Sleep the oldest enemy of us all I’ve had trouble sleeping since I was a baby its either I slept too much or too little my brain rather to bounce off the walls at night than to actually sleep its a struggle one that I have yet to overcome and probably will never. I lay in my bed reading or on my phone trying to calm down my brain and there are moments when I want to sleep but my eyes refuse to close. I am anxious about something that wakes me up every few minutes and results with a serious head ache or leaves me sleep deprived I need help anything that will allow for some slow and quiet peace of mind
I’ve had problems with sleep too. I work shift work, so one week I’ll be waking up at 4am to get ready, then the next week I have to shift my body clock to waking up at 4pm.
I’ve gotten used to it (sort of), and it helps if I come home from work absolutely exhausted.
If I’ve had a run in with the boss, for example, or for whatever reason and my brain is going at 10,000 rpm, I can be awake all night. Usually, I’ll only start feeling sleepy 1/2 an hour before it’s time to wake up.
I’ve found as I have gotten older, I can get by on less sleep (I can function on 5-6 hours sleep, but 6-7 hours is better.
When I was your age, I could sleep for 12 hours, no problem at all (during school holidays).
A couple of things might help (I haven’t used either of these, but I probably should).
Melatonin: Helps you regulate your sleep patterns. Check with a professional, because I think how much you take, and when you take it is important.
Meditation: Can help to settle your mind, stops the wheels from whizzing around too much, and helps you relax.
Electronics: Don’t look at your phone or computer before bed. They will just fire you up when you need to be slowing down. I’m not good at this.
Read a book: I like to read a book before I go to sleep. It helps me shift focus away from the real world to a story world. Helps me stop thinking about the problems of the day. If it’s a really good book though, it can be hard to put down when it’s time for sleep. I read books on my phone, I don’t know if this is a bad thing (people talk about blue light on phones, but I don’t know much about it), but it works for me. Or watch a movie on my laptop and just drift off in the middle of it, but sometimes a film can keep me awake too.
There is also a herbal remedy I use which helps me sleep (when I’m not working), and has some positive effects, but also has other less positive effects which can complicate ADHD symptoms, especially in younger brains. Plus it’s illegal in many countries, so I’m not going to name it. Lot’s of downsides. I can’t recommend that for you in good conscience.
Oh yeah… More advice.
Don’t stay up on ADHD forums until 6am like I’ve been doing.
Or at 2:31 am…
I find that doing a “Mind Dump” on nights that my brain wont shut-off or I am anxious about something helps a ton. Not that I need another thing cluttering-up my night-stand, but if I keep a journal or notebook there, WITH a writing utensil (because you know you won’t get up to go get one), and I take some time to write out the many thoughts, ideas, concerns, etc. that are plaguing me, I can go to back to bed much more relaxed and ready to sleep. Sometimes it means creating a to-do list for tomorrow, or rehashing the experience of the day, and sometimes it’s just acknowledging the “thought” so it can go somewhere else. All too often I have told myself that with all the things going on in my brain, it would take too long to write it out and I am better off just trying to go to sleep. But inevitably, I spend hours trying to overcome my mind, when if I had just taken the time to do the Mind Dump to begin with, I would be asleep already. Why do we always fight ourselves when we know better? smh
If you haven’t tried this process before, give it a go. Some people do really well with sleep aids, but I just don’t rebound well in the morning and feel like I have a hang-over. Which of course exacerbates my ADHD for the day.
I have yet to try this, but I got my girlfriend (recently diagnosed with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD) a weighted blanket to help her with the trouble she had falling asleep. She’s had it for about two months or so now and now refuses to sleep without it, and honestly, its damn near impossible for her to. They cost quite a bit (anywhere from $100-$200 CDN). That being said, now, she goes out like a light. If you can afford it, perhaps this could be an option you could look into? Not trying to sell anything, fyi.
I’ve never heard of anything like that! I’ll have to give it a try.
I could probably make one myself with lead sinkers for fishing…
That, or (perhaps a little safer) I think they’re made with beanbag stuffing. The ones I’ve seen, have a soft blanket side underneath (closest side to the body) and the weighted side on top, which looks kind of like a kevlar vest (in terms of layout, with the different pockets). The two sides are sewn together into one big blanket. The blankets (I’ve seen) are offered in either 10, 15, 20, or 50lbs blankets and all the usual sides (twin, double ect.)
If I was going to use lead shot, I’d put the shot into individual ziplock bags and tape them, before sewing them into pockets in an old quilt cover or something.
Just a thought… I’m short of bucks just now.
I’m used to those light styrofoam beads for beanbags. Do they make heavier ones too?
Um not sure, my girlfriend has a 10lbs blanket, I would assume so since the heavier blankets seem to be made of the same thing. They kinda feel like sand actually
Sand… That’s a thought. I can get sand easily enough, Australia is something like 80% sand!
I can remember struggling with insomnia in my younger years. Now I typically do enough, physically to help wear my self out. It’s taken many years ro perfect but I have trained myself to know that I can think about or do a brain dump earlier in the day. At bedtime I remind myself “it can wait till morning” I spend about 15 getting prepared for the next day so I don’t have to worry. It was especially helpful when I had to go back to work with a 6 month old. Talk about forgetting things or worrying about things. The other thing that has helped is a consistent routine. I enjoy some tea, get in comfortable clothes and do some yoga and/or meditation.
Ooooh @Rabbit, that’s such a good idea! I have heard great things about that, and the science behind it. I didn’t even realize it until your post, but I have sort of created my own little weighted comfort device by way of a long heating pad. I put it on low and wrap it around my chest & abdomen. It’s a little weighted because of the heating element, and the warmth makes it nice and snuggly! Isn’t it funny how we, in this community, can come up with similar coping mechanisms that end up being scientifically proven. Those ADHD brains can be pretty resourceful!
Just wanted to put up a quick update, I just got my own 20lbs weighted blanket today. I’ve been doing really horrible with taking my meds lately,(just waking up late and scrambling to get out the door) so my symptoms have been going wild. I laid under my new blanket for five minutes just to see what it was like, and woke up an hour later with my symptoms totally relaxed and suppressed. NOT in the same way that my meds do, but honestly pretty damn close.
Hope this helped, or at least gave some more insight from a personal experience.
Here’s my take:
Remember that your body’s sleep patterns are ancient and they will humble your ass if you think you can trifle with them. The latest research shows that you are probably not one of the extremely rare people who can function optimally on 4-5 hours of sleep and will start to experience cognitive decline with less than 7 hrs a night. I will regularly ignore the relaxation and tiredness I start feeling around 10pm so I can stay up till midnight for no good reason. If I get much past 12pm my brain turns on the Adrenal glands and I get that “second wind” until 2am…then feel like crap the next day.
When I am in bed and on my phone, my ADHD brain is seeking stimulation with the help of a device designed by some of the smartest people in the world to hold my attention for as long as possible. We need to be honest with ourselves about using any such device to “wind down”. It’s not made for that. Not to mention, beaming bright blue light into your eyeballs at 10PM is like telling your internal clock that it’s time to get up and go to work.
Remember that your brain turns on “go to sleep mode” when it recognizes you practicing similar patterns and routines. If you don’t have a bedtime routine, you need to get one. If you need help, start with this, put down your phone, grab some paper and write down 3 short lines about What Went Well today. Doing this one small thing has been shown to offer benefits that rival the effects of many anti-depressants. If you try it for just 1 week you’ll be staring at a list of 15 great things that happened by Friday. Your brain will reward you with more contented thoughts about what went well and fewer thoughts about what needs to be done.
Make a deal with yourself. If I ultimately can’t get to sleep at night I try not to beat myself up over it, but I make a deal with myself to get up at my usual time the next day. I will be tired, yes, but that tiredness is going to remind me why it’s important to double down on those routines the next night and make falling asleep that much easier. On those days I’ll utilize caffeine to get up and running but never after 4pm.
I use this technique as well when my brain is running in circles over and over with tons of worries or ideas. I think part of the reason it keeps us up is we really really want to remember whatever it is, and our brains know that we won’t if we don’t keep thinking about it. So writing it down lets our brains relax again, knowing it’s not forgotten.