Does my Child Have 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 is often discovered by assessment during childhood. 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 ADHD, 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.

It is normal for children to often lose interest in the task at hand and jump to something else, or occasionally forget their school work, or to get restless easily. But if your child seems to be repeatedly showing signs of impulsiveness, is hyperactive in a way that is beyond what you would consider acceptable, and is highly inattentive, these may actually be signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that appears in early childhood, often before the age of seven. While as a parent, you may be worried about ADHD limiting your child from exploring their potential at school or leading a happy life when they grow, it is important to understand that ADHD can be treated.

The treatment of ADHD typically involves a professional diagnosis of your child’s developmental and psychosocial history, a children’s ADHD assessment, as well as observation of their symptoms and behavioral patterns. Following the assessment, a treatment plan best suited to your child’s individual needs will be created. This plan will include a variety of treatments and therapies. It may or may not include medication, depending on your child’s age, conditions, and needs. By taking this bespoke approach to ADD treatment, Psymplicity helps your child learn how to manage their symptoms effectively, perform better at school, improve their family and social life, and go on to lead a happy, fulfilling adult life.

As a parent, it can be challenging to differentiate between ADHD symptoms and a normal active child. If you feel that your child is showing signs of ADHD at school, at home, or in social situations, you can observe them closely to see if they are exhibiting a significant number of the below symptoms:

  1. Difficulty sustaining attention
    Your child finds it difficult to stay focused during class or while completing an activity, even one they consider fun.
  2. Constantly daydreaming
    You often find them staring into space, oblivious to their surroundings, daydreaming.
  3. Easily prone to tantrums
    Your child finds it rather difficult to control their emotions, often throwing temper tantrums when they are unhappy with a situation.
  4. Lack of attention to detail
    Your child’s schoolwork has a lot of mistakes, and they don’t pay attention to detail while performing most activities.
  5. Easily distracted
    Even the smallest of stimuli, like a small noise, can distract your child from any activity that they are doing.
  6. Difficult being organised
    Their study desk is always messy, they are unable to organise simple tasks, such as planning out their after school activities, and constantly miss deadlines.
  7. Forgetful
    They miss out or forget something regularly, like schoolwork or playdates or even carrying their lunch.
  8. Trouble waiting
    They are impatient when it comes to taking turns, and get upset when they need to wait for something, even when they play with other kids.
  9. Constantly interrupting
    They lack the ability to be respectful of others’ needs or space, and constantly interrupt conversations or speak over others.
  10. Fidgeting
    They are always fidgeting and highly restless, constantly moving around even when they are asked to sit down at their desk.
  11. Avoid tasks that need extended attention
    Staying focused in class or participating in an activity that requires them to be attentive for a continuous period of time can be very frustrating for them.
  12. Inability to follow instructions
    Following simple straightforward instructions can be overwhelming for them, at school, or at home.
  13. Talks excessively
    Your child tends to talk excessively in many different situations and settings.
  14. Inability to play quietly
    Your child finds it difficult to play or engage in any leisure activities quietly, and they are normally quite loud, making excessive noises or talking.
  15. Symptoms displayed in more than one environment
    Your child is displaying many of these symptoms in more than one environment, such as home and school.

If your child is displaying most of these symptoms, it would be a good idea to speak to a mental health professional who can perform a diagnosis and suggest the appropriate treatment to best help your child cope with their condition. And do remember, ADHD is manageable and your child, with the right care, can grow up to lead a wonderfully healthy and happy life!

Anna Tank

Anna Tank

Anna is an Assistant Psychologist specializing in CAMHS.

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