If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, you probably already know that bedtime is a battleground.
So just why is it that kids with ADHD struggle to sleep, and is there anything you can do about it?
Well, as it turns out, there are proven links between children with ADHD and sleep issues, and you aren’t alone. Read on for some information on ADHD and sleep issues, and what parents can do to help their kids get enough rest.
ADHD And Sleep
First of all, let’s talk about ADHD kids and sleep.
ADHD kids, overall, really struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. There are a few reasons behind this.
Biologically, sleep and attention have complementary functions, which means children with attention problems are also likely to have sleep problems. ADHD children may also suffer from anxiousness at night, which can create issues with sleep patterns. Along with this, you have the generally strong-willed nature of ADHD children, which can lead them to fight bedtimes even when biologically, they need to rest.
Why Sleep Is So Important
We all know that sleep is important, but for kids with ADHD, and their families, this is even more true. Without enough sleep, the challenging symptoms of ADHD tend to be more pronounced. Along with this, children who aren’t getting enough sleep will be more uncooperative and grumpy. Sleep is also important for the parents of children with ADHD, as enough sleep allows them time to recharge and therefore have more patience and understanding for the new day.
What You Can Do
So if you’re a parent, what exactly can you do to help your ADHD kids get enough sleep to be happy and healthy? Well, try some of these.
1. Exercise Works
Kids need exercise, but for kids with ADHD, exercise is even more important. Getting enough exercise, and working both the body and the brain in a natural environment, can have a directly positive effect on their behaviour and mood. Along with that, a steady exercise regime can help to tire kids out and get them to sleep.
2. Don’t Go Directly To Pills
Parents, particularly those on the end of the rope with sleep struggles, might be keen to get their children onto sleeping pills to ease the bedtime pain. However, there is still so much for us to learn about children and sleeping pills, and there aren’t always enough clinical tests involving child subjects. Make sure you talk seriously to your doctor about child-appropriate sleeping pills so your child doesn’t end up with more sleep disruptions.
3. Set and Stick To Schedule
Bedtime schedules are so important, and one way to get your child more adapted to getting enough sleep is to set a realistic bedtime, and stick to it. To do this, you might have to come to terms with the fact that not all ADHD kids will sleep for the same amount of time as other children, and this might mean going to bed a little later than other kids. Be realistic above all, and adapt the schedule to suit your child.
4. Follow Evening Rituals
Along with a set bedtime, having a bedtime ritual is so important. Working through a pattern of activities, from showering to brushing teeth and getting into pyjamas, to reading a book in bed or chatting about their day, doing a ritual of activities can help your child get ready to be in sleep mode. Remember that as much as possible, these activities should not include screen time, which can keep children awake.