People with ADHD often have trouble going to sleep. There are so many ideas popping up in my head when the room gets dark. They aren’t worries, they are just ideas that link one to the next with very tentative connections. Here’s what went through my head last night: (Don’t judge, this is a truth!) “Do I have enough fabric for the bedroom curtains? Three panels at 35″ each… or could I get away with less?” leads to “I really do need a curtain on the door.” and then to “Do those valances really match the new color of the walls?” and then “What would my mother think about that?” And then anybody can see a line of conversations about that!
None of these things are worries, they’re just thoughts. Slowing them down would be a real help.
Here are some things that I know would help at least me to sleep better.
Maybe some of them will help you, too.
- Don’t play solitaire (or any computer games) right before bed. Probably at least for a half hour. When I break this rule, I close my eyes and see a whole layout of the cards. Then I can move them around and continue playing in my head. Not relaxing!
- Don’t read page turner books before bed. This seems fairly obvious. If I’m reading a page turner, I don’t stop reading until I’m really exhausted—generally around 3 a.m. Also not useful for getting enough sleep.
- Go to bed when my husband (ok, your spouse, partner, mother) says it’s time. That used to make me really mad. I’m not done doing what ever I’m doing or watching what ever show comes on next. But he gets up really early to go to work, and I’m fortunate to work for myself alone at home. So even if I sleep in—or at least later than he—I’m still at work at the same time he is. Ah, the benefits of an 50 foot commute!
But wait! I digress…
Somebody telling you, “Now is the time,” is really a nice reminder, provided they don’t nag and you can get past needing someone to tell you to do it.
- That leads to another sleep zapper: Don’t keep working until you head up to bed. That’s really not conducive to getting to sleep–even if it’s not worry about the business.
- Don’t drink coffee late in the day. I used to drink coffee all day long. I’d make a pot at 4 p.m. to keep me focused through the dinner hours. But as I got older and started taking meds for ADHD, I find that caffeine after about 2 is an unfortunate kiss of death.
- Don’t drink too much water right before bed. Heck, my grandmother knew that! But these days the doctor, reflexologist, the freakin’ dog walker and my mother keep telling me to drink more water. I’m sure offsets some of its benefits if I’m up six times at night to go to the bathroom! And no, I’m not sure how much is too much. And I guess if I wake up in the night wildly thirsty, that wasn’t enough.
- Every diet I’ve ever been on says “Don’t eat right before bed.” Well, when there’s a new episode of Law and Order on TV, a bowl of popcorn or cheese and crackers is just a habit. And not a very good one. While that gianormous turkey dinner at Thanksgiving makes everyone tired just after they eat, it always seems to induce a nap, not a full night’s sleep. Your stomach has to work to digest all that. And when part of the body’s working, no part can sleep particularly well.
Check out this list with a couple other ideas for getting better sleep.