ADHD and Sleep

Parents know that helping their children learn to sleep through the night is more challenging when a child has ADHD.  Why?  Children with ADHD have twice the rate of insomnia and sleep disturbances as people who don’t have ADHD.

ADHD students need to take their sleep seriously

So falling or staying asleep is already hard if you have ADHD.  Add to that the natural sleep cycle for teens (2 a.m. – 10 a.m.) doesn’t mesh with the time that the world expects them to start their days.  Students with ADHD are often even more sleep deprived than their peers.  Sleep deprivation both mimics and makes ADHD symptoms worse.  So if you have ADHD taking charge of your sleep habits is even more important.

Sleep hygiene, what’s that?


We usually think about keeping clean when we see the term hygiene.  But did you know it also refers to the science that deals with the preservation of health?  Sleep hygiene is the habits you put in place to keep yourself healthy with adequate sleep.  An ADHD coach can help you figure out what you are doing to mess with your own sleep cycles.  Here are a few ideas to try.

  • Don’t nap during the day.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed.
  • Exercise regularly, but earlier in the day.
  • Don’t eat a lot before bedtime.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Turn off the DS, TV, internet or Wii at least an hour before your bedtime.
  • Associate your bed with sleep. Don’t do other things like read, check email, text or watch TV in bed.
  • Make sure your room is not too hot, or too bright.
  • Make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. The bed should be comfortable, the room should not be too hot or cold, or too bright.
  • Don’t sleep with your pet. They can wake you up at night making it hard to fall back asleep.
  • Here’s a really fun way to look at your sleep environment and make it easier to sleep:

For other ideas on sleep hygiene visit:  Sleep Foundation


Other ADHD and sleep links:

Other steps to try for insomnia treatment

Sleep facts and stats

A good overview of signs of sleep deprivation in children compared to ADHD symptoms

Diagnosing sleep disorder when you have ADHD

Have you figured out how to get your sleep on track?  Share your stories with us.

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