Adhd Children With Sleep Problems – Tired Mommy?
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Adhd Children With Sleep Problems – Tired Mommy?

Are you tired? Does your ADHD child have sleep problems that prevent everybody from getting a good night’s sleep? As if dealing with ADHD symptoms wasn’t bad enough, piling sleep problems on top of that can make for long and stressful days. I’ve been there…and I’m here to help!

My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 3 years old. I took him to the pediatrician and when they asked what my concern was, I said, “I’m tired, Doc. This child will NOT sleep!” At 3 years old, my son only slept for a maximum of 4 hours per night. I spent many months tweaking our sleep schedules to try to make sure he didn’t have time unsupervised but still got enough sleep at night.

I sent him to bed at 10pm. I know that’s late. However, when I was sending him to bed at 8pm, he was waking up ready for the day by 1am…which is about the time I was going to bed. I have ADHD also. I need about 6 hours of sleep to function normally. I would go to bed around 1 or 2am and get up for the day at 7am. When I was sending him to bed at 10pm, he was waking up around 2 or 3am. The problem was he needed less sleep than I did. And he wasn’t ever ready to go to sleep at 10pm.

I set a new rule with him. Bedtime is at 10pm. Period. Because mommy needs some downtime. The new rule was that he had to go to bed at 10pm, but he didn’t have to go to sleep. He could take one book and one toy to bed with him. It could not be an electronic game and it could not be the remote control for the TV. He could have his nightlight on but not his bedroom light. And he had to stay in bed. He didn’t have to go to sleep, but he had to stay in bed. This worked well. For the most part, he followed the rule. And he usually fell asleep between 11pm and 1am.

I also talked to his daycare and made an agreement with them to not allow him to take full naps while he was at daycare. He would only get 30 minutes while the other kids got an hour. The daycare agreed to do this and allowed him to play quietly while the others finished their nap. This worked out pretty nice because that was what allowed him to become sleepy before I went to bed at night. One of the issues with ADHD children and sleep problems is that you can’t safely leave them unsupervised. It really doesn’t take long to burn down a house and ADHD children have an amazing ability to outsmart child safety locks.

Other things I had tried throughout the years included warm baths before bed, warm milk before bed, playing soft music at bedtime, and rocking him. None of these worked. He just wouldn’t get tired soon enough. Be creative and find something that works for you. The only thing I’d strongly caution against is allowing them to watch TV until they fall asleep. There have been lots of studies on this, it is a bad idea because it keeps their mind engaged. And for those that aren’t aware, I find out the hard way, Cartoon Network turns into Adult Swim at 10pm. That is NOT good for a child to watch. Good luck!


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