ADHD Sleep Solutions – Bedtime Rituals
By Barbara McRae, MCC
When we don’t have a good night’s rest, getting through the next day can be difficult. Here are some methods to help you fall asleep faster and sleep soundly through the night.
Establish a sleep schedule.
Determine how many hours of sleep are ideal for you and go to bed at the same time every night.
Consistency pre-paves your brain for rest and increases the quality of your sleep.
Refrain from eating prior to your bedtime.
Depending upon what you eat, it can take four to seven hours to digest a meal. Eat small quantities or stop eating three hours before bed. Set a “no more food” reminder. Otherwise, you could be lying awake at night while your body is busy digesting. Drink water or decaf herbal tea.
Apply the same guideline referenced above to caffeine and alcohol. Check your medications,
especially those purchased over-the-counter to make sure they don’t contain large amounts of
caffeine. On the other hand Melatonin at bed time, found at health food stores and pharmacies,
is helpful for falling asleep.
Slow down your ADHD brain.
Begin preparing for bed ahead of time by slowing down your active brain. Turn off any brain
stimulating activity, including your computer, smart phones, TV and/or movies 30-60 minutes
before your bedtime. This will help you switch gears and prevents over-stimulation before bed.
Pre-plan for the morning.
Make sure you have everything you need ready for the next day before you head to bed. Use a check list. Lay-out your clothes, plan your breakfast, and place your tote/briefcase by your front door. Set your alarm and factor in extra contingency time for travel delays.
Use sleep-friendly tools to relax.
Once you’re in bed, ease into sleep by calming your mind. Listen to relaxing music or a white
noise machine. (I prefer the sound of ocean waves.) If you’re noise sensitive, use ear plugs. A mask for your eyes can help, too, since light activates the brain which can keep you awake.
Meditate for at least 10 minutes.
The purpose of meditation is to stop the constant chatter of your mind which contributes to sleepless nights. Listen to a guided meditation tape on your mp3 player (download my Rainbow Peace Meditation*) or simply practice focusing on the intake and exhale of your breath until you feel your body relaxing.
Set sleep/waking intentions.
Focus on the quality of sleep you’re seeking to experience. How do you want to feel? Be specific and program your mind and body. Say something like: I’m looking forward to experiencing a deep and restful sleep. I awaken in the morning, feeling refreshed and alert. Now imagine and feel it as if it were happening right now. Make it your daily ritual.
Sleep issues seem to be on the rise of late for both adults and children. The above tips are based on my own experiences and those of my clients; they are helpful whether you are challenged with ADHD or not. Sweet dreams! (Feel free to share this information with your contacts.)
P.S. For downloading my 10-minute Rainbow Peace Meditation, go to this page:
http://adhdedgecoaching.com (right-hand column)
~ Barbara McRae, MCC
20-Somethings ADHD Expert, Campus Calm™
© Copyright 2011 Barbara McRae