Tips for sleep if you have ADHD

Tips for sleep if you have ADHD

I have ADHD myself, and because of it I used to have problems sleeping. Here are some tips that will help you to minimize your negative ADHD symptoms so that you can sleep at night. In this sleep guide, I am going to provide a foundation not just to help your ADHD, but also to help you sleep.

Omega 3

Omega 3 is one of the most important nutrients for your brain to function to its optimum capacity because it increases your neurotransmitters. One of the key neurotransmitters for an adult with ADHD is dopamine. When dopamine levels are reduced, your attention span is also reduced. By consuming more Omega 3 through diet and with a supplement, you can increase your attention capacity.

I talk about the importance of Omega 3 with my friends a lot. However, it’s with good reason. Taking Omega 3 is the easiest thing you can do to help your ADHD. If you start taking Omega 3 today, all the other actions I suggest in this guide will be much easier to carry out. Also, if you are sleep deprived, there is a high chance you will feel a bit low or blue. Taking Omega 3 will help with that too, as it also gives you a feel good factor.

AHDD diet

A healthy ADHD diet is one with three meals and two snacks spread evenly throughout the day. Each meal needs to include some good quality protein such as fish, eggs, or lean meat. This steady supply of nutritious food allows the ADHD brain to function at its peak. This ensures there is never a time when you feel starving. That’s important because being over-hungry plays havoc with your energy, focus, and concentration. These same diet principles also help you to sleep at night. While we are asleep, we only burn 50 less calories an hour than when we are awake. This means our diet is vital for healthy sleep. When your blood sugar is stable, it promotes sleep all night long. These foods are all high in tryptophan, which is used to make melatonin.

Healthy carbohydrates such as vegetables, brown rice, brown pasta, potatoes, and sweet potatoes are good for sleep because they stimulate insulin production. Insulin helps the body get rid of the amino acids that compete with tryptophan.

Remember to pick healthy whole grains — not refined carbs such as white bread, white pasta, deserts, and chocolate. Refined carbs have the opposite effect. They lower your blood sugar, which causes cortisol (stress hormone) to be released and keep you awake. If your body is low in calcium and magnesium, this will cause you to wake up after a few hours of sleep and have trouble going back to sleep. By taking a calcium and a magnesium supplement daily, this problem will be resolved. Calcium also has a calming effect and will help you with anxiety.

Foods to avoid

Bacon, cheese, eggplant, ham, sugar (or dessert), sausages, spinach, and tomatoes have tyramine — and this causes norepinephrine (a stimulant) to be released. Eating a meal high in protein with no carbohydrates should also be avoided before sleep, as protein-rich foods contain tyrosine, which awakens the brain.

Daily exercise

As an adult with ADHD, you may already have made the connection between exercise and feeling great. This is because when you perform aerobic exercise (running, biking, rowing, fast walking, and swimming), there is an increase in the blood and oxygen levels in the brain. This increases endorphin and acetylcoholine levels, which help ease ADHD symptoms. This in turn helps you focus, experience greater mental alertness, and have a sense of calm. Exercise also helps you to have a good night’s sleep.

The best time of day to exercise is late afternoon or early evening. This is due to your body temperature. When you exercise, your body temperature increases, and then, it starts to fall around bedtime. All this is connected to melatonin because your body temperature affects when melatonin is released. So pick an exercise that is fun and enjoyable for you, then, do it for 30 minutes every day.

Meditation

Meditation may seem like a contradiction in terms for someone who has ADHD. However, meditation is very beneficial as it quiets and focuses the mind.

Meditation helps to increase concentration, decrease impulsivity, and increase cognitive functioning. Meditation promotes healthy sleep by reducing the stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Even just five minutes a day of meditation will help you to sleep.

Here are my eight steps to meditating:

1) Find somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed.

2) Sit down. You don’t have to sit in a lotus position; it’s fine to sit in a chair, with your feet on the ground and your hands in a comfortable position on your lap.

3) Close your eyes.

4) Inhale slowly and deeply.

5) Exhale slowly and deeply.

6) Think about different parts of your body — from your toes up to the top of your head — and concentrate on letting each of them relax fully.

7) Clear your mind of your thoughts. It’s hard to think of absolutely nothing, so think of a word such as “peace” or “love” and repeat that word slowly during your meditation.

8) When other thoughts intrude, don’t get upset, just let them float away and gently bring yourself back to your focal point.