Everybody needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to feel rested and effective during the day. However, those who have ADHD frequently struggle to fall or stay asleep. Your ADHD symptoms worsen as a result of your fatigue, which makes it difficult for you to fall asleep the following night. This cycle continues. And many individuals experience it. According to one study, 67% of people with ADHD reported having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
ADHD Sleep Issues: Causes and Effects
If you have ADHD, there may be additional difficulties on top of the typical factors that can prevent anyone from getting a decent night’s sleep. These consist of:
Issues when they want to follow a timetable. People who have ADHD are frequently quickly distracted and struggle to put down tasks, ignore distractions, and fall asleep. Even once you are in bed, it might be challenging to unwind sufficiently to fall asleep.
Stimulants. You may feel more alert and find it difficult to fall asleep if you take the stimulant drugs commonly prescribed for ADHD. Additionally, you may consume caffeine through beverages including coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.
Other conditions: People with ADHD may struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep due to anxiety, despair, mood disorders, or substance misuse issues.
Connection between ADHD and sleep
People with ADHD are more likely to have shorter sleep durations, issues falling and staying asleep, and a higher risk of developing a sleep disorder starting around puberty. In particular, individuals with sleeplessness, youngsters with ADHD frequently experience nightmares. Although sleep issues in early infancy are a risk factor for future emergence of ADHD symptoms, sleep problems in ADHD tend to get worse with age.
Even people who are not typically hyperactive during the day can have a surge of activity and racing thoughts at night that keep them from falling asleep. Some find that the lack of interruptions at night makes it the ideal time to “hyper focus” on a topic. Unfortunately, this makes it challenging to fall asleep and may cause a messed-up sleep-wake cycle. As people begin to experience stress associated to bedtime, their insomnia may start to get worse over time.
Poor sleep is a common cause of daytime tiredness and difficulties waking up in people with ADHD. Some people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and they frequently wake up during the night.
Depending on the type of ADHD, sleep issues appear to vary. People with mostly hyperactive-impulsive symptoms are more likely to have insomnia, whereas people with predominantly inattentive symptoms are more likely to go to bed later. For those with mixed hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive ADHD, the quality of their sleep is poor, and they go to bed later.
Many of the symptoms of ADHD resemble those of sleep deprivation. Adult ADHD sleep issues include, among other things, forgetfulness and difficulties focusing. Children who are tired may exhibit impulsiveness and hyperactivity. It might be challenging to determine whether these problems are caused by ADHD or a lack of sleep at times. This could result in incorrect diagnoses or allow sleep disorders to go unnoticed. Therefore, before giving patients an ADHD medication, experts advise checking for sleep issues.
Sleep Disorders linked to ADHD
Sleep disorders are more than just restless nights. And if you have one, it can prevent you from getting enough sleep and make you more impulsive and distracted during the day. Due to the prevalence of these illnesses among those who have ADHD, professionals frequently include sleep issues when making an ADHD diagnosis. The following are a few of the more typical sleep problems to look out for:
Insomnia: People with ADHD are more likely to experience insomnia for a variety of reasons, including prescription side effects and difficulty adhering to a routine. At night, you can experience bursts of activity and racing thoughts that make it difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do sleep, it might not be very restful, particularly if you also experience nightmares. Additionally, worrying about your insomnia can make it worse.
Circadian-rhythm sleep disorders: To adapt to the varying amounts of light and darkness over the course of a 24-hour day, your body alters during the day. Your body may occasionally be out of sync with the cycle and fail to release hormones like melatonin when they should. In turn, that can make it challenging to get to sleep. Your body’s internal clock can be disrupted by bright lights, especially artificial blue lights like laptops and tablets.
Sleep pane: The breathing of those who have sleep pane fluctuates all through the night. It disrupts your sleep and makes you feel exhausted. 25% of people with ADHD and about 3% of the general population suffer from sleep pane or another “sleep-disordered breathing” issue. You might want to let your doctor know if you snore a lot because this condition can be indicated by loud snoring.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS): Leg pain and a strong impulse to move your legs while you sleep are symptoms. Inside your leg, the sensation is sometimes described as pulling, throbbing, aching, or itching. RLS affects 44% of people with ADHD and about 2% of all people.
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