrupted your natural body cycles (Circadian Rhythms).


    The cause of this body clock disruption is likely to be due to staying too long on the XBOX or internet, as bright light especially at a time you are meant to be sleeping reduces your Melatonin hormone levels at a time when they should be raised (they raise during the night to give you better sleep).


    You are too young to consider prescribing any sleeping pills at present, but can reset your body clock naturally without medicines, and this is the way to do it.


    1) It is important that you set yourself a regular bedtime i.e. 9-10pm at night and regular waking time of 6-7 am.  You need to stick to this even if you cannot sleep and must not expose yourself to bright light during these hours of planned sleep, you should remain in bed even if you cannot sleep during these night hours, and must not use the internet or XBOX during these hours.


    2) Start dimming the lights and relaxing from about 8pm and avoid internet or XBOX use during this period.


    3) Avoid any caffeine (in some drinks i.e. cola, tea, coffee, hot chocolate) after 5pm.


    You must do this for the long term, and you will find that after about 10 days your body clock should start resetting to a 24 hour rhythm, but this may improve further over a period of another month.


    If you were to go back to what you are doing currently then this would all go wrong again.


    If this advice does not work by one month, you should see your local medical practitioner or physician.


    Good luck, and please let us know your progress.

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