If your ADHD kids are anything like my youngest son, sleep time can be a wild ride. Between their brains always running, and the medications needed to treat ADHD causing extra stimulation, getting my son the 10 hours of sleep he needs is a daily challenge.
Sleep is important for everyone to maximize their daily productivity, but it is even more important for young developing minds. Here are some tips and strategies that have worked for us, and will hopefully get you and your loved ones some much needed rest.
- Watch foods eaten later in the evening. You already know by now that caffeine makes it tough to get to sleep, but studies have shown that eating process foods, foods with artificial sweeteners, and foods with artificial colors can impact ability to sleep. Sticking to natural, healthy foods at night will help your loved one get to sleep faster.
- Stick to a schedule. Our bedtime routine starts at 8:00 with logging off of all screens. Showers happen from 8:00 to 8:30, then unwinding time from 8:30 to 9:00. We do this every night during the week. Staying on a schedule is good for all kids, but especially important for those with ADHD.
- Exercise. When my son was younger and couldn’t sleep, I would occasionally get him dressed and go out and jog around the house five times. This wasn’t child abuse…it was to get his body tired and get out all of that extra energy. Ideally, this exercise would happen during the day, so try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity into their day.
- Try Everything – There are no bad ideas! We have installed blackout shades, sleep masks, used a white noise app like Sleep Pillow to play background sounds, and even experimented with essential oils. All of these things can help your brain produce the melatonin that it needs to get your body to sleep.
- Meditation. Meditation helps me get to sleep, and can help put your loved one in the right frame of mind at night. Check this article for some tips on getting your kids to consider meditation.
- Review your medication schedule with your doctor. Some medicine used to treat ADHD can interfere with the sleep cycle. Talk to your doctor about moving around some of the doses to other parts of the day in order to minimize the sleep effects.
- Consider melatonin. We give one of our kids melatonin at night to help stimulate the brain’s natural production of the substance. It does help, but be careful not to give too much as it may limit your brain’s ability to produce it on its own. We recommend doing some research on your own from some great sources like these two links
We hope that these tips, along with working with your loved one and their physician, will help you create a great sleep environment to help your loved one get a great night’s rest. Please let us know if these tips helped, or if you have any tips of your own, in the comments below!