ADHD and The Importance of Good Sleep

Difficulty with sleep is a common problem for people of all ages with ADHD. Studies have shown that parent’s of children with ADHD report difficulties with bedtime resistance, sleep onset, night and early morning awakenings, sleep-disordered breathing (snoring and apnea), and daytime sleepiness. (3, 4, 5) Many of these difficulties are reported by parents of adolescents with ADHD, and by adults with ADHD as well.

 
 

The primary challenges for those with ADHD include difficulties with attention and concentration, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Disturbed sleep is not only a prominent feature of people with ADHD but may also exacerbate and complicate the difficulties already experienced.6  It is therefore vital that sleep disturbances and sleep routines are explored as part of a comprehensive approach to treatment of ADHD.

 
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To establish healthy sleep hygiene, try these simple tips:

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine (including soft drink and chocolate) in the time leading up to bedtime

  • Set a bedtime and try to stick to it, even during weekends and holidays.

  • Engage in a relaxing bedtime ritual eg. mindfulness meditation, bath or shower before bedtime, reading a book or listening to audiobooks or relaxing music.

  • Exercise daily, and ensure children have had plenty of physical exercise.

  • Try to get adequate exposure to natural light during the day.

  • Avoid foods that may be affect your sleep eg. fatty or spicy foods.

  • Ensure there is ideal temperature, sound and light conditions in the bedroom.

  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow.

  • Avoid screen time before bed, and screens in the bedroom.

 
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