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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Need help, my 13yrold daughter has not slept alone in 5 or

Resolved Question:

Need help, my 13yrold daughter has not slept alone in 5 or more yrs. started sleeping with her baby sister when we first moved into new home. have done everything, changed rooms, redecorated, new beds (pural) the only thing I can get out of her is she is afraid, hears things see's things... her sister now 9 is done with this arrangement. she will go to sleep in her room but by 11 or 12 she has snuck into sisters bed. she wakes up all night long and the sleep depervation is starting to effect her day to day life... any thoughts please!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

I think what has happened here is that when your daughter was younger, she started sleeping with her sister and her fears became reinforced. So now that she is older, she sees her original fears as legitimate and can no longer remember how "safe" she was sleeping on her own.

You may want to try to have her sleep in her own bed in increments. Starting at a level where she feels safe, start slowing taking away the time she has in her sister's room. Give her any comforts she deems necessary such as the light on, door open, radio on, a special teddy bear, etc. Encourage her to extend this time alone as long as possible and offer her a reward for any night spent alone.

She has learned a fear and now does not understand that the only way to rid herself of the fear is to confront it. The only motivation she has to deal with this problem will have to come from you as her parent. Talk with her about her fears, reassure her, and then work out a reward system to help her have a reason to confront her fears.

You may also want to talk with her doctor about a referral to a therapist. Your daughter may need to talk with someone who can reinforce the ways you are trying to help her and who can also give you some ideas and insight into how to help your daughter.

Be assured, fears are easily treatable. With some help, your daughter will be able to sleep in her own bed.

I hope this has helped you,


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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
thanks Kate, you have giving me all the ideas we've tried already. we can not get more than 1/2 of night or on a good night a whole night, but the norm is tears and sneaking into sisters room after all are a sleep. She spend the time in there awake, at times all night...
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

If she has not seen her doctor, I would recommend she see her asap. If a physical reason for her sleep issue is not found, she may need to talk with someone in therapy to work out what is happening. The reason she is not sleeping needs to be addressed, whether it's physical or another cause.

It sounds like you have done all you can at this point. It is tough dealing with a situation like this so don't forget to take care of yourself.

I think with outside intervention, your daughter will be fine.

Thanks for your question,


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