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7 Tips to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep with ADHD

Sleep and ADHD

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms influence how a person performs at work and school and interacts with others. ADHD is a life-time condition and often discovered by Therapeutic work and lifestyle modifications can significantly reduce the interference of symptoms in every day life.

According to the Sleep Foundation, up to 50% of people ADHD experience a sleep problem and sleep less than their neurotypical counterparts. Moreover, University Hospital Southampton reported that 3-6% of children have ADHD in the UK, and out of this population, 75% find it chalelnging to go to sleep at bedtime, wake up in the night or wake up too early in the morning.

Sleep and ADHD

For people living with getting enough quality sleep can be a persistent problem in their lives. However, symptoms of ADHD can hinder the promise of a deep slumber and make the experience of going to bed each night stressful or anxiety provoking. Many adults with ADHD may have noticed a problem with their sleep from childhood as it is common for children and adolescents with ADHD to get fewer hours of quality sleep and are more susceptible to nightmares.  

Sleep problems differ with the type of ADHD a person is living with. For example, those with an inattentive subtype are more likely to go to bed later, while those with a hyperactive subtype may experience more disruptive sleep or even insomnia. Symptoms of ADHD also overlap with those of sleep deprivation (e.g, memory loss, lack of focus, increased anxiety), which can result in an amplified experience of symptom experience.  

Why is a good bedtime routine important?

Routine is helpful for all adults and children, not just for those with ADHD symptoms. Some benefits of a good bedtime routine are:

  • Predictability around bedtime can reduce anxiety
  • Routine encourages self-regulation
  • Encourages the use of healthy habits
  • Builds confidence around sleep
  • Improves psychological, emotional and behavioral functioning

There are also multiple health and wellbeing benefits to setting up a bedtime routine to ensure high-quality sleep.

  • Enhances cognitive performance
  • Reduces the likelihood of future cardiac problems
  • Supports immunohealth
  • Consolidates memory
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Facilitates bone growth and development (especially in children)
  • Boosts daily energy and alertness

Now you know the benefits of a good night’s sleep, let’s move on to setting up your bedtime routine.



Top 7 Tips for Setting up a Bedtime Routine for adults with ADHD

  1. Keep your sleeping space clean, cosy, and comfortable – an inviting sleeping space can help ease the mind into sleep. Keep the room temperature around 16 degrees Centigrade, as this is the optimal temperature for sleep.
  2. Do not expose yourself to any blue light an hour before you wish to sleep – blue light suppresses melatonin, the sleep hormone that brings on sleep.
  3. If you do not fall asleep within 15 minutes, get out of bed and read until you feel sleepy again – this will help condition the brain to fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of hitting the pillow.
  4. Have a bath or warm shower before bed – the body naturally drops in temperature as we fall asleep. A warm bath before bed mimics this process, encouraging the body to rest.
  5. Write down a to-do list or journal any worries in a notebook before bed – this will help declutter your mind of persistent problematic thoughts.
  6. Bodyscans or other meditative practices are great for unwinding the body and mind – meditation is a proven technique for settling the mind and body for a peaceful night’s rest.
  7. Maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle – exercising and getting enough sunlight will promote hormone production to help reduce anxiety and promote sleep.


It is important to note that achieving a consistent bedtime routine takes commitment and can cause some discomfort to start. However, over time you will see positive changes from implementing a good bedtime routine into your life. Start slowly and add more tips to your routine as you develop confidence.

At Psymplicity Healthcare we offer ADHD assessments, in addition to diagnosis and specialised treatment plans for ADHD and other conditions. If you have recognise that you or a loved one is struggling with ADHD symptoms, do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts.

Contact us now to speak with one of our ADHD specialists and begin a personalised treatment plan.

Anna Tank

Anna Tank

Anna is an Assistant Psychologist specializing in CAMHS.

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