It’s amazing when talking to other parents how much we all comment on sleep and the lack there of. Before I had children I would take sleep for granted. Nowadays if I get a good few solid hours sleep a night I feel grateful, although, personally I get grumpy if it's less than seven hours.

It is typically expected that at some point your children will go to sleep at night and sleep through until morning. This was the case with three of our four children. Although for some of us this is not the case. Raising a child with ADD has its challenges. One challenge in particular that has the most effect on the whole family is sleep.

Our journey with sleep and ADD...

Have you ever got to the point where you are so tired everything in you wants to sleep but you just can't nod off? I know I do – as a parent I worry a lot about what's happening, how the other children are coping, whether we are doing all that we can for our children, am I being a good enough mother to them all, am I raising them properly, am I imagining that there are 'things' wrong with my child!

I can feel like I have matchsticks in my eyes and every muscle feels like it's been tightly wound up. Sleep on these occasions is nearly impossible, to the point I lie there listening to my other half sleeping, while I cry. I try not to cry in front of my children as I feel I need to be seen to be strong. I want them to have happy memories of their childhood, I don't want them to have mummy crying all the time as part of that. They know that their sister struggles to sleep and they are so good at understanding and creeping around if necessary. What they don't understand is the need for three of them to share a room so our other daughter is on her own. This they hate, but with a three bedroom house and no financial room to move as yet this is how it has to be.

L is nearly 10 and has ADD. With that seems to come the inability to sleep. Our daughter doesn't know why she can't sleep. Her brain does not seem to tell her body that she is physically and mentally tired. Before diagnosis as mentioned in a previous blog my other half and I would literally work in a shift pattern. I would try and cope with the daily routine while he was at work, and the night time routine would mostly fall to him. At this point our daughter would sleep on and off through the night for an hour at most. By the end of the assessment period we were literally doing everything we could to keep the peace in the house and trying to make sure our other children were not disturbed as they had school the next day. It was very hard.

Eventually our daughter was diagnosed just after her seventh birthday and was started on daytime and night time medication. Do not think for one minute that I enjoy or take pleasure as a parent giving medication to my children. Currently, aged nine, she sleeps from 7pm until 2am and then she is awake until she goes to bed again. It's horrible as I can see how tired she is. She no longer wakes anyone up which in itself is a marvel as very often she will wake her sisters in a morning and spend a couple of hours making their mornings hell. She lays in bed and sings or wanders downstairs for a drink. I know this doesn't help but it helps her stay calm.

We recently started a new bedtime routine incorporating Indian Head Massage and Story Massage. Being able to use that positive touch is a great way to spend some quiet time before sleep. It can easily be incorporated into the bedtime hygiene routine. With Story Massage we can write our own stories specifically for our daughter and personalise them. She loves having a story that is about her and with her learning difficulties I find she is better able to understand and remember the stories than she would just being told. The whole blend of massage and storytelling means that she is engaged for longer. She can feel the story as well as hear it. For us story massage works on so many levels. It calms, relaxes her tense muscles, keeps her engaged and its above all fun. Story Massage is a wonderful tool on so many levels. All our children love to write stories and I have many to convert into story massages.

For us massage has played a huge part in our lives for the past year. Indian Head Massage and Story Massage both work really well. As a mother and a therapist I use both techniques to help relax all our children any time of the day or night.

A recent check up has highlighted that L is suffering with anxiety. She gets really worried about all sorts of different things, especially at night. It's also become apparent that the medication our daughter is on can cause a side effect of bad dreams. This has made us really sit up and think. I blame myself, whether it is because I am tired or I just feel like I am failing....but in reality I am not failing and neither are you!!!

People say I am a great mum but as I write this blog I don't feel at all great. I am worried and scared and sad and I am tired. I am a mum trying to help my daughter the best way I can and sometimes I fail. Sometimes there is nothing that I can do to help her. That’s the hardest part of being a parent whether they are disabled or not. The unknown is scary but together we can raise awareness and support each other.

For more information or to learn Story Massage at home or in the work place please see the website Or you can contact me at