ADHD and Sleep: 5 Tips to Help Improve your Sleep Hygiene

Individuals with ADHD often report having chronic difficulty falling asleep. On top of that, many individuals with ADHD have poor sleep hygiene, which are basically the habits you follow before bed that either help or hinder falling asleep.

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Have you ever heard the term before? It sounds sort of odd, but don’t let it put you off – sleep hygiene can make a world of a difference for someone with ADHD.

Think you may have poor sleep hygiene? Here are a couple strategies that may help you get that badly needed sleep:

  1. Maintain a consistent bedtime. Sometimes life can feel anything but consistent, but the more you can stick to a certain bedtime during the week the better.
  2. Not possible? Try a consistent bedtime routine to “anchor” your evening. Even if you only have one thing that you do every night before bed, this can make a huge difference in signaling to your brain that it’s time for sleep. 
  3. Set reminders. Individuals with ADHD often need more time to transition to sleep than others, so the earlier you start your ‘routine’ the better. To help get this started, try setting an alarm clock to remind you that it’s time to shut things off and start getting ready for bed. Bonus idea: Set a ‘warning’ reminder as well to warn you that it will be time to start wrapping up soon. 
  4. Shut off your screens. Research has found that even the low-level blue light from a smart phone has about the same effect on your brain as bright lights. It makes you more alert and it suppresses melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. So turn off your computer, TV and phone at least 30 minutes before bed. 
  5. Reserve your bed for sleep. While most of us enjoy reading or watching TV in bed, research suggests that this may actually make you more alert. So, if your bed is reserved for sleep, the bed itself will be a cue for the brain that it is time to shut down.

Looking for more tips and ideas? Check out this sheet from the Centre for Clinical Interventions down under in Australia.

 

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