6 ADHD-Friendly Tips to Get More Sleep

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Getting enough sleep can be a daily battle when you have ADHD. Miano (2012) says that because the ADHD brain craves excitement, it is hard to have a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, the less sleep you have, the worse your ADHD symptoms are. It is difficult to focus, concentrate and remember when you are sleep deprived. Emotional control, for example not losing your temper, is harder too.

Here are  six ADHD-friendly tips to getting more sleep.

1) Make Sleep a Priority

When you have ADHD, you might feel is sleep a boring way to spend time when there are so many more exciting options. Yet, because sleep is so vital to the quality of your daily life, your ADHD and your long term health, it's important to make a mental shift. Rather than thinking that time spent sleeping is a waste of time, view it instead as an investment. Plan that eight of the 24 hours in your day will be spent sleeping.

2) Get excited about what more sleep gives you

It can be hard to get excited about getting more sleep.  Instead, identify what more sleep would give you. Perhaps being able to enjoy your day rather than dragging yourself through it. Or, enjoying a family movie night without falling asleep the minute you sit on the sofa. These details will help motivate you to make changes to your lifestyle and habits.

3) Have a sleep schedule

People with ADHD can have very erratic bedtimes and wake up times.

You might pull an all-nighter because you had a deadline to meet. Or you might go to bed at 8 p.m. one evening and wake up at 11 a.m. because you have only been getting 4 hours of sleep for a week.  Starting today, have a set time you go to bed and wake up – even on weekends and holidays. When you do this, your quality of sleep will improve.

  In addition, this new habit provides a structure and framework for the rest of your life too.

4) Go to bed 

It's one thing to have a bedtime, but another to make yourself to go to bed! Some people with ADHD hyper-focus on an activity and lose track of time.  If this is you, identify what your hyper-focus activities are and avoid them in the evening.  Other people find they weren’t productive during the day,  so catch up on their to dos when the world is quiet. If this is you, learn how to be an excellent time manager. Pinpoint the reason why you can’t make yourself go bed, then brainstorm ways to overcome it.

5) Limit screen time

The blue light from screens interferes with the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin production is already delayed when you have ADHD, which is why it's harder for you to fall asleep at the same time as people without ADHD. However, you can help your melatonin production by switching off all your screens (TV, computer and your tablet) two hours before bedtime. When you do this, it is easier to fall asleep when you climb into bed.

6) Listen

Having something to listen to when you are in bed is helpful because it quiets your busy mind and helps you to fall asleep. An audio book, a guided meditation mp3 or soft music are all good choices. Experiment with different options until you find your favourite.  If you wake up in the middle of night, press play and you will soon be fast asleep again.

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