Iowa Sleep Blog

How to sleep better with ADHD

Monday, April 11, 2016

For many, the ability to fall asleep at night does not come easy. They feel distracted or hyperactive and unable to focus on just one thing, such as relaxing and getting ready for sleep. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects about nine percent of children and four percent of adults in the U.S., and really has an impact on sleep. When you have ADHD, it can be hard to focus on sleeping, and when you’re not sleeping well, you’ll struggle with your focus. We’ve laid out four things you can do to make sure you’re sleeping well each night.

Practice good sleep habits

For any sleeper, it’s important that you are practicing good sleep habits each day and night, such as limiting your caffeine intake late in the day, shutting down electronics at least one hour before bed and creating a relaxing sleep environment in your bedroom.

Your medication could be interfering

If you think your medication might be playing a part in your inability to sleep, especially if you are taking a dose in the late afternoon, talk with your doctor to see if your treatment needs adjusting, or maybe switch to another option.

Don’t get anxious about sleep

For many with ADHD, when they’re not sleeping well, they tend to stress about not sleeping well. This makes bedtime a stressful time, therefore making it difficult to sleep, and continuing the cycle. It is important to remember that if you get into bed and you can’t fall asleep, that’s okay! Move yourself to another room, and do a relaxing activity in dim lighting, such as reading or knitting. If that doesn’t work, try one of these relaxing drinks or a natural sleep aid.

You could have a sleep disorder

Sleep disorders are very common in children, and adults alike, who have ADHD, and many doctors and researchers believe there is a connection between the two. Although there is not enough research to definitively support the claim, many believe the symptoms of ADHD may make it difficult to sleep well, and some medications used to treat ADHD may cause sleep issues if taken later in the day. Additionally, many side effects of ADHD mirror those of sleep disorders, which occasionally results in misdiagnosis of ADHD. Consider visiting a sleep doctor if your lack of sleep is affecting your everyday life.

If you notice your sleep habits or quality does not change, we would encourage you to talk with one of our sleep doctors about what could be impairing you to sleep well. Our board-certified doctors will work with you to learn about what might be keeping you up at night, and provide some treatment options specific to you and your sleep symptoms. Have a question you’d like to have answered or learn more about? Send it to us through our easy online form.

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