The Importance of Sleep for Adult ADD

Are you the type who sits down at your computer at 10:30 p.m. to start surfing the Web? 

Do you decide to engage in a massive spring cleaning right before bed? 

Have you claimed to be a night owl who just gets started when the sun goes down? 

These are all common traits for adults with ADD/ADHD. And, unfortunately, these traits often lead to a lack of sleep. 

But, the science is clear. Sleep debt or sleep deficit impairs cognition and executive functioning.  

Getting a good night of sleep aids proper functioning in all adults, and especially in adults with ADD/ADHD. 

As someone with ADD/ADHD, you need to recognize that your brain cannot be relied upon to tell you when your body is tired as it’s too busy processing other information. 

To counteract this, you need to train yourself to get better at looking at the clock and begin the “wind-down” process at the right time, regardless of how awake you feel.

If your winding-down process takes two hours and your desired bedtime is 11:30 p.m., start winding down at 9:30 p.m., for instance, with no excuses! 

Another trick to better sleep is to simply start thinking about going to bed earlier. Just thinking about sleep will help you realize that the time you go to bed is a choice. 

One word of caution: Research shows that close proximity to a bright computer screen or cell phone screen activates the pineal gland, which controls the amount of melatonin in your body. 

Melatonin influences biological rhythms, including sleep. Staring at a computer or cell phone for hours before bed fools the brain into thinking that it is time to wake up—as if the sun is shining brightly—and that you should be ready for the day. The problem is that, in reality, it is bedtime.

If you can successfully limit distractions after 9:30 p.m., particularly cell phones and computer usage, you’re halfway there. This step can take some practice, but in time, new habits—including shutting down electronics by a certain time—can form. 

What should you do instead of surfing Facebook at 10:30? 

Try a hot shower. 

Hot showers can reduce the tension that builds up throughout the day and minimize hyperactivity at night. Being mentally prepared for bed starting at 9:30 p.m., reducing distractions (particularly computers and cell phones), taking a hot shower and cuddling with a loved one can do one wonders to align your sleep cycle.

If you struggle with sleep and have ADHD or think you might, please contact us below.

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