Put an end to the exhausted cycle of “I Cannot Sleep”



Children with ADHD are four times less likely to stay in bed through the night and fall asleep fast. Why? Sleep and ADHD are regulated by many of the same brain areas. Although you cannot alter your child’s ADD, you may improve his/her sleep quality by adhering to this schedule.


The ADHD Household with Sleep Deprivation


It is typical for those who suffer from both sleep problems and attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD). According to a British study, 57 percent of the parents of children with ADHD slept for less than six hours, and three times as many of these children struggle to fall or remain asleep. Over 50% of the children woke up four times at night. The majority awoke earlier than 6:00 a.m. It is easy to see what is going on here: parents find it difficult to get any sleep when their children are up.


Lack of Sleep Has a Significant Effect


Both adults and children become agitated, impatient, and less productive when they lack sleep. Adults who do not get enough sleep at night are more likely to be absent from work. Research indicates that insufficient sleep might exacerbate symptoms of ADHD, resulting in a loss of emotional regulation. Additionally, it may negatively impact working memory, a condition that many of our kids experience.


The Link Between Attention and Sleep


Children with ADHD typically sleep less, which can be explained biologically by the fact that many of the same brain regions control both attention and sleep. It is probable that a youngster with attention issues would also experience difficulty sleeping. The biology of your child cannot be altered. However, kids can overcome their sleep issues with the use of measures that are friendly to ADHD. This is what you should do.


Steer clear of sleeping pills.


The majority of adult-effective sleep aids have not undergone sufficient testing to ensure their safety and efficacy in younger patients. This holds true for both prescription and over-the-counter melatonin sleep aids. Clonidine is occasionally prescribed by doctors to children with ADHD who have difficulty falling asleep. While the medication does help kids fall asleep more easily, many of them wake up at two in the morning.


Engage in Daily Exercise


Encourage your child who has ADHD to get some exercise during the day, whether it is by walking, riding a bike, jumping rope, or jogging. Our bodies need physical exercise to help them transition between the different stages of sleep. In addition, physical stress from exercise causes the brain to lengthen a child’s deep sleep duration.


Establish and adhere to a reasonable bedtime.


Recognize that your child might not require as much sleep as other children of the same age. It is possible that if you put him to bed too early, he will merely lie there, awake and getting more nervous. Make sure you stick to your nighttime schedule every day of the week, even on the weekends. Your child’s circadian clock will be thrown off if you let him stay up late on Friday and Saturday nights. He will wake up on Monday morning feeling somewhat jet lagged.


Adhere to Nighttime Rituals


Evening routines tell the body and brain to slow down. You should spend the hour or two before your child goes to bed reading, listening to music, or engaging in any other peaceful, soothing activity. At this point, violent video games and TV shows should be completely prohibited. Not even any fighting. Read or tell a younger youngster a bedtime tale. Give older kids permission to read in bed. Make sure your youngster has her go-to teddy animal or blanket. A soft, squishy pillow may be the object of older children’s affection.


A good night’s sleep depends on what you eat and drink.


Do not eat or snack two or three hours before going to bed. Digestion might keep your child up, particularly when they are eating sugary or caffeine-containing foods. Give him some warm milk, saltines, or a little piece of turkey, which contains the natural sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, if he insists on having a snack. To avoid requesting a glass of water before going to bed and having to use the restroom later, make sure your youngster drinks enough water during the day.

Maintain the Darkness in the Room


Darkness not only signals to your child that it is time to sleep, but it also removes any visual distractions that may be preventing him from dozing off. A child is less likely to get out of bed to play with his toys if he cannot see them. What happens if your child requires a light to fall asleep because they are terrified of the dark? Make sure the light is turned down, and use a timer to make sure it turns off when he goes asleep. Select a clock face that only illuminates when a button is pressed. Put up blackout curtains to block out window light.


Investigate Relaxation Techniques


Soothsaying music or deep breathing exercises can facilitate falling asleep. A child who is restless can be soothed with a foot or back rub. With each breath in and breath out, have your child concentrate on breathing while they imagine a gentle elevator rising and falling. Try a peaceful mantra or an evening prayer.


Put on comfortable clothing for sleeping.


  1. Some kids cannot sleep because of cold feet; putting on socks can help them go off to sleep.

  2. Take off any rough tags from your pajamas.

  3. Flannel bedding and pajamas should not be combined. The textiles could adhere to one another, making it challenging to roll over in bed.

  4. Wearing only cotton pajamas helps keep you from sweating and tossing around in a warm atmosphere.

  5. The room can be cooled with air conditioning or a fan, and the soothing sound of the fan blades rotating will help.

Refusing to Sleep


Some kids with ADHD may stop at nothing to avoid going to sleep, especially if they have anxiety disorders or oppositional defiant behavior. Consider using a behavioral strategy: Give your youngster clear instructions to stay in bed between specific times. If she gets up, quietly tuck her back into bed while you sit outside her door. A few nights in, you will not need to be outside watching intently. If you are not willing to follow through, do not try this. You are in big trouble if you let your youngster disobey the rules even just once.


Act Now


Although treating a child’s sleep issue is difficult, it is worthwhile. The sooner you address chronic sleep difficulties, the better, as they have far-reaching effects on the entire family.

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