ADHD and Insomnia – Why is it So Hard to Go to Sleep?

The symptoms of ADHD come in many flavors. You may be “hyper” all day struggling to sit down long enough to spend time with the family. On the other hand, you may be someone who seems to go through life in a fog particularly when doing something that seems tedious or boring. One thing that happens that may seem confusing is that half of the time, when it’s time to go to bed, you finally wake up!

Are ADHD and Insomnia Related?

Why do you find yourself lying in your bed for hours at night with your mind drifting from one thing to another, when all day you struggle to stay awake? Is there a connection between ADHD and insomnia? Let’s review some of the possibilities. Please talk to your clinician before making any changes.

  1. You may be taking your ADHD medication a little too late and it is keeping your up.
    a. Try taking your second dose earlier.
  2. Surprisingly, you may need to take the same ADHD medication (often a stimulant) a little later so that your mind will “settle down.”
    a. Try taking a second dose of your medication a little later.
  3. Your medication, even when given early in the morning, can at times cause insomnia at night.
    a. You may need to switch to another medication or use a second medication to help you get to sleep at night.
  4. Your medication can activate symptoms of another problem like Bipolar Disorder, one of the anxiety disorders or even one of the thought disorders. It can be a sign of a feeling of lack of safety or of a previous trauma as in PTSD. It can be a sign of drug abuse.
    a. Talk to your clinician today if you are noticing nightmares, mood swings, increased anxiety, worsening mood or paranoia. Over time, this can even be a simple fear of not being able to get to sleep.
  5. You may not have ever had a structured sleep routine. You may enjoy watching late night TV, playing on the computer, texting or even reading at night and your body has gotten into this habit.
    a. This is usually pretty difficult but, look at alternative times for such activities, try to wake up a little earlier and create habits that ensure good sleep hygiene. Avoid caffeine, naps, exercise earlier in the day and try to remain active during the day.
  6. This may simply be another symptom of ADHD and if the suggestions under number five are unsuccessful, look to your clinician for suggestions. Meditation, Neurofeedback, Sound Therapy and a variety of medications or over the counter remedies are available. Please see our podcasts for more information on the above mentioned alternative treatments.
  7. Insomnia may be a sign of another medical illness like sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, adrenal problems, an infection or a dietary sensitivity. Your clinician can look into each of these possibilities more carefully.


Take Insomnia Seriously

Sleep and in particular REM sleep is the only time your regulatory neurons like Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Dopamine get some rest. Quality sleep protects your mental and physical function. It serves your quality of life and even lengthens the amount of time you spend on this earth. Your ADHD and insomnia may be related, but insomnia frequently serves as an early warning symptom of a wide variety of problems and needs to be taken seriously.

If you are struggling to maintain healthy, happy relationships with your friends and family while battling with ADHD, insomnia or a combination of the two, consider signing up risk-free for the Oneness Heal Membership. We can inspire you and your family to integrate all that you need to create and maintain a healthy vibrant life.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) - Use Medication or Not?
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