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I'm afraid of sleep-overs!

 
Whenever I'm supposed to sleep somewhere other than my house, I freak. I can't help it. Being away from home overnight makes me sick and makes it hard to breathe. I don't know exactly why it is, but it controls me.
 
I always have to make excuses for why I can't stay over at my friends' houses. I wish I could have fun at sleep-overs, and I'm not sure how to get rid of this anxiety. Help?

Hey girl, trust me when I say you’re def not alone there. I totes used to be the same way when I was younger. I had to be in my bed. I’d get homesick even across the street; I’d have trouble sleeping in any place that wasn’t my room.
 
What helped me, however? Starting small (from guest rooms and up), bringing a few of my fave home belongings to make my new bed homely and keeping busy with pals so my mind wasn’t on the distance. Those in combo turned my sleepless nights into golden slumbers.

Make It Gradual
 
The best way to get over any fear, first off, is to confront it. I know it may seem far away, but understand as you get older, you may be sleeping in a new bed for longer periods of time (for college, you may even be in a new bed for an entire year or semester).
 
It’s important to get over this fear now rather than later so you don’t miss out on fun opportunities. Know that while you may not get over your fear overnight (literally), you CAN and WILL get over it with time.

One Step at a Time
 
How to start? Try sleeping over a friend’s house in the neighborhood. Give her ‘rents and your pal a heads up that you tend to get a little homesick. I found in my experience they’re super accommodating. Let your ‘rents know too about your feelings in case they need to pick you up.
 
From there, make a plan. Plan out where you’ll sleep (I used to use a guest room because I just needed a bed) and choose some things at home that’ll help you sleep. For example, bringing my own pillow and teddy bear totally helped me. Ask your ‘rents if you can call them if you don’t feel so great; just knowing you have something to fall back on will def help those nerves. Then get ready to have a really fun night.

Keep Busy
 
When you’re at your friend’s place, you may be a li’l nervous. That’s totally OK and natural. Make a point to stay distracted. Watch movies. Play games. Make a fun snack or craft!
 
One thing I def recommend is playing a sport or doing some sort of physical activity (dance-off, much?) before going to bed. Exercise def helps make you tired and sleep come easier. By keeping busy, not only will you keep your mind off of home, but you’ll set yourself up for catching z’s.

Branching Out
 
Remember, you ARE going to be safe staying at your friend’s house. Nothing will happen to you and you’ll totes be OK. It’s all about getting through that first night away from home.
 
From there, branch out a little more. Maybe try a friend who lives farther away. Maybe this summer if you’re invited to go stay with a relative or friend at the beach or out of town, take a chance and go for it, knowing Mom and Dad are always around if you need to call them.
 
With time, staying away from home will get easier and easier until it’s no biggie. For me now, I’m totes OK sleeping in another state (this fall, I’ll actually be a plane ride and a couple states away from my house at college).
 
It was all about getting through this first night and knowing my parents — and yours — are def there if you need them. I was OK sleeping alone and you will be too. It’s just taking that first step. Good luck, girl and sweet dreams!

Infinite xoxo’s,
Alyssa B.

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POSTED ON 6/21/2010 12:00:00 AM

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