Sleep issues and ADD. Is it normal? - CHADD's Adult ADH...

CHADD's Adult ADHD Support

12,405 members3,267 posts

Sleep issues and ADD. Is it normal?

ng24 profile image

Those of you with ADD, how are you handling the situation going on right now? (Virus). My 19 year old is ADD and seems to be handling it well. He researches the facts from factual sources. However, he’s not sleeping at night. He will finally fall asleep around 6 am and sleep for about 6 hours. It is sort of freaking me out. He’s always had a hard time shutting his brain off at night. Can anxiety make it worse? I’d love to hear from you so I can understand

11 Replies

I’m also going to bed way late and sleeping for almost 6 hours. Anxiety is a big factor; also I’m working from home so less structure and I’m not forced to get up early. Biggest issue is going to bed at a consistent time. Any advice appreciated! Thanks.

Hi ng24

Welcome to the group. Yes sleep can be an issue for ADHD'ers. Especially without a regular routine, getting locked into something(hyper focus) can certainly occur more readily now.

To help stave that away I take melatonin in a small does before bed time. Plus my supportive and kind partner reminds me of benefits of a regular bed time

Hope this helps you out

ng24 profile image
ng24 in reply to GatsbyCat

Thanks for the help!

I got diagnosed at 53 with ADHD, working memory problems etc. I have had trouble with sleep my WHOLE life. Not being able to get to bed, waking up too early and not being able to get back to bed, sleep talking walking and running, intense nightmares. I chronically get too little REM sleep. Ok that was a lot, sorry. A book that has helped me very much is "Why we sleep" by Matthew Walker. I mean sooo much. There are many, many factors that affect sleep and ongoing poor sleep affects many aspects of health in return. Especially ones - my- mental health. In the six months since I finished this book my sleep has improved and is the best I can ever remember having. Anxiety has always made my sleep worse by either making it hard to "let go" and get to sleep or by waking up and immediately getting started on anxious thoughts. Drugs have not really worked for me, Tylenol PM, Melatonin, CBD, Theanine - no consistent benefit other than groggy in the am. 300 - 400 mg Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Malate/BisGlycinate have although consistent benefit for me it is not a "miracle". Best for me is daily exercise - my drug of choice since I was a teen. Additionally meditation or even better deep breathing exercises. Meditation is not always do able for me - wandering mind and all....

Hope that helps.

ng24 profile image
ng24 in reply to Ataraxia771

Awesome info. Thank you

Ataraxia771 profile image
Ataraxia771 in reply to ng24


one more thing occurred to me this morning. Middle of the night actually. It was the addition of a FitBit. Or more importantly the sleep tracking the device offers. I assume it is not the best way to track sleep quality but it is relatively cheap and appears to be consistent. What I mentioned about Melatonin, Theanine, Magnesium etc - measured against what the FitBit was saying my sleep quality was. THAT feel back was very useful cause I could see again and again how it affect sleep quality. Additionally it helped me tune into how other compulsions of mine affected sleep - Caffeine after 2 = bad sleep, Alcohol too close to bed time = bad sleep, eating too late etc. You mentioned this was for your 19 year old, correct? This could help them begin to experiment with what works for them and what doesn't for them. This feedback source could help see some results even though they may not feel them. I would not say its perfect but perfect is not required. It helped me feel like I could do something, make progress even if it does still continue to be a struggle.

All the best.

I am also having issues going to sleep at a regular time. The added stress has my mind going crazy and I’m more likely to stay up late and wake up late. I think that staying on track with my normal schedule is a needed step to get back to my body clock. Watching TV later and reading news on the phone can just delay everything

What a timely question. I'm currently going off of about 2 hours of sleep today. I had to be up way early this morning (change of routine) and my brain wouldn't shut down. Melatonin often helps, but when I get like this I often don't think to take it until the early hours of them morning.

I have severe insomnia so severe I was only one of four people in the United States approved by the Dea and Jazz Pharm to take Xyrem. 10Sleep studies 0 secRem sleep I stay in stage 2 and that is only after a mixture of meds. I could run 10 miles a day and still not sleep . By nature true ADHDers get activated in the evening and into the night it's not just anxiety or excess energy although it doesn't help. Our clocks are backwards. If you can run or use Magnesum etc by all means do it because it's much healthier than chemicals. My insomnia is idiopathic , but I always had sleep problems. Chocolate causes night terrors they are usually induced by something else. Just be glad it could be worse.

For insomnia. Xyrem is strictly limited to Cataplexy. Your body and mind adapt eventually some people by nature get no rem or are limited to four hours per night and it never changes. Most people with ADHD sleep just not as much typically. Routine, no electronics , ear plugs and cooler room and exercise. Melatonin either really works really well or not at all. A memo went out to all doctors about the new generation of sleep aids and people dying either driving or in other accidents while sleep walking and cautioned prescribing them. My psychiatrist showed it to me. The medication route is one not to go down no matter how crappy you feel.

Some people see health benefits from sleeping 5-6 hours a day.

Does your son play video games? Or just stimulated at night for any reason? That can be a good reason to stay up as most boys go through that phase i feel hahah i know i did

When i was younger i slept a lot but all kids are different and doesn’t seem too concerning as long as he’s eating and feeling ok. If he’s lethargic then set a sleeping schedule and hours that will best fit for him to be at his best.

I found i started to do that when i started my meds but take naps more often to supplement the lack of sleep and feel fine as long as I remember to eat and makes me tired enough sometimes to go home and sleep 8 hours or more.

I think I read a research that people that sleep short hours on a regular basis get same or more REM sleep and recovery than people who sleep longer so each to their own and just see what’s best for him and his body. Listening to your body and relaxing helped my mental and physical and digestive health.

Hope this helps and you sounds like a great mother stay well and safe

What also helped me with anxiety is to remind myself EVERYONE with or without ADHD gets anxiety and its a part of life/ growing pains. The more experience and acceptance of it, the less it became be an issue (after taking a second to gather my thoughts) Easier said than done but is possible if done in steps and consistency.

You may also like...