Sleep & Mornings

Bedtime Rituals to Calm Racing Minds and Fall Asleep Faster

That evening glass of wine isn’t easing you into sleep; it’s contributing to your restless nights. Learn what to drink and eat instead, and finally get the sleep you need.

A woman with ADHD sleeping peacefully after establishing a healthy bedtime routine
A woman with ADHD sleeping peacefully after establishing a healthy bedtime routine

Many adults and children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) struggle to fall asleep and stay there. Sleep can be easily disturbed by mental and physical restlessness, which in turn can impact a person’s ADHD treatment.

These ADHD-friendly sleep tips will help you get a better night’s rest every night, and learn how to fall asleep.


Do: Drink warm milk. Milk contains tryptophan — the same natural sedative that’s found in turkey — and it could do the trick for even the busiest ADHD mind.

Don’t: Drink alcohol. Digesting alcohol can affect your ability to stay asleep, and may result in frequent waking. Alcohol is a diuretic, and will also cause frequent bathroom visits during the night.

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Do: Drink chamomile tea. Chamomile has a mild sedative property, which increases when combined with the soothing effect of a warm liquid.

Don’t: Consume anything containing caffeine (including coffee, caffeinated tea and chocolate) less than four hours before bedtime. In addition to being a stimulant, caffeine, like alcohol, is also a potent diuretic that could cause you to wake up to go to the bathroom.

Showering & Eating

Do: Take a hot shower or bath an hour before bed. This will soothe and relax your muscles and cue your body that it’s time to sleep.

Don’t: Eat a large meal. It takes about four hours to digest a meal, which can keep you awake so wrap up meals early.

Do: Eat small snacks. When you go without eating for a long period of time your body send out signals to increase sugar levels in the bloodstream.

[Wired, Tired, and Sleep Deprived]

Medications & Conditions

Don’t: Take certain medications before bedtime. Many over-the-counter pain medications contain a hefty dose of caffeine — as much as a cup of coffee! Certain asthma medications, migraine and cold preparations, and antidepressants may also contribute to sleeplessness.

Do: Get evaluated and/or treated for restless legs syndrome (RLS). The name of this common sleep disorder refers to the “creepy, crawly” sensation in a sufferer’s legs, which causes an urge to move and makes it difficult to get to sleep.

[Tired of Feeling Tired? How to Solve Common Sleep Problems]

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5 Comments & Reviews

  1. I’ve found that chamomile tea seems to stimulate me, rarther than relax! I thought this was very odd, until my older daughter told me that our grandson (her son, who also has ADHD) is the same way. Chamomile tea in the evening seems to stimulate our Grandson, rather than relax! I wonder if other people with ADHD have experienced this. (I also wonder if there might be an additive to the chamomile “tea” that is the culprit, though I have also consumed chamomile as a “single herb” infusion (tea)–from bulk chamomile blossoms that I purchased from a health-food store. I have often noticed that packaged (bagged) herbal teas often include the words, “natural flavors” as an added ingredient, even when the only other ingredient is the single herb.

  2. I would add to the list to not do strenuous exercise in the evening and put down all electronics an hour before bed (maybe when you take your shower). The electronics are key for me. My brain is so bouncy and stimulated if I don’t stop them soon enough before bed.

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