Does a lack of sleep escalate your ADHD symptoms? Does not getting enough sleep make living with adult ADHD even harder?
Researchers report in the journal Sleep that children both with and without ADHD who lost about an hour of sleep a night for six nights in a row were more inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive; symptoms commonly associated with Attention Deficit.
So, even non-ADHD kids with a sleep deficit showed ADHD symptoms. Yikes!
These kids weren’t pulling all nighters. Their sleep was reduced by the normal amount kids experience staying up to watch a TV show, eat a late dinner after soccer practice or play a video game.
Though this study was done on children, I think adults better pay attention, too. It’s the rare adult who says they get enough sleep.
Just for kicks, I went back and checked the intake forms for my last ten new clients. Guess what? Only one of them claimed to get the amount of sleep she needs!
It’s that old self-care thing I’m always yammering about. If you don’t give your body the care and support it needs, you’re asking for a runaway case of ADHD.
Once you admit you don’t get enough sleep, what do you do about it?
Your first step is to figure out why.
Six Reasons ADHD Adults Don’t Get Enough Sleep
1. They 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. May see 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. If this is your pattern, Healing Sleep CD from BrainSync will help you get a good night’s sleep.
6. Many ADHD medications are stimulants which can impact sleep. If you’re taking medication for your ADHD and can’t fall asleep or can’t stay asleep, ask your doctor for suggestions.
Once you figure out the reasons you stay up too late, work with your ADHD coach to figure out solutions to get you to bed on time. Don’t have an ADHD coach? You’re in luck! I happen to know an excellent one.
If you’re not ready for coaching, but still want to get a good night’s sleep, I highly recommend, Kelly Howell’s Healing Sleep CD or mp3. I listen to Kelly’s meditation and subliminal mp3s often, and I’m sleeping better than I have in years.
Oh, and here’s a link to more information on that sleep study and ADHD kids.
And, if you’re reading this and it’s past your bedtime, do me a favor. Shut down the computer and get your ADHD brain to bed!
Other articles on sleep and ADHD: