How To Get Better Sleep
There are a few steps that someone with ADHD can try to improve sleep. Avoiding napping four hours before bedtime and consuming any caffeine – through coffee, chocolate, etc. – can help. Also, if their medication is a stimulant, take it as early as possible so it doesn’t impact sleep.
Although it’s hard to maintain a routine, it will be helpful to be mindful about having a calming bedtime routine that helps establish the same bedtime every day. When in bed, it’s important that the sleep environment is conducive for a good night’s sleep as well.
If someone with ADHD is having trouble with insomnia, then please click the orange button below to take a free online sleep test to see if any of our services can be of use.
How Adhd Causes Sleeplessness
ADHD can pose a number of challenges for anyone trying to get a good night’s sleep.
Those with ADHD can have trouble keeping a schedule. It’s important in general to have a good schedule and try to get in the bed at the same time every night. Therefore, if someone has a disorder that stops them from following a regiment, then they will struggle to get the amount of hours they need.
Medication is also another issue because most of the medications used to treat ADHD are stimulants. Stimulants can increase the activity of the brain at a time when the brain should be winding down for bed.
There is alo an impact of the other disorders associated with ADHD that can impact sleep. Individuals with ADHD also have anxiety, depression, mood disorders or substance abuse problems that can add to the insomnia.
Adhd And Insomnia: Understanding The Connection
Although many people claim they “must have ADHD” when they feel distracted and unable to focus properly, it is a real condition that can impact many aspects of everyday life. One lesser-known impact of ADHD is that it can present difficulties for the person suffering from it to get quality sleep at night.
Over time, not getting enough quality sleep can take a major toll on a person’s work and personal life, but there are some treatment options available that can improve symptoms of both ADHD and insomnia.
Have you considered clinical trials for Insomnia?
We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Insomnia, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available – and be a part of finding a cure.
Read Also: Is Stranger Anxiety A Sign Of Autism
Sample Recruitment And Sample Features
During the recruitment period, 252 patients met the inclusion criteria and accepted to participate in the study. In order of frequency, the combined presentation of ADHD was the most common , followed by the inattentive presentation and hyperactive/impulsive presentation . Regarding insomnia, 44.4% of patients met the criteria for insomnia disorder and 63.9% of the total sample participants had insomnia symptoms.
Create A Bedtime Routine
A set bedtime routine will signal to your body that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep. This can include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or doing some light stretching. Also, routine helps to ease anxiety which can be disruptive to sleep. People also tend to sleep better when they go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. With this, you will be able to set an alarm for a reasonable time and not have to worry about oversleeping.
Also Check: What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Autism
Are Sleep Problems Misdiagnosed As Adhd
In my experience, insomnia-induced ADHD isnt common, but I have referred two dozen teens and young adults for sleep studies to avoid misdiagnosing them. Some were found to have sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or primary insomnia, and treatment improved sleep and reduced symptoms. But those teens also wound up being treated at our clinic for ADHD. Nevertheless, I believe that severe sleep deprivation can present with ADHD-like symptoms, but most of such cases should be screened out from an ADHD diagnosis with an evaluation.
Poor sleep can result from ADHD, complicating diagnosis. This condition is common but under-recognized. Both of my children have what I call ADHD-related insomnia. I made up this name for it because I saw it so often among my clients, whose active minds didnt shut down just because it was 10:30 p.m. Its hard to know if this condition describes your child because you cant easily separate this kind of insomnia from the one previously described. Which comes first: the chicken or the egg? The best solution the prescriber at our clinic has found is to begin treatment with stimulant medication, and follow the case closely for a month. Some teens will sleep better after beginning stimulants. A few will have daytime sleepiness despite taking them. That generally proves the diagnosis, but it also suggests its time to try a different stimulant or to pursue a sleep study.
Results In Relation To The Presence Of Insomnia Disorder
Sociodemographic, clinical, and psychometric variables are presented in Table 1 according to the presence of insomnia disorder. Regarding the bivariate analysis, there were no differences in sociodemographic features except for employment characteristics . No significant differences were found on IQ between patients with insomnia disorder and those without that disorder and neither also when family psychiatric records were compared. Any medical record and high body index mass were related to a higher prevalence of insomnia disorder. Regarding specific medical comorbidities, due to the small sample size, some medical diseases could not be statistically analyzed. However, it was observed that the group with insomnia disorder had a higher prevalence of pain syndrome compared with the group without insomnia disorder but a lower prevalence rate regarding diabetes mellitus and arterial hypertension . No differences were found regarding other comorbidities, including cardiac, endocrine, gastrointestinal, respiratory, and neurological diseases. Similarly, several pharmacological treatments for those medical diseases were not analyzed because of small size. In any case, non-opioid analgesics were more used in patients with insomnia disorder , while a fewer use of antihypertensive and oral antidiabetic medications was observed. No differences were found for other medication categories for medical conditions and psychiatric disorders .
Recommended Reading: How To Discipline Autistic Child For Hitting
What Are Some Treatments For Insomnia
Next, you might want to talk through treatments for insomnia. Another reason ADHD and insomnia are so connected is that many of the basic treatment approaches involve looking at your daily life routine. When thinking through insomnia, as with addressing ADHD symptoms, you need to consider, is my life routine healthy for me? Is my diet and behavior hurting or helping?
With ADHD, your daily routine has a profound impact on your symptom management. What you eat and when and how much you exercise among other things affects how well you can keep your symptoms under control. When it comes to insomnia, you want to think through the same things.
If you have regular problems with insomnia, consider first what you eat and drink especially later in the evening. Try to keep alcohol and caffeinated beverages to an absolute minimum. Avoid sugary and fatty foods, as well.
In addition to your diet, you need to look at your activity levels. Make sure you exercise at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise helps to consume energy and gets your body to rest. Beyond diet and exercise, consider your sleep routine. Make sure you have a regular time you go to bed each night. Furthermore, protect your sleep by keeping the room dark and keeping electronics out. Start winding down by turning off electronics 30 minutes before bed.
Identify Triggers For Poor Sleep
Many things can impact sleep quality and a person’s ability to fall asleep. Identifying specific triggers that make it more difficult for your unique child to fall asleep, or otherwise get the sleep they need, can be helpful.
For example, where some kids struggle with restlessness due to hyperactivity, for another, there could be a trigger, like feelings of anxiety or nervousness, which might be exacerbated by talking about certain topics . This way, you can avoid or address these triggers.
If difficulty with sleep persists, or if it is severe, make sure to consult with your child’s doctor. There are a number of treatments that can help, ranging from therapy , and medication to alternative interventions.
Also Check: Does Having Sensory Issues Mean Autism
What To Do Next
Are you an adult with ADHD who still struggles to manage your condition? Or, do you have a child diagnosed with ADHD who isnt responding to treatment? If so, then a sleep disorder like sleep apnea may be a factor.
To learn more about sleep conditions that may be affecting you, you can schedule a free consultation at Sleep Better Georgia by. For many, this is the first step toward better rest, better focus, a calmer mind, and a happier life.
How Common Is Insomnia With Adderall
One research team recruited 568 children with ADHD to study the effectiveness and side-effects of Adderall XR .
For the most part, improvements were seen and side effects were mild. However, 92% of subjects reported at least 1 adverse effect during the 24 month study . And while most adverse effects were mild, the most commonly reported side effects were:
Overall, that means that right about 10% of total subjects experienced some insomnia symptoms.
Another similar study had 308 children and found similar side effects :
Finally, one more study had 154 child subjects with ADHD. There were 2 experimental groups to test both a low and high dose of Adderall .
Side effects were rated by parents of the children subjectively. Overall:
Appetite, stomach aches, and insomnia were rated as worse by parents while children were receiving either dose of Adderall
In addition, certain side effects like headaches were worse on the higher dosage.
SummaryWhile Adderall is a relatively safe drug in correct doses, it does come with a few potential side effects. Insomnia is one of the most commonly reported side effects.
You May Like: Autism Red Flags In 15 Month Old
Adhd Symptoms And Sleep Deprivation
Research shows that many ADHD symptoms are similar to those linked with sleep deprivation. Adults with ADHD-related sleep issues often experience forgetfulness and difficulty focusing. Children with hyperactive/impulsive ADHD may also experience daytime fatigue.
Because these symptoms are so closely correlated, it can be difficult to determine if theyre related to insomnia, ADHD, or both. This can lead to a misdiagnosis and prolonged sleep trouble. In some cases, patients are screened first for a sleep disorder and then for ADHD if no determination is made.
Establishing A Healthy Sleep Environment
Where possible, create an environment for sleep that is calm, cool, and quiet. Allow the child to help with this, as they can tell adults what makes them feel comfortable and safe. This may mean:
- moving objects around so that they do not cast scary shadows
- moving the bed to another place in the room
- letting the child choose their own bedding or pajamas
- removing things that they find distracting, such as ticking clocks or screens
Recommended Reading: Signs Of Autism In Infancy
Sleep Tips For Children And Adults With Adhd And Sleep Problems
Experts are cautiously optimistic that sleep interventions may be key to improving not only sleep, but also ADHD symptoms and the effects of ADHD medication. Indeed, preliminary studies have found that behavioral sleep interventions improve sleep, ADHD symptoms, quality of life, daily functioning, behavior, and working memory.
For children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD, a consistent bedtime routine and healthy sleep hygiene practices can help reinforce the connection between bed and sleep. Try making gradual changes and note where you see improvements to develop a system that works for you. Some tips include:
- Cut out sugar, caffeine, and alcohol within a few hours of bedtime
- Avoid screen time for an hour before bed
- Avoid doing stimulating activities and projects that require hyperfocusing in the evening
- Make the bed a stress-free zone reserved for sleep and sex
- Get enough exercise and sunlight during the day
- Develop a bedtime routine that you enjoy, such as rereading a favorite book, spending time with pets, or taking a warm bath
- Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet, using a white noise machine if necessary to block out intrusive noises
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, choosing a time that is realistic and age-appropriate to get the recommended sleep for your age group
- Use a weighted ball blanket
- Was this article helpful?
Tips To Improve Sleep
Improving sleep hygiene has been shown to improve sleep health, especially in individuals with ADHD. Sleep hygiene is a set of health considerations that can help people get to sleep and remain asleep each night. Sleepers can make several lifestyle changes with their sleep hygiene in mind.
- Maintain a consistent schedule: Sticking to the same schedule, including a consistent bedtime routine, can help you optimize your sleep health. Aim to wake up and go to sleep at the same time, even on weekends.
- Limit blue light exposure at night: Exposure to screens too close to bedtime can make it more difficult to fall asleep and may negatively affect your ability to remain asleep. Devices like computers, tablets, and phones emit blue light, which can have a significant impact on getting restful sleep.
- Establish a comfortable bedroom environment: A cozy, quiet room with relaxing elements and a cool temperature can improve your sleep hygiene.
- Increase exercise: Working out during the day can improve your ability to fall asleep at night.
- Avoid certain substances before bedtime: Caffeine and alcohol can affect our ability to fall and remain asleep. Avoid these substances near bedtime for better sleep.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Know Your Child Is Autistic
Ways Adhd Causes Sleeplessness
On top of the normal things that can keep anyone from getting a good night’s rest, there can be extra challenges if you have ADHD. These include:
Trouble keeping a schedule. People with ADHD are often easily distracted and find it tough to stop projects, tune out interruptions, and go to bed. Even once youâre in bed, it can be hard to quiet your mind and relax enough to sleep.
Stimulants. The stimulant medications often used to treat ADHD can make you feel more awake and can make sleeping harder. Thatâs on top of any caffeine you get from sources like coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.
Adhd And Sleep In Children And Adolescents
Its also common for children with ADHD to experience sleep issues. However, diagnosis can be even more complicated for kids because symptoms of ADHD and sleep disorders are often similar. Symptoms of ADHD are exaggerated when kids are tired, and some kids with sleep issues may even show behaviors that mimic ADHD even if they dont have it. This is why its so important for a doctor to thoroughly diagnose ADHD. Many doctors will use a combination of medical, developmental, and educational assessments to truly understand if ADHD or something else is at play.
The sleep disorders associated with ADHD in children and adolescents can keep them from getting their recommended amount of sleep each night.
Read Also: Language Delay Vs Autism
What Is The Relationship Between Adhd And Sleep
Individuals with ADHD are especially vulnerable to experiencing sleep issues, including insomnia, trouble waking in the morning, and sleep apnea. The relationship between sleep and ADHD can be cyclical. The symptoms of ADHD can make it difficult to sleep, and poor sleep can impact ADHD symptoms during the day.
More research is needed to discover exactly why certain sleep disorders are associated with ADHD, but theres evidence that the bodys sleep-wake cycle plays a role. The sleep-wake cycle essentially tells us when to go to sleep and when to wake up. This cycle is delayed in some people with ADHD, who are naturally inclined to go to bed and wake up later.
Whats more, those with ADHD may have a hard time calming their minds at night or stepping away from a project or task to go to bed. The delay in falling asleep combined with having to wake up for work, school, or personal obligations can make it extremely difficult to get a full nights sleep.
People with ADHD are also more prone to disorders like restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea that can wake them up during the night. Its not fully known whether ADHD contributes to these disorders or if the disorders may lead to symptoms similar to ADHD. In either case, the result is the same: disrupted sleep.
What You Can Do
If you have ADHD and trouble sleeping, you should tell your doctor. You might need a change in your medications to make sleeping easier, or you might do a sleep study to see if there is another underlying cause of your sleeplessness.
- Avoid napping 4 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid drinking caffeine 4 hours before bedtime.
- If you take stimulant medication, make sure you are taking it as early as possible.
- Have a calming bedtime routine.
- Go to bed at about the same time every day.
- Sleep in a comfortable bed in a dark and quiet room.
- Avoid looking at screens and electronic media in the evening.
Also Check: Tips For Teachers With Autistic Students
Research On Adhd And Insomnia
There are a few studies that have looked at if sleep problems are more common in those with ADHD.
Lets start by looking at children with this disorder.
A study of just under 11,000 Australian preschool children found that :
Children with moderate or severe sleep problems were 12.06 times more likely to have diagnoses of attention-deficit disorder and ADHD and had significantly more conduct and emotional problems and inappropriate behaviors
While thats only a single study, it certainly does look like ADHD puts even children at higher risk of developing insomnia symptoms.
Another longitudinal analysis used data from the UK-based Twin Study in order to see how ADHD and sleep quality are linked as children age .
The results are shown in the graph below. People with a remitted ADHD diagnosis had no significant difference in sleep problems than the general population. However, children with persistent ADHD diagnoses and people with late-onset ADHD both experienced more sleep problems.
The researchers attributed most of this risk increase to psychiatric comorbidities that are common in those with ADHD.
One final study looked more closely at children with ADHD and sleep problems and found a few interesting things :
SummaryMost research does suggest that people with ADHD are more likely to experience insomnia. This applies to both children and adults. However, if ADHD symptoms decline or even remit, the sleep problems associated with them also appear to remit.