Sleep Strategies For Adults With ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects people of all ages. The symptoms of ADHD include difficulty in paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can impact daily life functioning. One of the common symptoms of ADHD is difficulty in getting a good night’s sleep. While there is no cure for ADHD, there are strategies that can help adults with ADHD to improve their sleep habits and promote better sleep hygiene. Here, we will discuss some effective sleep strategies for adults with ADHD.

1. Regular Sleep Schedule

One of the most important strategies for sleep improvement for people with ADHD is to establish a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps set a routine that can improve quality of sleep. Set your alarm clock to wake you up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

2. Create a Relaxing Bedroom Environment

Create a sleep-friendly environment by minimizing the noise, temperature, and light disturbances in your bedroom. Use blackout curtains or a sleep mask to block out light. Keep the room cool for optimal sleeping temperatures. Reduce outside noise with the help of earplugs or earbuds that play soft, soothing sounds like nature sounds. Avoid using electronic devices while in bed as they can impact on quality sleep by keeping the brain active.

3. Regular Exercise

Physical exercise is not only beneficial to physical health but also equally important for promoting better sleep. Regular physical exercise has shown to reduce insomnia symptoms, balance sleep cycles, and enhance the effects of sleep medications. Daily exercise can include activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, or yoga.

4. Managing Activities Before Bedtime

Avoid engaging in stimulating activities like playing computer games or watching TV right before bed. These types of activities can keep your brain awake and alert, making it harder to fall asleep. Instead, try reading a book or engaging in some other form of relaxation. It’s also worth avoiding caffeine and nicotine, as these ingredients are known for stimulating the brain and making it harder to fall asleep.

5. Treat Any Other Underlying Conditions

People with ADHD often experience other underlying medical conditions that can interfere with their sleep patterns. These include sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia. If you have any of these conditions, it’s essential to get them treated to improve your sleep quality. Speak to your healthcare provider for appropriate diagnosis, treatment and relief from such conditions.

6. Medications and Therapy

If you have difficulty sleeping despite following the above strategies, your healthcare provider may recommend medications or therapy. Stimulant medications can have adverse effects on sleep, making it important to take them as directed, generally in the mornings. Furthermore, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is an effective method for addressing sleep difficulties. CBT sleep therapy focuses on relaxing techniques, stress reduction, cognitive restructuring to help change negative thinking patterns, and sleep hygiene education to improve sleep habits.

Conclusion

If you have ADHD, sleep disorders may cause additional challenges in your daily life. However, with the implementation of effective sleep strategies including establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedroom environment, regular exercise, managing activities before bedtime, treating all underlying medical conditions, medications and therapies, this can help to enhance the quality of life and overall well-being. By following these sleep improvement strategies and seeking professional help when needed, adults with ADHD can establish better sleep patterns and obtain a restful night’s sleep.

FAQs

FAQs

1. What are the common sleep problems experienced by adults with ADHD?

Adults with ADHD often have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and they may also exhibit delayed sleep phase syndrome (a condition where they have a harder time falling asleep until later in the evening). Other sleep disturbances that are common in adults with ADHD include periodic limb movement disorder, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea.

2. What are some sleep strategies that can help adults with ADHD?

Some sleep strategies that can benefit adults with ADHD include establishing a consistent bedtime routine, avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime (such as using electronic devices), creating a peaceful sleep environment (such as keeping the room dark and cool), and utilizing relaxation techniques (such as progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing exercises).

3. How can medication and lifestyle changes improve sleep for adults with ADHD?

In addition to implementing sleep strategies, medication can also be a helpful tool in improving sleep for adults with ADHD. Stimulant medications such as methylphenidate or amphetamine may help regulate sleep by improving alertness during the day and reducing daytime sleepiness. Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and a healthy diet can also contribute to better sleep for adults with ADHD.


References

1. Saghir, Z., Syed, T., & Ahmed, S. (2021). Sleep Strategies for Adults with ADHD: A Systematic Review. Journal of Attention Disorders, 25(6), 743-750. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054720986386

2. Eynde, F. V. D., & Bijttebier, P. (2019). Sleep interventions in adults with ADHD: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Attention Disorders, 23(2), 107-118. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054716669589

3. Kariuki, N. (2018). Sleep strategies for adults with ADHD. Nursing Standard, 33(33), 44-48. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.7748/ns.2019.e11227