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Helping Kids with ADHD Sleep Better

Better Sleep for ADHD Kids

You are not imagining things. If you are the parent of a child who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may have noticed that your child doesn’t always sleep as well as other children. Recent studies report that about half of children with ADHD have great difficulty either going to sleep or staying asleep through the night. This article provides tips for better sleep for kids.

If you have a child who suffers from ADHD then you know what it’s like to get them to bed at night.  Children with ADHD often have a hard time winding down and falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.  Here are some no non-sense tips to help your child get the sleep he or she needs to function properly.

The Importance of Better Sleep for Kids

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that even being deprived of as little as one hour of sleep a night can affect the academic performance of children.  However, many children who have ADHD are taking medication that is known to disrupt sleeping patterns.  For this reason, parents of children with ADHD need a strategy for helping their kids get the sleep they need.  Often, it’s simply a matter of making some relatively minor changes and establishing a regular bedtime routine.

Tips for Getting into a Routine

Parents who commit to a bedtime schedule are sure to see better results faster than those who allow bedtimes to fluctuate.  Many parents tend to relax the bedtime routine on the weekends.  But for children with ADHD, a bedtime and wake-up time that doesn’t change is best – even on weekends.  Here are some more tips for helping your child get a good night’s sleep:

Turn off the Tech

Have a set time – preferably about an hour before bedtime – when all of the electronics go off.  This is important because children with ADHD require more time to sufficiently wind down.  In fact, the less stimulation of any kind right before bedtime, the less difficult it will be for your child to fall asleep.  A soft, soothing conversation or a relaxing bedtime story are great ways to help your child relax.

Help Your Child Stay Asleep

Sometimes it’s not going to sleep that’s the problem; it’s staying asleep.  If your child goes to bed before other family members, make sure the house stays quiet. There should be no family or household noises such as telephones, music, or faucets getting turned on and off that will wake them.  If this is impossible, a white noise machine and weighted blanket might be a good option.

Bedtime Routine

All children respond to routine and habitual behavior, but children with ADHD absolutely need the security of a fixed routine to be able to function normally.  A good nightly routine might consist of taking a bath with magnesium bath salt, putting on pajamas, teeth brushing, and reading a book.  Performing the same ritual in the same order each night will cue active brains to slow down and your child will be more likely to get the restorative rest that they need.  

Morning is just as important as bedtime

With children who have ADHD, it’s critical to have a gentle approach to waking and getting ready in the morning.  They need the same habitual pattern in the morning to set the tone for the day.  With ADHD children, a chaotic morning rush is likely to carry all the way over into the next night’s attempt to go to sleep.

ADHD is marked by an inability to focus, control behavior, and manage impulsivity. Because of these behavioral challenges, many children with ADHD have a very hard time going to sleep or staying sleep.  Parents who embrace rigid routines and unwavering consistency find it much easier to help their little ones get the sleep they need to function normally.

See our article about Magnesium for ADHD.