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Early wake up and ADHD

Rockiesmom profile image
10 Replies

Hello all!

I have 2 kids with ADHD and both struggle with getting up much too early making our days worse. The biggest problem is with my 7 year old.

There are no rewards for getting up early (TV remotes are hidden, no screens accessible) and we use screen time as a reward for staying in bed with no avail.

Treatments only seem to be available for falling asleep but not staying asleep.

He is currently on 18 mg Atomoxetine. This is the max we can give him before he is not eating anymore.

Did anyone here have success with a night time dose of Guafacine or Atomoxetine?

10 Replies
kdali profile image

We give Strattera after dinner, and so far she sleeps later than she use to.

STEM_Dad profile image

I'm an adult with ADHD, taking atomoxetine. The time of day that it's taken should not make much of a difference, since it builds up over time in the body, to be effective 24/7.

(That being said, when I first started taking it, I discovered that I'd become intensely nauseous if I didn't take it with food. And when my doctor tried me on a higher dose, I would experience a brief, milder wave of nausea about half an hour or so after taking it, no matter what I ate.)

At one point, I did try taking atomoxetine at night time, and I saw no difference in it's overall effects throughout the day. (It was just easier for me to remember to take it in the morning, with my vitamins.)


Then again, each person is different in how medication affects them. But a medication that's supposed to be maintained in the body like atomoxetine is not likely to make much difference if it's taken at night vs any other time of day.

(The flip side is that there are no "medication holidays" from taking it, just like there wouldn't be for someone who takes an SSRI to treat depression.)


Just as adults can be "early birds" / "morning people", or they can be "night owls", I think that kids can be the same way.

My oldest child (now 29, undiagnosed but likely Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD) for years slept heavily, and then switched on her teens to falling asleep late and waking early. She still often does so to this day.

My 10 year old son generally doesn't fall asleep before 11 (even though his weekday bedtime is 8:30), but he wakes up around 6-6:30am every day... sometimes earlier. "Sleeping in" for him is 7am. He's been this way since he was 6 or 7, I think.

(He's also undiagnosed, but likely Combined presentation ADHD...though his traits are mild in impact, so he does fine without medication for now.)

Rockiesmom profile image
Rockiesmom in reply to STEM_Dad

thank you for your detailed answer!

I totally understand that there are early birds and night owls but our son is still tired in the morning, so definitely not getting enough sleep unfortunately.

Trying1978 profile image

Our 2 are usually up early, too. I eventually started getting up earlier & earlier myself, which has had its own not great effects in that I'm barely awake at night to even talk to my wife. We tried the color/noise nightlights (Hatch?), which helped a little, recently some melatonin, tons of activites, with varying results. Our oldest has gotten a lot better as time has gone on.

So no real solution there, just our experience. Hang in there!

SurvivorFan profile image

Yes, agree with above. My 7 y/o adhd combined type typically gets up around 6am sometimes even earlier. It does not change if we were super busy day before, he stayed up later or went to bed earlier. We give him guanfacine in later afternoon for adhd sx as well as it helps him feel sleepy so he is usually asleep by 8:15. He also takes stimulant medication during the day but because he is a fast metabolizer needs several doses throughout the day and earliest we can give his Long acting Focalin is 7am to carry him over until noon. Recently, his prescribing doctor approved for us to give him a small dose of short acting stimulant on the mornings he gets up extra early. It's helped out alot. We no longer have to do the crazy loud, impulsive, dysregulated behavior until we can give his regular med schedule. It is miserable when everyone is on edge and nerves fried by 7am!

anirush profile image

Talk to your doctor before using but melatonin really helped us. As a matter of fact my 16 year old grandson recently started taking it again and says he sleeps much better and is in a better mood too.

Hummingbird4 profile image

Hi! My 12-year-old son with ADHD always wakes early too, no matter what time he goes to bed. I think once he wakes, his brain is automatically going at 100% again. We started using Nature’s Bounty Sleep3 about an hour before bed and it works great! It calms him so he can get to sleep and he sleeps so much better through the night too.

Rockiesmom profile image
Rockiesmom in reply to Hummingbird4

thanks for the tip. They are not selling it in Canada but found something similar. Yesterday was the first night and he slept until 5:15 which he hasn’t for a while.

Pattimum profile image

My ADHD son has always been an early waking child (for him then it’s always going to the loo for a poo and then starting reading and then that’s it.

What I’d say- since he’s on Atomoxetine 40 mg (he weighs about 32 kg and he’s just turned 10, he’s just in the middle for hight and weight for his age) he’s sleeping fine and not waking too early too often but if he does wake for a poo (which is just weird but I don’t know how to stop this happening) then he knows he has to go back to bed and stay there until 7.30 am. He has a Germin watch which shows us his sleep but I don’t think it’s very accurate. What we make sure- we make him go back to sleep if he wakes for a poo at 4am. We take away books and tell him off if he sits in the loo for too long. He hides books in places so we just have to then take them away let’s say at 4am. It’s not perfect as one of us has to get up and walk to check on him in the loo and make sure he goes to bed.

I also would recommend that you ask your child’s doctor about Cyproheptadine which is a sedative antihistamine. My son sleeps so much better since he’s taking this- also sleeping better in the morning, not only falling asleep. Also he doesn’t have any appetite suppression as this antihistamine is also stimulating appetite and it also helps with functional nausea and functional stomach ache which seems to be a side effect of Atomoxetine but Cyproheptadine completely sorted this for my son. He’s on 60th centile for weight!

Rockiesmom profile image
Rockiesmom in reply to Pattimum

thanks pattinum. We have an appointment end of the month and I will ask.

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