Adults with ADHD and the Sleep Problems They Face

Posted on January 16, 2019

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From around the age of 12, sleep disturbances from ADHD can begin to arise. Though it does not always correspond with other symptoms of ADHD, it can stick with individuals with ADHD into adulthood. What can cause this interruption in sleep then are both the symptoms themselves, and even the medications taken to reduce these symptoms. What makes this a rather complex situation to handle is that when sleep is compromised, it results in the amplification of the ADHD symptoms leading to a vicious cycle.

Insomnia is one of the sleep problems that individuals with ADHD face. The have difficulty falling asleep due to the sudden surge of energy as they get into bed making it hard for them to enter sleep mode. Even if they do manage to fall asleep, often their sleep is not particularly restful. Coupled with restlessness and being a light sleeper, it leads to unwanted drowsiness that makes it challenging to get through day-to-day life and even harder when ADHD is thrown into the mix. Sleep apnea is another sleep problem that they face, it is a sleep disorder breathing issue that often results in snoring as your repeatedly stops and starts through the night. It is associated with obesity leading it to be a serious issue as approximately 40% of individuals with ADHD have issues with their weight.

Individuals with ADHD also face sleep problems that are more physical in nature such as Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) and Restless Legs Syndrome. The former refers to the individual experiencing sudden movements of their limbs due to their muscles twitching. This occurs sporadically as they sleep and can be extreme enough to jolt them awake from their slumber. Restless Leg Syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a tingling sensation in the lower limbs that results in an overwhelming urge to move that limb for relief. It is a neurological problem that occurs most frequently during sleep or rest. In the US, about 2% of the general population suffers from this but this issue skyrockets to at least 50% of individuals with ADHD.

The last commonly associated sleep problem that many individuals with ADHD face is Delayed Sleep-Phase Disorder (DSPD). Every individual has a circadian rhythm that is in sync with regular sleep-wake patterns, individuals with DSPD faces a problem in this leading them to fall asleep and wake up later than usual sleep-wake patterns. It brings about daytime sleepiness that could affect daily functioning especially with a busy schedule. It becomes a greater challenge for those with ADHD as sleep functions as a sedative for ADHD symptoms.

These sleep problems can cause a great difficulty for any individual much less one who has ADHD but there are tips that could help cope with these problems. This includes forming a regular bedtime and wake-up routine, exercising. Leaving hyperfocus activities for the daytime, taking warm baths, sipping herbal teas, and using positive mental attitude techniques targeted at readjusting the mind and focus to happier thoughts. These ideas have been proven effective though it may differ from individual to individual and thus it is worth trying all these tips to sieve out which tip works best for you.

Category(s):Adult ADHD, Sleep Disorders

Source material from Attention Deficit Disorder Association

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