Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do to manage your ADHD symptoms. It can also be one of the hardest things to do.
As ADDers, our minds are constantly going in a thousand directions at once. It gets worse once we go to bed because there are no distractions in the dark except for those you create in your mind.
Here are some tips to help you get to sleep more easily:
Figure out how much sleep you need in order to function well. Both of my daughters require more than the usual 8 hours and they’ve learned to listen to their body and go to bed when they are tired. No matter how much or how little sleep you need, make sure you get it on a regular basis. Sleep in on the weekends if you choose, but don’t do it as a means of making up what you’ve missed all week long.
Start your own bedtime routine. Small children have bedtime routines – wash their face and brush their teeth, jammies on and prayers said, then a short bedtime story before lights out. As parents we set up those bedtime routines as a gentle way of easing our children into sleep.
It works just as well for big kids too. Maybe after your face is washed and teeth are brushed, you can get your pajamas on, say a prayer if you choose, and then do a little inspirational reading to ease you into sleep. No Conan, no 11 o’clock news, find something light and inspirational to read or listen to before bed.
Make your bed and bedroom inviting. Make your bed every day so the covers are straight when you go to bed. Don’t leave things laying on the bed like folded laundry. (I have an aunt who sleeps amongst her folded laundry scattered across her bed. Really.) Don’t leave clutter around, and if you can, get things like televisions, computers and telephones out of the room. Make your room a haven for sleep, not a dumping ground.
Get some gentle help when you need it. We all have nights when we just can’t fall asleep. When you have one of those nights, start by getting out of bed. You’ll never fall asleep by just laying there and trying really hard. Keep some things on hand to help you fall asleep when you have trouble. Herbal teas and herbal remedies can help you fall asleep. Lemon balm, chamomile, passion flower and valerian are all helpful for sleep. Save the Tylenol PMs for when you’re really desperate.
Put a good night’s sleep high on your priority list and you’ll soon be seeing some positive results.