Trouble waking up in the AM - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Trouble waking up in the AM

Bobina profile image

Is anyone else with ADHD/ADD have trouble waking up and getting out of bed in the morning? I’ve tried everything and I can not motivate myself! I fear that I’m going to lose my job. Help!

14 Replies

Story of my life. Hi, I have Inattentive ADHD. I would sometimes lay in bed for 45 minutes or more until I finally found motivation enough to get out of bed. I would tell people that just getting out of bed to brush my teeth was like climbing Mount Everest.

I've been on stimulant medication in combination with specific supplements for 3 years now. I highly recommend the supplement "N-Acetyl Tyrosine", it works with lifting up the Dopamine and Norepinephrine neurotransmitters (the catecholamines) that people with ADHD lack. The supplement is great for drive, motivation, and it helps with depleted Dopamine and Norepinephrine receptors if you use stimulant medication continuously. I take it right when I get up (needs to be taken with juice to be more absorbed) and then it's like a switch goes off and I'm ready to tackle my morning routine. Believe it or not, I also take it before going to bed, because it motivates me to go to bed, neurotypicals mostly don't understand that one does not simply decide to go to bed if they have ADHD (I'm a night owl). Tryptophan is also great for mood during the day, and for deep sleep during the night.

Another major change I made, is I got a sleep app on my phone, it's called "Sleep Cycle", and it's available on both Android and Iphone. This app monitors my sleep through the night (uses the phone's microphone to monitor breathing/snoring/movement), it deletes the recording... and you can set the alarm for whenever you need. It leaves a 15 or 25min window, this way if you need to get up at 8am, it will wake you up when you are in your lightest stage of sleep, say 7:50am for example, so your wake up will feel smooth and easy, as opposed to irritated and annoyed. You can even track the quality of your sleep through the months. Been using it for three years, along with N-Acetyl Tyrosine, Tryptophan, and Melotonin 300mcg, and it has been a life changer for my sleeping/awaking needs. If you're interested in other helpful supplements I take, or other supplement options, check my profile description and you'll see 2 links. Hope that helps.

Thank you! I already have sleep cycle but haven’t used it in years - that is a great tip! One of my problems is that I have to take a medication first thing in the morning for my thyroid. I can’t eat for 3 hours before or one hour after taking it. I’ll talk to my doctors to see how I might be able to shift things around. I appreciate the response. It is helpful to know that I’m not the only one climbing Mount Everest in the morning!

lil-rose profile image
lil-rose in reply to Bobina

Hi! I have struggled with this too, and in other areas where I would rely on how I felt to get motivated. one thing I tried that helped was telling myself I don't have to feel a certain way to do something. For getting out of bed, I would say to myself, "I don't have to feel like getting out of bed in order to get out of bed" and it helped me to 1. be more aware when I was relying too much on how I felt for motivation and 2. develop better discipline in doing things because I should and not because I felt like it.

Other than that, I ended up asking for something for depression and anxiety. Trouble getting out of bed could be a sign of depression or sleep disorder or something else, it can be hard with adhd to determine if depression is setting in. It's easy to think it's just our usual or worsening of our symptoms of ADHD, not doing our usual acitivities, little or no pleasure in doing things, negative thinking, all of these are so familiar to people with ADHD it's just when it crosses over into affecting our relationships, work, getting things done around the house, it's time to have a dr take a closer look. Effexor is an ssri and snri, I never responded very well to ssri's but this seems to be helping and getting out of bed is easy now.


Bobina profile image
Bobina in reply to lil-rose

Thank you! I do have depression and anxiety too so that helps me put it into perspective!!!

I have ADHD and depression. I am so sleepy all the time and have no energy or desires to do anything. I have tried everything. The meds make my heart race, knock me out, no effect, or gives me headaches. The only thing that has worked was Amphetamine 30 mgs, pink in color and round manufactured by Teva. My pharmacy (CVS) switched to Amphetamine 30 mgs in orange and oval shaped by Teva (was on two 30 mgs). This did nothing for me, as did Vyvanse 40 mgs which I have been on for about one week.

HT2019 profile image
HT2019 in reply to kaa615

The pink ones are at Rite-aid. Or used to be if you live on the east coast. I was in SC.

My bane, every day of my life; and dreading the clock shift because it will set my strongest remedy back a month by delaying sunrise until nearly 8AM. Thankfully, my work is deadline- rather than clock-oriented, so I'm afforded a measure of flexibility.

Tyrosine helps a bit, as does taking my ADHD medication (except for weekends "off" to allow for receptor recovery and avoid developing a tolerance). Making sure to get adequate niacin and (without toxic excess) vitamin B6 also makes a small difference.

With or without these, opening the blinds and letting natural light in seems to be a requirement, for me: artificial lights don't cut it, and on overcast days, the fog is especially difficult to clear—a recent week or two of continuous overcast left me nearly non-functional.

Even hyperactive- and combined-type ADHD seems to include “the sleep of the dead”.

The mechanism may be the same difficulty we all have with activation, in general: that is, making it happen without sufficient stimulus or controlling when it happens in the presence of stimulus. This may be why dopamine-precursor nutrients like tyrosine make a difference.

I have always hated getting up in the morning. I like lil-roses’s approach of recognizing we don’t need to want to do it!! I notice most of the time, when I finally do the thing I’m dreading, it’s actually not bad...sometimes even enjoyable. I thought of two more options that might help (but agree you would benefit from addressing the depression.). 1) Put the alarm on the other side of the room so you have to get up to turn it off. 2) fold in some sort of reward for getting up. This helps retrain the brain. 🤠👍🏻

lil-rose profile image
lil-rose in reply to focusme

I experienced what you are describing recently in doing some paperwork, once I was doing it I found it enjoyable and when I was done it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and didn't take as long!

I found that when I was unmedicated, certain everyday things needed extreme concentration to get done, like the laundry. I needed the house quiet and no distractions in order to get even one load done in one day (wash, dry, fold, put away) and I couldn't ever do it, and often felt awful about it. It seemed so difficult. Plus, my OCD would kick in, it seemed and I had to fold everything a certain way and use certain color hangers for different kids and then put them in the closet a certain way. Medicated, I found I could do laundry easily and it wasn't a big deal. I could even play music and talk to the kids and I didn't worry about how things were folded or what color hangers I used. I was shocked how easy it was and realized unmedicated the type of focus I needed to do laundry was something I described as comparable to taking the BAR (lawyer) exam (which I just imagined as a difficult, long, high pressure exam).

It seems like those old fears have followed me, and when faced with multi step tasks, I shy away from them. I think they will take a long time or I won't finish them like I wanted and will feel bad about myself or disappoint someone. It was reinforced when I fell into depression, I was undermedicated for ADHD at the time, any negative comment I took to heart very deeply- even to the point that I felt like it wasn't the action I did that the person was upset or disappointed about but it was me, they were upset and disappointed about me being me!

Now that I know multi step tasks are a trigger for my ADHD I can tell myself, "oh, this is a multi step task and my ADHD makes me want to shy away from it" and press on despite that fear of failure or shame. And yes! Sometimes those tasks are enjoyable and most often, they don't take that long, and over time I assume it will all get easier with the positive aspects outweighing the initial fears. This could also be applied to waking up in the morning, maybe it won't be as bad as it seems and once there is something positive noticed from accomplishing it, it will be reinforced and become easier, enjoyable or not as bad as imagined.


I'm 54 years old I've had that same problem my whole life. I got so fed up with it last year decided I was going to conquer it and I researched everything I possibly could. In the end it turns out I just need more sleep which means I need to go to bed by 10 so I could be asleep by 11 so I can get up by 7:30 in the morning.

I have a friend who feels like the world is coming to an end every morning then improves. I love my mornings then reality takes a nose dive. Haha. Both of us ADD

I struggle with this. I really don’t know of a solution, I’m 30 yrs old and it’s been an issue since I can remember. It has really negatively affected my life. I’ve tried SO MANY THINGS. But I just keep trying. Maybe I’ll figure something out someday. Until then I bounce from job to job, etc because I can’t be on time, and sometimes, when my brain gets bored of the job, I just can’t get up at all, so I no call no show and just quit the job. It’s quite an issue. Anyway, you’re definitely not alone!!

Bobina profile image
Bobina in reply to LBJace900

Thank you for sharing! While we continue to struggle, it is a comfort to know that we are not alone. I am trying to ask for reasonable accommodations while disclosing it as a disability but because it is not necessary recognized as a symptom or struggle, my doctor just thinks it’s a motivation issue not an ADHD issue. If they do not have ADHD, they do not understand. Good luck to you!

I used to , i run every morning and that gets me going for the day . But I noticed that since I started my anxiety medication, i actually feel well rested and it’s easier to get motivated to get things started . I also take Adderall and trick my mind into finishing my tasks because if I don’t I will end up half assing everything .

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