How important have you noticed sleep ... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

CHADD's Adult ADHD Support

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How important have you noticed sleep being to your mental and physical health?


Ever since I became an adult responsible for holding a job and taking care of kids, I've realized how important sleep is. On the contrary, I've also realized how much lack of sleep affects my ability to function.

For instance- when I first started dating my wife, I remember attempting to go to work after only getting 4 hours of sleep one night. My reactions and reasoning become so delayed that hit her mom's car that morning. I thought I had the car in reverse and wasn't paying attention. Turns out it was in drive.

Now that I've been really focusing on exercise and being healthy, I'm finding that my body will hold onto weight for days if I havn't gotten good sleep and then I'll suddenly lose 4-5lbs all at once the morning after I've gotten good nights sleep. It's crazy. I'm also finding that I become very impulsive and my anxiety gets much worse.

Any of you experience impairments from not getting sleep?

My problem is that I get so hyperactive it's easy for me to stay up until 1-2am every morning. I'm also finding that caffeine has a HUGE effect on my ability to sleep. I used to be addicted to caffeine so it's likely that I used to have a tolerance built up to it. Nowaways I havn't been consuming it at all but when I drink a Bai in the evening without thinking about it, I'll be up all night.

4 Replies

Yes, sleep is incredibly important to overall health. When you are young, you can burn the candle at both ends and function fairly well on a sleep deficit. Based on what I've read, as well as my own experience, poor health choices start to really impact you when you hit your forties. I suspect it happens earlier though if you have additional stressors, such as children, which requires a tremendous amount of energy.

To complicate that, it is my understanding that most people with ADHD tend to be night owls who would prefer to stay up until 4 AM and sleep until noon. That has certainly been the case for me. I get more energy as the day goes on. I don't have to be at work until 9 AM, but on the weekdays, I struggle to go to bed before midnight but sometimes it's as late as 1 AM or later.

I know that it's very important to try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, but I just cannot bring myself to do it. On the weekends, I rarely get to bed before 2 AM and it is often even later than that. If I take a nap that day, I will likely be up till at least three or 4 AM. I am a person who does best with nine hours of sleep but on the weekdays , I'm usually getting just 6 to 7 hours. For me, seven hours of sleep on a week day is good. Fortunately my Adderall gives me a little energy bump so I can do pretty well on seven hours of sleep, but anything less than that and I'm really feeling it.

What I look forward to most in retirement is being able to live according to my circadian rhythm, waking up when I feel ready to do so and going to bed when I'm tired, with lots of late afternoon naps.

If you are disciplined enough to ensure that you are getting adequate sleep, I do think it makes a big difference in how well you function, as well as how much medication you will have to take to manage your ADHD symptoms. If I am well rested and well hydrated, I do not require as much medication.

I used to be able to drink coffee late at night and have no problem sleeping, but when I hit about 40, I began noticing that it was impacting the quality of my sleep. I also tended to have much more vivid dreams/nightmares. I'm 55 years old and have not drank coffee late at night for years. At most, maybe on the weekend, I may consider having a cup of hot tea with milk and sugar, still has caffeine, but it's a lot less caffeine than a cup of coffee.

I never had any sleep issues when I was younger, but no matter how good of a sleeper one is, as one ages the quality of REM sleep declines. That's just a fact of life. There's nothing you can do about it. That's why being conscious and taking steps to maintain reasonably good health hygiene is so important as one gets older. Another thing that happens as one ages is no matter what time you go to bed, you will start waking around 4 AM. This is normal. It is the reason why sleep experts recommend that you do your best to at least get in six hours of sleep prior to 4 AM because even though you can go back to sleep after 4 AM, you will not be able to go into a deep sleep ( I.e. R.E.M.) and it is that deep sleep that is restorative.

Hope that helps!


cjnolet in reply to juli1357

Sleeeep! I got 8 hours last night for the first night in weeks. And man, I feel so refreshed. Something is just generally drastically different with sleep. It’s like my ability to reason has been flicked on. My ability to think through even easy decisions fully before being “impulsive” and making stupid choices. Even stuff as dumb as choosing what my kids will have for breakfast- my impulsive self might start making something for them and get halfway there before I realize we don’t have most of the ingredients! I know this happens with everyone from time to time.... but my impulsive adhd makes it happen from hour to hour.

Anyways. Th k you for the support and reply! I have always been a total night owl but I’ve also felt like my best ideas come during those times. Perhaps it’s because I’m so easily distracted day to day by coworkers and then by kids when I get home at night that I cherish those hours when everyone’s in bed to do homework for graduate school, and read books, and focus on my own things without the distractions of others making noises in the house.

Good routines, 7-8hrs of sleep every night. Dr B from adhd podcast said she struggled with going to sleep one of her rules is at 12am the is over so she can’t possibly get anything else done that day because after 12am it’s a new day so that’s when she goes to sleep. She wants to set herself up successfully for the next day she knows she needs to let her body restore during sleep

Yup! I need my 8-9 hour sleep, I get mood swings and feel even more tired same when I oversleep. Exercising is so helpful but I’ve been so lazy. Thank you for sharing!

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