September 24, 2013
For sleep-deprived parents of children with ADHD, a recent issue of ADDitude Magazine offers helpful strategies for managing that difficult—and tiresome—situation.
The newsletter for and about people with ADHD points to a new British study that found “three times as many children with ADHD have difficulty falling or staying asleep, and 57% of the parents of ADHD children slept less than six hours a night.”
We know that sleep deprivation leads to irritability, impatience and inefficiency. According to the article, “Studies show that not getting enough rest can worsen ADHD symptoms, leading to loss of emotional control. It can also adversely affect working memory, a problem many of our children suffer from.”
What’s a Parent to Do?
Following are ADDitude’s “parent-tested” suggestions for managing your child’s sleep problems.
- Avoid sleeping pills;
- Set a realistic bedtime and stick to it;
- Establish nighttime rituals leading up to bedtime;
- Avoid eating two or three hours before bedtime;
- Keep the room dark;
- Introduce relaxation routines (deep breathing, listening to soothing music, etc.);
- Dress for sleep comfort.
In addition, the article suggests using a behavioral approach when your child refuses to go to bed:
- Give strict orders for your child to stay in bed between certain hours. Sit outside her door and calmly tuck her back into bed if she gets up.
After a few nights, you’ll no longer have to sit vigilantly outside.
To learn more, see Why ADHD Children Don’t Sleep—And What You Can Do About It.