Surviving After a Night of ADHD Sleep – a.k.a. A Sleepless Night

by | Jul 25, 2014 | ADHD Symptom Control | 2 comments

ADHD sleepDid you have another ADHD sleepless night? ADHD sleep can be elusive. Maybe you were lying awake thinking about a work project or worrying about something your spouse said or how to get the dog to stop digging holes in the yard, or, or, or…

Now you’re facing the prospect of a day where you feel foggy and your ADHD symptoms feel out of control.

How does an ADHD adult function without enough sleep? Not well. Not well at all.

Having ADHD makes it challenging enough to plan and stay focused. Without a good night’s sleep the challenge can seem overwhelming and you wonder whether it’s even possible to stay awake much less make clear, focused decisions.

And the kicker is this: When you have adult ADHD that fog of exhaustion can last for two or even three days, even if you sleep well on the subsequent nights.

So while you’re taking steps to get a better night’s sleep, there are some things you can do to get through the day a little bit better.


Surviving After a Night of ADHD Sleep – a.k.a. A Sleepless Night

Tips for managing your ADHD symptoms when you haven’t gotten enough sleep:

  1. Plan Your Day: Take some time in the morning to make a clear list of what you need to do and where you need to be. This list will pull you through the rest of the day.
  2. Set Reminders: There are things you need to do to make it through today, not only specific tasks but simple things like eating a healthy lunch. Without enough sleep you are likely to forget to do these so set reminders on your smart phone or with alarms.
  3. Use a Timer: This is not the day to attempt long, thoughtful projects. It’s a day more suited to tackling lots of quick tasks. Grab your list, set a timer and see how much you can accomplish in 20 minutes. Repeat.
  4. Take a Break: When the timer goes off, take a break and take care of yourself. Get up, take a walk, stretch, and let your mind rest for a minute.
  5. Nourish Yourself: You need to manage your ADHD even more today than usual. Drink plenty of water, eat well, manage your environment, and even take a little power nap. In fact, those little breaks after the timer goes off are a great time to do these things. And when the timer goes off saying it’s time for lunch, go and eat something that nourishes you and sets you up for a good afternoon.

And along the way, cut yourself some slack. You’ll do it, you’ll get through the day.

Let me know how these tips for surviving after a night of poor ADHD sleep work for you along with any other tricks that help you get through a foggy day.


Dana Rayburn is an ADHD Coach in Oregon, but don’t worry… She works by telephone helping ADHD adults all over the world live more effortlessly and successfully with ADHD.



  1. jb

    So my issue is that I will be exhausted all day from bad adhd sleep and THEN at 10pm–wide awake. So then it just repeats and I stay up until 2, 3, 4 etc. How to stop that!?

    • Angela Caban

      Jenny – have you tried any relaxation techniques at night? Low music, something that would create a very low background noise. Not the TV exactly, that tends to wire most people.


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