People with ADHD in general often have difficulty with getting enough sleep. ADDitude magazine says that “Kids with ADHD are three times less likely to get enough shut-eye than their friends.” It is well known that ADHD symptoms are worse when the person is sleep deprived.
According to The Sleep Doctor, often children and adults with ADHD have:
- Trouble falling and staying asleep
- Unrefreshing and restless sleep
- Difficulty relaxing at bedtime
- Insufficient sleep, and chronic sleep debt
This has definitely been the case in our home! Sleep was always a fight and waking up in the morning was (is) always equally as difficult! After some maturity and also having implemented a sleep routine, we rarely have difficulty at bedtime. Funny/not funny that our energetic kids start bouncing even higher when we as adults are ready to crash!!
So what do we do? First of all please make sure that your Health Care Provider is aware of the sleep issues for you or your child. It may be a matter of medication, anxiety or other issues that need to be assessed by a professional.
Get plenty of daytime exercise. This can help reduce restlessness and hyperactivity. It also gives a terrific boost to sleep.
Create a bedtime routine. Going to bed is boring for the ADHD brain. Creating a fun, calming routine that you can stick to gives them something to look forward to and gives predictability which is also important. A routine that works needs to include a consistent bed time with a winding down period. Your routine may include things such as:
- Read a special story together, or as an adult find a book that interests you. Make sure you set a timer so you don’t read all night!
- Have a light healthy snack.
- Play a quiet, more calming game.
- Have a special tucking in routine. We talk about the good in our day and end with a prayer.
- Listen to quiet, calming, no lyrics music. Avoid screen time at least an hour before scheduled bed time
Avoid stimulants. Limiting caffeine in the afternoon and avoiding foods before bed such as chocolate, foods high in carbohydrates, alcohol, energy drinks and nicotine will help improve your overall sleep.
Use of essential oils can be calming for many individuals. Scents such as lavender, cedarwood, sandalwood have been helpful in our family.
Sleep with a weighted blanket. Kids with neuro-development disorders often find deep pressure relieving. Using a blanket that is weighted can calm an overactive nervous system.
Waking up at the same time each morning. Studies show that having a regular wake time helps the body in its wake/sleep cycle.
None of these things are miracle workers, unfortunately. Find what works for you and your family and use them consistently for a period of time. We noticed a difference in our family and I hope you notice a difference in yours!
Family ADHD Coach Laureen