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ADHD & Sleep

Racing thoughts. Lingering to-do lists. Myriad distractions. They keep an ADHD mind from falling and staying asleep, tiring us out to the point that no alarm clock can rouse us in the morning.

Racing thoughts. Lingering to-do lists. Myriad distractions. They keep an ADHD mind from falling and staying asleep, exhausting us into a "sleep of the dead." Here, the ADDitude experts offer advice for ending the vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and aggravation...

ADDitude's Top 5 Articles On Falling & Staying Asleep Appear Below. But First Some Background...

The four most common sleep disturbances associated with ADHD are:

1. Initiation Insomnia

Prior to puberty, 10 to 15 percent of children with ADHD have trouble getting to sleep -- twice the rate found in children without ADHD. This number dramatically increases with age: 50 percent of children with ADHD have difficulty falling asleep almost every night by age 13. By age 30, more than 70 percent of adults with ADHD report that they spend more than one hour trying to fall asleep at night.

2. Restless Sleep

When individuals with ADHD finally fall asleep, their sleep is restless and not at all refreshing -- they awaken as tired as when they went to bed.

3. Difficulty Waking

ADHD sleepers who have fought bedtime restlessness well into the morning hours are commonly irritable, even combative, when roused before they are ready. Many of them say they are not fully alert until noon.

4. Intrusive Sleep

If an individual with ADHD loses interest in an activity, his nervous system disengages, in search of something more interesting. Sometimes this disengagement is so abrupt as to induce sudden extreme drowsiness, even to the point of falling asleep.

Top 5 Sleep Articles

Explaining Sleep Hygiene

Sleep problems arise from developmentally-based impairments of management functions in the ADHD brain - particularly, an impairment of the ability to sustain and regulate arousal and alertness. One solution: better sleep hygiene...

7 Solutions to Sleep Problems

Just as there is no one reason for ADHD-related sleep disturbances, there is no one solution that works for everyone. Here are a handful of options from ADDitude’s experts...

Sleep Tight, Darling

Studies show that not getting enough rest can worsen ADHD symptoms, leading to loss of emotional control. It can also adversely affect working memory, a problem for many of our children. Here are ways to help your child get the sleep she needs...

Up All Night?

"I fall asleep fine, but I wake up at 2 or 3 o'clock with all kinds of thoughts and fears that get magnified in the middle of the night. How I can relax my mind once I wake up so that I can fall back asleep?"

The Run-Up to Bedtime

Structure (or lack thereof) in a family's after-school schedule can make all the difference when it comes time to settle down for bed. Here are road-tested tips for smoothing your everyday routine...