It’s hard enough to encourage a child to go to bed, and not just get into bed but actually go to sleep. Kids with ADHD find it even more challenging to do so. It can be hard for them to switch their minds off, especially if their day was full of stimulating activities.
According to CHADD.org, around three out of four children with ADHD also have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea. The Topiwala National Medical College also found that 70% of ADHD kids display mild to severe sleeping problems in general. This includes excessive nightmares, resistance to getting into bed, waking up multiple times per night, snoring, and more.
So what is the answer? On top of speaking to your doctor about the specific options for your child, we recommend you consider the following.
Having a consistent, non-stimulating, and comfortable nighttime routine can increase the chances of a good night’s sleep. Keep a record of the new routine and read through it periodically to find any inconsistencies or red flags.
Choose a bedtime, a wake-up time, and stick to it. Make sure they’re actually tired at the chosen time so falling asleep is easier. Their bodies and minds will gradually get used to the routine, and they’ll associate each time with feeling sleepy, or wakeful.
A bath is also a great way to slow down and make your child sleepy. Having a warm bubbly bath two hours before bed will raise their temperature, aiding in their ability to fall asleep quicker and more comfortably. Follow up with a non-stimulating bedtime story, and your child is bound to feel sleepy in no time.
Limiting your child’s screen time will help them wind down for the night. Scientifically speaking, looking at these bright screens at night tricks the mind into thinking it’s daytime.
The blue light emitting from bright screens suppresses the production of melatonin. Turning on the blue light filter close to the end of the day will help avoid this, but using the device in bed will affect their sleep regardless. So make sure your child associates bed with sleep, not with play.
Caffeine can stay in our systems for around eight hours, so if your child drinks soda at 8 p.m., it won’t leave their body till at least 3 a.m.
Alternatives to sugary soda are fruit juices. There are also fizzy juices that are free from many of the chemicals that keep kids awake at night.
If your child is on any medication for their ADHD, sleep may be challenging due to the stimulants in the medication. Talk to your doctor about the best time to administer the medication, so it doesn’t interfere with their sleep cycle.
Sticking to your child’s sleep schedule even on weekends is key to it actually working. You may go through several sleepless nights before anything sticks, and that’s to be expected. It takes practice, determination, as well as patience, kindness, and love.
The Learning Lab works with children with learning differences. We offer virtual learning courses, digital therapists, and intervention programs to best meet your child’s needs. At Learning Lab, we support the full ecosystem of children who are smart but struggle in a traditional school setting. Our personalized approach for each child teaches the way that they learn and paves the way for a collaborative educational experience between learners, their families, and school communities. Find out how we can help your child.