Adderall and sleepless nights - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Adderall and sleepless nights

joshnyc profile image
8 Replies

Hi Friends,

Our 9 y.o. son (ADHD) has never slept well, and stimulants can easily keep him up until 3 a.m. You can imagine how everyone's next day looks!

Needless to say, we are on non-stimulant medications (guanfacine, etc.), though our doctor is recommending we try Adderall IR 5mg again.

Someone mentioned that Vitamin C (or acidic foods) might reduce the effectiveness of stimulants.... and maybe I could use this in the evening to help with sleep. Has anyone else come across this or had any experience?

It seems related to Adderall being counteracted by acidification. This morning I found an FDA 'drug interactions' sheet that mentions this.

Would appreciate your thoughts!


8 Replies
Mom655 profile image


I don’t remember where I read this but I believe that the acidic juices should be avoided 45 minutes before and after because it interferes with the absorption rate. However once it’s absorbed, I don’t think that it interacts or acts in anyway on the medication. Of course, this is based on memory of what I had read briefly and I don’t recall the source. If I can make a suggestion, I think that the pharmacist is a very good source of information on medications and all their interactions and precautions. Maybe check with the pharmacist filling the prescription for clarification. I hope this helps!

STEM_Dad profile image

When I was in Adderall, I remember my doctor saying that it's specifically citric acid which interferes with absorption of Adderall.

If your son is kept awake by Adderall, then I'd suggest it only be used earlier in the day. (If your son takes a vitamin C supplement, or vitamin supplement which contains vitamin C, then consider he take that in the evening.


There are various other things which may (of may not) help him to sleep. I'm not a doctor, so I don't know what the medical studies say, but anecdotally I've heard that the following may help (not necessarily all together). It's always best to check with a doctor, before beginning any new supplement.

Melatonin supplement (my kids take this, and it seems to help)

Homeopathic sleep aid (contains a combination of ingredients, possibly including melatonin, chamomile, and other supplements believed to help with sleep)


Light exercise ending a while before bed (probably ending at least 20 minutes before bed.

A warm bath or shower.

Mindfulness meditation

Reading for about 20 minutes or so

White noise (this often helps me when nothing else does, I like some kind of soft music)

HCStymie profile image
HCStymie in reply to STEM_Dad

A lot of great suggestions. But melatonin. I tried it and it did help. But quickly had to increase the amount to be helpful. And found that it was harder to fall asleep if I didn't take it than it was before I started altogether.

HCStymie profile image

The thing with citric acid or acidic foods among others is that it reduces the amount of absorption of the medication. Also, it makes urine more acidic which would cause less of the medication to be reabsorbed and more to be eliminated. So less meds remaining in their system in the evening. That being said, there is mixed information as to whether it is true or not. Plus some acidic foods can make your urine more alkaline and vice versa.

I have seen some parents on forums reporting taking Catapres (Clonidine) in the evening near bedtime to counter stimulant insomnia. It also aids ADHD therapy as well so the helping sleep issues is a bonus side effect.

That being said, if non stimulants work, don't bother with stimulants in my opinion. Especially with sleep issues. Sleep issues mean less sleep which means more meds to make up for it the next day. Which means more sleep disturbances. Which can mean higher doses and can cycle on.

I also have issues with sleep and got onto the stimulant sleep issue cycle. Not to mention the medication shortages people have to deal with every few years. Higher doses of Adderall can mess up other things, even below the max recommended dosages. Saying that from experience. Existing sleep issues is probably a good sign that your kid is hyper sensitive to stimulants in the evening if some is left in their system. Or the rebound effect increases their insomnia. Can ask your therapist about Strattera, Provigil, Nuvigil, Qelbree, Catapres. Even going with Ritalin instead of Adderall if you do go the stimulant route might be better. Not quite as strong for most people. Less side effects for me and some others.

For me, a can of soda after 5 pm would keep me up till 3am. Can of soda at noon, I'll go take a nap afterward. Now after Adderall long term, reasonably high doses, now high doses due non related issues. I'll take 60mg IR and it doesn't get me out of bed. I haven't been to bed before 3 am in months. Most people are steady on stimulants with a low or moderate dose. But why push it if you can find something else that works.

Pattimum profile image

Yes I did read also about the citric acid etc having this impact- rapid excretion rate. I would worry that if the extraction is rapid then it causes ‘rebound’?

Have you thought of asking your child’s doctor to prescribe him first 2.5mg (not straight away 5mg)extended release amphetamine (branded or not but Adderall also comes in 2.5). Just kind of going slowly and you can always increase later.

Is your child taking Guanfacine in the evening? Does it help with sleep then?

In the past doctors were recommending common Benadryl (cetirizine) to help children on stimulant meds to sleep. Also older type sedative antihistamines help children with sleep (Cyproheptadine) so you could ask your child’s doctor. Or melatonin?

Angel06 profile image

My son started on Adderall XR since age 7. I give Melatonin gummy 5 mg daily at night around 8 pm. By 9 PM he is off to sleep. Please see if giving Melatonin works for your son.

what works in our house with our 7yr old is she takes her guafacine in the afternoon and adderall in the morning. Also about an hour before bedtime she gets a 1mg of melatonin and 2 magnesium citrate gummies. She also takes respiradone in the am and PM. That is to stabilize her aggression. But the Dr explained that the melatonin had to be about an hour or more before bed. This works well for us.

Same challenge here - adderall works great for my son but causes insomnia. We also do 5mg melatonin gummy (he’s 10). Another thing that I think makes a difference for my son is physical activity - the more strenuous the better. We have a babysitter who loves to get her own exercise while running the kids around - it’s great. In bad weather they often do Just Dance on Nintendo, or other similar YouTube videos. Hope things get better!

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