ADHD and the struggle to sleep

Caring for a child with ADHD can be challenging especially when it comes to sleep.

ADHD (Attention Deficit or Hyperactivity Disorder) is usually characterised by hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. It usually begins in childhood and can interfere with various aspects of a child’s daily life like at school, doing homework, sleep, and other various social situations. 

Caring for a child with ADHD can be challenging, especially when it comes to sleep. It is currently estimated that up to 50% of all children living with ADHD experience sleep problems. In this blog, we will take a look at the connection between ADHD and sleep.

The Connection between ADHD and sleep

Children with ADHD are likely to experience sleep problems, like shorter sleep time, difficulty falling asleep, and they are at a higher risk of developing severe sleep disorders. This problem can begin as early as childhood through to puberty. Many of such children experience restless sleep with several night-time awakenings, which leads to difficulty in waking up and it causes enormous daytime sleepiness! Most of the symptoms that characterise this disorder are similar to the more general symptoms of sleep deprivation.

ADHD and sleep in children

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Its diagnosis usually starts from childhood, although it can last into adulthood. As we mentioned earlier, a child with ADHD may experience trouble paying attention or controlling impulsive behaviours - that means, they may act without thinking about the consequences. A child with ADHD may also become overly active. 

When it comes to sleep, children with ADHD experience trouble with self-regulation, which means that they may find it difficult to swing from active mode to wind-down mode towards the end of the day. Children with this condition become more prone to nightmares, anxieties and restlessness associated with their sleep disorder. Even once they are in bed, it can be hard to quiet their mind and relax enough to fall asleep.

ADHD and sleep in teenagers

Just like children, teenagers with ADHD are hypersensitive to environmental stimulations - and their bodies end up reacting more strongly. That makes it very difficult for them to shut down or turn off their brain when it comes to bedtime.

How to help children and teenagers with ADHD get more sleep

According to many sources, children with ADHD who do not get enough quality sleep continue to experience significant deterioration in their ability to be attentive at school and achieve academic success. Here are a few easy to apply tips you can use to calm your child before bedtime and help them get all the restorative sleep they need:

  • Use essential oils to help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD and autism in children.
  • Avoid trigger food.
  • Exercise daily to help improve the quality of sleep.
  • Find ways to help reduce anxieties in children with autism and ADHD. If something works, stick to it!
  • Stick to a regular bedtime routine.
  • Use white noise, like rain or something that makes a humming sound. 
  • Get ear plugs for kids who are extra-sensitive to noise.
  • Install blackout blinds.
  • Spray your Rainbows Dream Spray onto your child’s pillow to create calm before bedtime.

Note that if your child or teen has ADHD and severe trouble sleeping, you should really tell your doctor.