If you have ADHD, you have probably sought out ADHD sleep tips before. As most people with ADHD know, sleep can sometimes feel very elusive. Many times, you might lay down because your body feels exhausted, but no matter what you do, your mind just won’t stop racing. As you lay there trying to snooze with your mind still doing backflips, you wish to yourself that you only had some quick helps to get yourself into a deep sleep.
Recent studies have shown that possibly up to 75% of individuals with ADHD also have trouble sleeping. These numbers are off the charts. More than likely, if you have ADHD or someone in your family has ADHD, then you have seen the effects of trouble sleeping.
In this article, we want to provide solutions for sleeping better. Here we provide 6 ADHD sleep tips to help you get to sleep faster and help you sleep better. These tips should provide you a starting place for moving towards a better sleeping regimen. While not all of these strategies will work for everyone, they at least might get your mind thinking of the types of things that can possibly help you with your sleep issues.
#1 - Implement a Regular Sleep Routine
As we have talked about before, you need an ADHD sleep routine. Your body gets into rhythms based on how you normally behave. For instance, the times you normally eat help your body get into a metabolic rhythm which helps determine when you may be hungry later. When you sleep also helps put your body into a rhythm and makes your mind expectant of when to turn off.
To start off our ADHD sleep tips, you need to keep your natural sleep cycle in mind and help it as much as possible. This means that you need to get to sleep at the same time each night. You have to make this a priority. If you don’t, then your mind won’t know when to shut off and when to stay on. Pick a regular time and do everything you can to stick to it.
#2 - Make Sure to Exercise
Too often, we see a problem in one area of our lives, and we think that the problem isn’t affected by other areas of our lives. The truth, though, is that our lives and actions and behaviors are all interconnected. For any ADHD sleep tips to work well you need to acknowledge that sleeping well depends on living a healthy lifestyle all around.
To get to sleep faster and sleep longer, you need to exercise regularly. Ideally, you should exercise 30 mins to an hour each day. Not only does exercise help you sleep, but exercise helps improve your ADHD symptoms, as well. To start getting better sleep today, start exercising.
You shouldn’t exercise right before you go to bed since exercise will release endorphins and make your brain and body more awake. Instead, exercise in the morning when you wake up or in the afternoon. By the time evening rolls around then, your body will respond and be tired enough for sleep.
#3 - Consider Taking Melatonin
The last thing many of us want is to take more medication. If you wanted to take medication for sleep, though, you would have plenty of options to choose from. Considering though that you already have ADHD, you probably have enough medication to take already.
Instead of turning to prescription or over the counter sleep aids, consider taking melatonin instead. Our bodies already use melatonin as a way to help regulate our normal sleep cycles. If for some reason your sleep cycle has gotten off balance, you might turn to taking melatonin supplements as a helpful way to get your rhythm back on track.
Most specialists consider taking melatonin as safe as long as you take the recommended dosage amount. Ultimately, though, as with any supplement or medicine you take regularly, you should consult with your doctor before starting. Melatonin might come with minor side effects and it might not work for every situation, but it could be an option to consider to help get you started towards a better sleep routine.
#4 - Get Rid of Screens before Bed
We have all heard quite a bit about the dreaded electronic screens by now. We should have expected that they would show up on our list of ADHD sleep tips. If you have a child with ADHD, you should know some of the warnings about ADHD and screen time already. Screens can provide some benefits, but they also have tremendous draw backs. For instance, screens possibly throw off your sleeping rhythm more than anything else.
To start getting better sleep, you need to decrease your screen usage the closer you get to bed time. Ideally, you should turn off all screens 30 mins to an hour before you plan to sleep. By removing screens, you help your brain know it’s time to start shutting down.
Additionally, if you find yourself waking up or not being able to sleep, resist the temptation to surf the web or watch TV. Screens just make not being able to fall asleep that much worse. Instead try reading a book or listening to calming music. Either option would be a better place to turn than to screens.
#5 - Consider what You Consume Before Bed
Some additional helpful ADHD sleep tips revolve around what you eat and drink before you go to bed. You should always consider eating large meals right before bed as something to avoid. Even with that said, you can nonetheless consider small snacks to be ok possibly an hour before bed. Additionally, depending on what you drink, some things might help you get to sleep while other things could hurt.
For instance, what probably comes as a no-brainer, you almost always want to avoid caffeine and sugary drinks before bed. That means you shouldn’t drink regular coffee, soda, or really anything sweetened. Instead, you should consider drinking warm herbal tea without caffeine or coconut water. Also, recent studies have shown that cherry juice can help you sleep better and longer.
Ultimately, the point you need to understand is what you consume matters. You need to try to limit your caffeine intake early in the evenings so you don’t lay awake well into the night. If you eat or drink anything, keep it small and focus on things that experience has shown to help. For ideas on more things to eat and drink before bed, check out the ideas at this link or in this article.
#6 – Find Ways to Relax and Destress
With ADHD sleep tips, we primarily want to focus on ways of getting our minds to settle down. For those of us with ADHD, our minds always seem to race from one thing to the next. Interview ten people who can’t sleep, and more than likely at least half of them will say they can’t sleep because they can’t stop thinking about one thing or another.
ADHD and stress typically go hand in hand. Many people with ADHD get overwhelmed and stressed out easily. When you take that stress to bed, though, it only compounds your issues with adding in sleep deprivation as well.
To get rid of stress before bed, you need to find ways to relax both your mind and body. Taking a warm soothing bath might provide one great way to do this. Another way to relax might be to practice meditation or journaling.
Think of activities that get you away from what stresses you most. Also, try something that relaxes your mind like reading a casual novel or just listening to music or sipping tea. The more you do to calm your mind and body before bed, the more likely you will be able to fall asleep when you do go to bed.
ADHD Sleep Tips Depend on You Treating Yourself Well
Ultimately, our bodies function as a complex machine. Unfortunately, though, rarely do most of us take the time and effort to do the proper maintenance to keep our bodies running at peak performance. Some of us might spend hours working on our cars or our houses, but for some reason we never think of taking the same care to our physical bodies.
Often when we talk about managing ADHD symptoms, we talk about implementing a comprehensive ADHD treatment plan. Such a plan involves the whole person and considers maintaining ourselves on a physical, mental, and emotional level. Ultimately, if you want to find better sleep on a more consistent basis then you also need to look at how well you maintain your whole person.
None of these ADHD sleep tips will provide much lasting relief if you don’t take care of yourself. You can try anything for a night or two, but you might only get relief for a night if you don’t treat your body and mind well on a daily basis. You need to start putting healthy rhythms in place in every area of your life.
Once you have healthy rhythms, you might just find that soon you can sleep like a baby again. Use the tips outlined here to get you started, but also look to other strategies and rhythms to help aid in obtaining your sleep goals.