Understanding ADHD And Sleep

We’ve talked about sleep at length and how the lack of it can cause health issues. Sleep is so intrinsic to our wellbeing that anything that throws it off balance can open a Pandora’s Box of unwanted issues. But, it is not just sleep that plays a role in determining health. Physical and mental conditions can interfere with sleep and set undesirable things in motion. One such condition is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s a common problem that starts in childhood and sometimes carries through to adulthood. The condition has been linked to various sleep problems and this, conversely, worsens ADHD symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9.4 percent of children between 2 and 17 years of age had ever been diagnosed with ADHD in 2016. Meanwhile, about 1 out of 3 children with ADHD in America had anxiety in 2016. In American adults, about 4 percent over the age of 18 struggles with ADHD every day.


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How Are Sleep And ADHD Connected?

The exact cause of ADHD is still unclear but the symptoms in children might include inattention, hyperactive and impulsive behavior. These symptoms may vary from mild to severe. Meanwhile, adult ADHD symptoms might also include disorganization, trouble prioritizing, poor planning, problems completing tasks, and difficulty coping with stress.

The connection between sleep and ADHD is quite straightforward. Those with ADHD often have anxiety and depression, which, we know, can interfere with sleep. Imagine having a stressful day and how difficult it is to ‘switch off’ your mind in order to sleep. It’s similar to what people with ADHD go through, except it happens frequently. They also have difficulty following a schedule, which means that some tasks. Such as relaxing before bed and sleeping and waking at the same time can be challenging. To make matters worse, people with ADHD can also have sleep disorders and daytime sleepiness that can make sleeping and functioning during the day more difficult. In a study by the Sleep Laboratory, Rambam Medical Center and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, 34 children with a previous ADHD diagnosis and 32 controls underwent a full-night polysomnographic study and a multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT). It was found that children with ADHD were sleepier during the day while 50 percent had signs of sleep-disordered breathing compared to 22 percent of the control subjects. In addition, 15 percent of those in the ADHD group had periodic limb movement during sleep compared to none in the control group.

People who are diagnosed with ADHD may be prescribed medications to boost concentration and reduce hyperactive and impulsive behavior. Unfortunately, the medications can be a double-edged sword as they may increase alertness and make it hard to fall asleep.


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How To Sleep Better With ADHD

Avoid Doing Things That Make You Hyperfocused

The goal for better sleep is to relax and this means staying away from activities that make you hyperfocused. This could be watching TV, playing video games or any activity that might be stimulating. This applies to both kids and adults. One way to keep temptation away is to remove gadgets from the bedroom.

Exercise Often

Try to exercise regularly as it makes it easier to sleep at night. Children should be encouraged to engage in outdoor physical activities while adults should exercise regularly. Keep in mind that exercise and play should be done preferably during the day to give the body and mind time to wind down when it’s time for bed.

Adjust Medication Times

If you or your child is on ADHD medication but find it challenging to sleep, speak to your doctor about adjusting the timing. Some medications can cause insomnia and this, in turn, can worsen ADHD symptoms.

Have A Sleep-Conducive Environment

One of the most important factors for better sleep is to have a sleep-conducive bedroom. This means no clutter, no noise, and no bright lights. You need to use a good mattress too so you don’t toss and turn at night. The Nuvanna mattress is ideal because it addresses common sleep disruptors like excess body heat, motion transference, and poor spinal support. These disruptors are common to most people but they can be especially irksome for people with ADHD. Since they already suffer from sleep problems, even minute disturbances can keep them awake.

The Nuvanna mattress is designed by a materials scientist with over 20 years of industry experience. It features three distinctive layers that promote better sleep. The top layer regulates body temperature with the help of phase-changing gel particles. The middle layer absorbs motion so you and your bed partner can move without disturbing the other. The bottom layer supports the spine and individual parts of the body. All these combine to help you sleep better and, consequently, help you manage ADHD symptoms more effectively.

One of the keys to deal with ADHD is managing symptoms, which starts with improving sleeping habits. Good sleep not only has the potential to reduce ADHD symptoms but it can have a positive impact on everyday life.

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