ADHD and Sleep: Tips For Helping Kids Get Better Rest

ADHD and sleep don’t necessarily get along very well. It’s true: kids with ADHD have more sleeping trouble than their peers. For kids and parents alike this can mean an extraordinarily stressful close to the day. Luckily, Madeline Vann, MPH is here to help! In a nutshell, she suggests routine, routine, routine! Her twelve tips foster a peaceful, relaxing, and sleep-stimulating bed time routine. Catch her wonderful article here. Here is a sum-up below:
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1.  USE AN EGG TIMER

Use tangible items like an egg timer to structure the hour dedicated to winding down.

2. ADHERE TO A SLEEP SCHEDULE REGARDLESS OF THE DAY

While it can be fun to stay up late or sleep in on weekends, this unstructured time can derail the progress made during the week.

3. REMOVE STIMULATION

This includes rough-housing and technology. Not only can it disrupt the peaceful atmosphere, but the light from computer screens can signal the body that it’s daytime.

4. OFFER REWARDS

If your child completes bedtime activities (bathing, brushing teeth etc.) or stays in bed after lights out, they can be rewarded with small tokens that can be traded in for morning treats like picking the music in the car on the way to school.

5. KEEP THE HOUSE QUIET

Even if you plan to stay up long past “bed time,” it’s helpful to keep voices down and the TV volume on low.

6. BE CALM

If they wander, return children to bed calmly. It is inevitable that some nights kids will struggle to stay in bed – don’t humor this behavior by arguing, lecturing or expending excessive energy.

7. ALLOW A FULL HOUR FOR BED TIME

Use the egg time to create routine and structure within this hour, making bedtime predictable and regimented.

8. INVEST IN WHITE NOISE

A white noise machine, or even a fan, can help to eliminate stimulating household noises at bed time.

9. WAKE UP GENTLY

Instead of a blaring alarm, try opening the blinds or turning off the white noise machine to set the tone for a tantrum-free day.

10. ALLOW FOR WAKE UP TIME

Allow for getting ready time when planning kids’ wake up time. This will make getting out the door a lot less stressful!

11. MONITOR NAPS

Long naps can be very damaging to sleep patterns. If a nap is needed, try to limit it to a 20-30min power nap.

12. CONSIDER MELATONIN

Of course, consult with your doctor first!

Before closing, Vann recognizes sleep challenges that go beyond typical symptoms of ADHD. These include restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, night terrors, delayed sleep phase syndrome and narcolepsy. Please consult with a doctor if you suspect your child is struggling beyond the typical realm.

In conclusion, bed time doesn’t have to be a battle of wills. After a few weeks, routine can help to provide structure to one of the most important parts of a child’s day.

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