I am a 17 year old boy who has had problems sleeping all of my life. Even as a child I wanted to sleep during the day, and stay awake all night. Within the last few years I have been thinking about this, and I was wondering if you could help me. I have developed a slight obsessive-compulsive attitude in doing schoolwork by checking answers over and over again. This doesn’t really bother me since I keep a 4.0 gpa by doing this, but this has spread over into my home life slightly. I feel like I have to check things to make sure that they’re right, and I keep my room spotless, and it drives me crazy if it’s not.
Now I’ve been thinking about my sleeping problem. I lay awake at night trying to go to sleep and I hate myself because I can’t stop thinking. My mom tells me to try reading a book (but when I start I have to finish the book). She tells me to watch a boring television station (that doesn’t help, because it usually makes me think of other things). I have a stream of conciousness problem that doesn’t end, just on and on…I can’t go to sleep until I clear my head, even listening to slow music. If I know the song I listen to it because I like it, and if I don’t know the song I try to memorize it as it is playing, so I can’t do anything to stop thinking…That leads me to tonight, well this morning, when I decided at 2:17 a.m. that I might as well try to find information for this problem on the Internet. Please help me. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
—Desperate, Age 17, Holt, MO, USA