Intrusive sleep and ADHD

Hi, this is my first post so apologies for bad formatting/wrong catagory etc, im still learning the ropes.

For the longest time i thought i just had a sleep disorder, narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnia, but after roughly 4 years of investigation telling me that my sleep is fine, i turned to research and earlier this year found out that my exact issue is a lesser known symptom of adhd, and am now trying to get a diagnosis myself as suddenly it ALL JUST MAKES SENSE!

The issue i have had is since i was about 12 i would just sleep all the time no matter how much stuff i wanted or had to do. i would sleep in school, resteraunts, shopping centres, on benches and even once on a sea wall. Daily naps of 1-3 hours. I could never figure out why I would get so overwhelmingly sleepy to the point that i would nearly pass out until i discovered that some of my other “personality quirks” matched up with the symptoms of ADHD and i might actually be falling asleep due to lack of stimulation.

However there is barely anyone talking about this, even though it is supposedly not too rare. I was wondering if anyone on here has any similar experiences or advice? For me, (baring in mind i do not have an official diagnosis and im not diagnosing myself im just currently acting like i do have adhd and using some of Jessicas tools (omg lifechanging!!!) to try and cope with my inattention and hyperactivity). this is my biggest symptom as it hid so much else for years.

I hope Jessica one day makes a video about this.
Can anybody relate?

thanks for reading



Though I do not have that issue . . . I do want to convey a hearty WELCOME to our forum! :+1:


Mhmm I can say to a lesser extent I have dealt with this. When I was younger in like middle school it was hard for me to stay awake during long talks and stuff but mostly I’ve dealt more with insomnia. I remember not sleeping in pre-k and then after, I always hated nap time cause I would lie there blankly and it would take forever. I also have always had a hard time going to sleep.
I think maybe adding in some exercise might help to make you have more energy but talk about with a doctor and read this forum you might find some good info :slight_smile:


To a lessor extent, yes.
I often reach my threshold for my capacity to concentrate and exert energy and would often actively periodically nap, anything from 5 minutes up to 2 hours.
When I was younger, it might be at my desk in glass or coach at home, then in my early 20s, would sometimes be at parties or during gatherings at my own else, on the floor, around the place etc.

It could also be 7 or 8 am in the morning, or more frequently just after lunch, proceeding a busy morning. Other times after I finished gym, which I used to go after I finished work, so I’d nap for about 20 min either before or after a mad feed around 5, 6 or 7pm.

In summary, I could relate my energy to that of a battery and napping would be like ‘putting me on charge’, to be able to get up and do what needed doing.

It would also force many tasks that were on my list to get done, to suddenly become urgent, as I now had a lot less time to do them, creating a ‘mini crisis’ to divert my attention to, making it easier to be productive.

That all said, this was all post family (ages 0-24) and since having family, I’ve struggled greatly not being able to do this often. It has led to many unproductive hours and constant states of being overwhelmed from time to time.

I do occasionally get the opportunity to ‘catch a nap’, and it does still help a lot, for the same reasons. Just no where near as often as i used to. (Would nearly be daily, if not a couple times on the same day)

Also, Welcome :raising_hand_man::raising_hand_man:


(Diagnosed in 2nd grade)
I don’t think I had major issues with sleep growing up (except being an extremely heavy sleeper & my mom had to use this massive bell to wake me up) but since I hit my 30s, my husband complains I’m “sleepy” all the time. ALL the time. As a young adult, I figured out 7 hours and 45 minutes of sleep was my ideal. Now, I find I need more than 8 to function “normally” - although, that could also have to do with the fact that I rarely get 5+ days in a row of 8 hours of sleep.
But I do find, if my (ASD) husband is droning on about his current obsession, I definitely start getting sleepy – lack of stimulation.
I wish I could say though, that I would suddenly get energy from a 5 to 30-minute nap and can get on my eternal to-do list and get lots done… but once I start to fall asleep, I can often be there anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 or 3 hours depending, and just say “screw the to-do list!!”
Disjointed, random thoughts… welcome to ADHD! haha


Funny thing is I just woke up from taking a nap during my 30 minute drive home from work ( I did pull over lol) then I read this post, I’ve always fallen asleep in unusual places or unexpected times, but I never new this was a symptom of adhd, thanks :grin:


I can’t take 20 min naps I sleep for like 3-5 hours straight :sweat_smile:


Hi Ami! I made a YouTube video about this a few years ago because I all my life I would fall asleep when I was bored. It doesn’t sound like that’s exactly what you’re describing here, but I would definitely call my experiences “intrusive.”

I realized it was almost always when bored. I fell asleep during a museum tour once, standing up, leaning against a column. I slept through a large portion of middle school, high school, and college. At every job a colleague had snapped a picture of me sleeping either at my desk or during a meeting. And I did once fall asleep driving, hit a highway divder and wasn’t sure if I actually hit it or not until I got home and couldn’t open the driver side door.

It is not an official symptom of ADHD according to the DSM, which isn’t surprising. A book by Dr. Amen makes very quick mention of this type of intrusive sleep and it was super helpful for me to start looking at ADHD beyond what is in the DSM.


Welcome to our “Tribe” of :brain::brain::brain:!



Welcome to the HowToADHD forums, @josue !

I believe the DSM criteria includes the most common traits with ADHD. Given that there is a lot of variation in traits among ADHD Brains, and the numerous types of possible co-morbidities with ADHD, I’m not surprised in the least bit that your response to boredom is to fall asleep.

My own automatic response to boredom is mind wandering (daydreaming).

I’ve observed a few people, some who obviously seem to have the Hyperactive-Impulsive presentation of ADHD and others who seem perfectly neurotypical, who would go right to sleep when bored.

  • (I think I remember during my dad’s time in the Navy that he would easily fall asleep during a quiet moment, and instantly be alert in response to the slightest change in stimulus. In his case, I think this was a learned response.)

I’ve also heard of people who fall instantly asleep (not fainting, not narcolepsy) in response to a stress trigger. I think that I’ve only met one person who had this response, and I’ve only seen depictions of such a couple of times on TV shows (over the last 3-4 decades).


Welcome to the Fourms