How to Sleep Better with ADHD

Are you one of us who can snooze so many times that others wonder why you even have an alarm? And do you never feel well-rested even no matter how many hours of sleep you get? Are you someone who have always needed more sleep than others and your days have become constant yearning for the bed? Or do you use sleep as an escape mechanism to avoid having to deal with stuff you don’t know how to deal with?

Perhaps you struggle unwinding in the evenings in extra challenging periods at work? Or have you never even had routines for getting into or out of bed? Perhaps your head is full of worries that accompany you into the bedroom? The unfair paradox with ADHD is that, sleeping problems is more the rule than the exception when living with ADHD, and regardless of the cause, not getting adequate, high-quality sleep worsens existing ADHD symptoms and makes you more susceptible to stress and mistakes.

Sleep is also significantly affected by hormonal factors. During adolescence, when the risk of anxiety and depression in young women is usually at its peak, many also fall into vicious cycles of spending more and more time on screens and social media, which, in turn, eats into valuable sleep and recovery time. Also during perimenopause, sleep may change, and you may become more sensitive to alcohol, temperature, and find yourself lying wide awake entire nights without getting even a wink of sleep.

People have varying sleep needs, that is true also for neurodivergent people and people with ADHD. Perhaps you have no problem going about your daily business after only five hours of sleep? Or you feel like you shouldn’t be allowed into a meeting unless you got your solid ten hours the night before? Maybe you feel that you’ve slept enough hours but still don’t feel rested? And did you know that research show that many with ADHD do have a slightly different chronotropic rhythm? Here are some basic things to think about.

Our Letterlife-users share some of their best tips for better sleep hygiene here. Much of this you’ve probably heard before, but since sleep is so crucial for our well-being and functioning, maybe it’s worth revisiting and reflecting on once more?

Be honest!

We can’t and should try to get around that what we do during the day will affect our sleep at night. An overly busy unbalanced schedule will make it harder to unwind in the evening and conversely, being too passive may not build up the brains need to sleep. We might as well be honest about how much other lifestyle factors affect our sleep and that there might be some work to be done in other areas of life before we turn to quick fixes like medications.

Be active!

Exercise and exposure to daylight have a positive effect on sleep. It better to get the training done earlier in the day since exercising too late in the evening can make it harder to fall asleep due to the stress hormones that are released during physical activity. If the exercise is done outside so you get some daylight at the same time- win win!

Stay awake!

Even though some ADHD:ers whiteness that, a short, like  15minute nap taken not to late in the day can reboot and clear the mind, sleeping during the day will deplete your nighttime sleep needs. So, daytime sleeping, however tempting, is always a risk throwing you into a negative sleep cycle. And remember, it’s not “dangerous” to get out of bed and get through the day even if you almost didn’t get a wink last night. On the contrary, its often better to take a shitty day and hope for a better next night. Your body and brain have an amazing ability to recover lost sleep by sleeping extra effectively the following night.

So, nighty, night! Let us know what you think of these tips!

/Team Letterlife

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