ADHD Sleep Issues

Andreas Meistad@s profile picture
Andreas Meistad
Jan 13, 20234 min read

ADHD Sleep Issues

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. One of the most common symptoms of ADHD is difficulty sleeping, which can lead to a host of other problems such as fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. In this article, we will discuss the connection between ADHD and sleep issues, as well as strategies for managing sleep problems related to ADHD.

First, it is important to understand that ADHD and sleep issues are closely linked. People with ADHD often have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting restful sleep. This can be due to a number of factors, including hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulty regulating emotions. Additionally, people with ADHD often have trouble winding down at night and may have racing thoughts that keep them awake.

What Strategies to Manage Sleep Issues?

There are several strategies that can help people with ADHD manage their sleep issues. First, it is important to establish a consistent sleep routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate the body's internal clock and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Additionally, creating a relaxing bedtime routine can help prepare the mind and body for sleep. This can include activities such as reading, listening to soothing music, or practicing deep breathing exercises.

Another important strategy for managing sleep issues related to ADHD is to limit exposure to screens before bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the body's production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Additionally, the stimulating content of screens can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep. To minimize the effects of screens on sleep, it is recommended to avoid screens for at least one hour before bedtime.

Physical activity can also help improve sleep in people with ADHD. Regular exercise can help reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and can promote feelings of calm and relaxation. However, it is best to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as it can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Medications can also be used to manage sleep issues related to ADHD. Stimulant medications, such as Ritalin and Adderall, can help reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity, making it easier to fall asleep at night. However, stimulant medications can also have negative effects on sleep, such as insomnia and nightmares. If you are taking stimulant medication and experiencing sleep problems, it is important to discuss this with your doctor, as they may be able to adjust your dosage or switch to a different medication.

Another medication that is commonly used to treat sleep issues related to ADHD is melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate the body's sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin supplements can be used to help people with ADHD fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly. However, it is important to note that melatonin should be used under the guidance of a doctor, as it can interact with other medications.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, ADHD and sleep issues are closely linked, and managing sleep problems can be a challenge for people with ADHD. However, there are several strategies that can help, including creating a consistent sleep routine, limiting exposure to screens before bedtime, getting regular exercise, and using medications as appropriate. If you are experiencing sleep problems related to ADHD, it is important to speak with your doctor to determine the best course of action.

CBT-I: A Long-Term Sleep Fix

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a natural, side-effect-free sleep treatment. It involves relearning your sleep habits and addressing issues that are getting in the way of quality sleep. Studies show that CBT-I works as well as or better than sleep medications and that its effects last after the treatment is done.1

Fill out Dawn Health’s questionnaire to get started with CBT-I right from your computer — no in-person visits necessary. Quality, natural sleep is possible when you embark on a CBT-I treatment journey.


Andreas Meistad@s profile picture
Andreas Meistad

Therapist specializing in applying CBT principles for the treatment of insomnia.

It’s time to stop blaming the night monsters.

Let’s work together to transform your sleep for the better.