Developing good sleeping habits

Establishing routine is a practical and effective way to manage your ADHD symptoms. Consistency, routine and follow-through all promote healthy habits that’ll help you better manage ADHD symptoms. These habits might take a little longer to reinforce, but after a while, they’ll become an important part of your daily routine, especially when waking up and going to sleep.

Keep your calm
The most important step in establishing healthy sleeping patterns is to go to bed and wake up at a reasonable hour every day – and stick to these times. It may seem difficult, but it’s vital to try and stick to these times, even on the weekend (within reason).

Get rituals right
It’s easiest to settle into your new schedule if you can devise a set list of habitual activities to complete before you go to bed and when you wake up. Some examples might be taking a warm bath or shower, reading a chapter of your book or listening to soothing music. These can also include useful exercises like packing a gym bag or lunch for the following day.

Harmony at home
Living with ADHD might mean you’re even susceptible to distraction and find it difficult to unwind and relax – this is even truer at bedtime. Create a calm and harmonious environment in which to fall asleep. The easiest way to do this is to dim the lighting in your bedroom and close curtains and doors.

Bright screens can be very distracting at night time – and keep your eyes and brain stimulated making it harder to fall asleep – so turn off all electronic devices half an hour before bedtime and don’t check them again until you wake up the next morning. Turn devices off or set them to silent if necessary.

Deep sleep
Try exercising regularly to alleviate stress and help regulate your sleep patterns. Remember not to exercise too close to bedtime, as this might have the opposite effect of energising you and preventing you from falling asleep.

Food fix
Cross caffeine-rich food off your before-bed-snack list to fall asleep more easily. This includes coffee, some teas and even chocolate. If you can’t go without after-dinner coffee, switch to decaf. Try herbal teas, like chamomile. Also try to avoid nicotine and alcohol after lunch and before bedtime.

Make sure your ADHD treatment plan considers your sleep patterns. Most people have sleepless and restless nights occasionally, but if you’re experiencing trouble sleeping an ongoing basis, consult your doctor who can work with you to find a solution.