ADD All Night Long

by Brenda on August 21, 2007

I don’t know if I have mentioned it already, but I have started a second website, ADD Student, where ADD + School = Success. It’s a question and answer type of site, where I will try to answer the kinds of questions I hear most about Attention Deficit Disorder, especially as they pertain to school.

Yesterday I posted an answer to the question “Can ADD be treated?”. Of course, there are several options to treating ADD symptoms, including:

  • Medication
  • ADD Coaching
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Sleep

The last three, diet, exercise, and sleep may be a surprise to some of you, but the fact is that doing the things we all know we’re supposed to, like eating good, healthy food, getting enough exercise and enough sleep will actually help manage and lessen the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder.

It occurred to me this morning that I am not so good at taking my own advice. I actually do exercise every day, and while my diet could use some cleaning up, it’s still pretty healthy. The big problem is sleep. I think that in the last 2 days, I may have had a total of 10 hours of sleep, and for me, that’s not enough.

People with ADD have a few problems when it comes to sleep:

  • Winding down. We tend to have minds that race in several directions at once, especially when we’re in a creative mode. At night, when we go to bed, it’s hard to turn that motor off, and that makes getting to sleep a problem.
  • Sensory deprivation. During the day, we’re constantly being distracted by what’s here or over there or what that sound is. At night, much of that stimulation is removed, because they inhibit sleep. Rather than soothing us, however, it agitates us, makes us uneasy. If you sleep alone, it makes you restless. If you sleep with someone, you end up disturbing your partner. (My husband can spend all evening with me and not say 10 words. The minute we get in bed, though, he can talk for hours.)
  • Going to bed at a reasonable hour. I am so guilty of this one. Like, I suspect, a lot of ADDers, I am a night owl. I can easily stay up half the night, but getting up at what most people consider a normal hour is difficult at best. I can do it - I just don’t like to. I’d be willing to bet you have an ADD child who’s a night owl, too. They come up with all kinds of excuses to stay up - they have homework, they can’t sleep - you know what they are. This, of course, leads to the other end of the problem…
  • Getting up in the morning. ADDers are not good with transitions of most kinds. Once they finally get to sleep, it can be hard to get them up. They most likely haven’t had enough sleep yet, and they can be very heavy sleepers, as well. (My mother-in-law told me that my husband once fell asleep on his ice cream cone.)

So what can you do to help your ADD child get a good night’s sleep?

  • Regular bedtimes and routines help.
  • Establishing some sort of winding down ritual can help, too, like taking a warm bath, or turning off the tv, computer, etc a half hour or so before bedtime.
  • Make the bed an inviting place to be - think B&B or an upscale hotel. ADDers are very sensitive to the way things feel, so take that into account.
  • Use a sound machine that masks sounds. They usually play the sound of ocean waves, the rain, or something soothing.
  • Meditation tapes or yoga routines designed to aid sleep work very well.
  • Warm milk or herbal tea is another idea. There are several varieties of herbal teas that work well in aiding sleep. My favorite, Lemon Balm, is growing in my garden. I like it because it tastes good (like lemon), it’s easy to grow, and by adding more or less leaves to my cup, I can control it’s effects.

Well, it’s almost 11:00 my time, and so I will end this post. Don’t think I’m heading for bed, though - I’ve got so much to do…

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: