ADHD Sleep Tips: Better Tips Than Counting Sheep

by | May 26, 2022 | ADHD Symptom Control | 0 comments

ADHD Sleep Tips

If you want to live an easier life pay attention to this: ADHD Adults need enough sleep. Exhaustion isn’t an option. In fact, it’s downright dangerous. 

I go this more in depth here, but during sleep, your brain does lots of neurotransmitter repair work. Sleep is a tune up for your brain. It helps you be less foggy, keeps your brain on task, and allows you to better manage your emotions and hyperactivity. 

When you’re exhausted, your ADHD symptoms flare out of control. Kiss any hope of managing your time or staying organized goodbye. Your chances of success fade.

If you can master sleep, you will make a huge dent in being able to sustain an attentive and sharp brain. So it’s important you do what you must to get enough sleep. It’s time to talk ADHD sleep tips.

Six Reasons ADHD Adults Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Sure ADHD comes with a challenging relationship with sleep.

But the biggest ADHD sleep culprit is lack of structure to get to bed early enough. Why?

1. People with ADHD forget to go to bed. Involved in a book or the computer, they literally don’t remember to stop what they’re doing and hit the sack.

2. Late at night when the rest of the world is asleep, adults with ADHD finally get the quiet they need to be able to focus. In college, I used to set my alarm for the middle of the night and get up to study for tests. This may seem extreme, but it was the only way I could focus.

3. Many people with ADHD are night owls. It feels unnatural to go to bed early. Reality is, if you’ve got to get up for work or school, you’ve got to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

4. Going to bed involves routines; the tiny details of shutting down the house and getting ready for bed. Some people find this overwhelming and avoid it by staying up too late.

5. Once they go to bed, they’re too restless to sleep. This is when the hyperactive mind kicks into gear. Racing thoughts and ruminations about what happened today or what might happen tomorrow keep them awake. 

6. Many ADHD medications are stimulants that can impact sleep. If you’re taking medication for your ADHD and can’t fall or stay asleep, ask your doctor for suggestions.

Once you figure out the reasons why you stay up too late, you can figure out solutions to get you to bed on time. 

Through ADHD coaching and the ADHD Success Club, most of my clients are able to break the sleep deficit cycle and get to bed earlier. I have them set alarms and reminders. They learn to create nighttime routines. We hook bedtime to other habits so they remember to go to bed.

It’s like a miracle when the sleep deficit is controlled. With enough sleep, my clients are much more able to function during the day. They begin to plan and follow through. They learn to take the tiny daily steps needed to take control of their out-of-control worlds.

One of the biggest culprits of lack of sleep is difficulty falling asleep. You can’t get your required number of hours if it takes you 2-3 hours to fall asleep. It’s not mathematically possible.

Three Tips to Help ADHD Adults Fall Asleep

  • Avoid mental stimulation before bed. Don’t do anything that’s going to keep that brain switch turned on. Once your brain gets stimulated, it’s hard to turn it off. What’s a popular stimulation? Your screens! The Internet is a never ending path to amazing ideas and interesting places. Emails rev us up about problems at work. Video games excite our brain cells. Yet the stimulation we get from the computer is the last thing we need to sleep. Shut down your computer a couple of hours before bedtime. Put away your smartphone. Step away from video games. Are there other things that stimulate your brain? Stay away from them before bedtime.
  • Create bedtime routines. Quiet, small routines signal your brain that it is time to relax and settle down for the night. Routines are important, yet unnatural for people with Attention Deficit. Some ideas for routines: let the dog out, take a warm shower, put on your PJs, turn off lights, check that the doors are locked.
  • Bore your brain to sleep. Once you’re in bed you need to take conscious steps to relax your brain so it will settle into sleep. Read a boring book, meditate, listen to music, watch calming TV.

What ADHD sleep tip will you try this week?

Want to learn more about sleep and ADHD?

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