Do you have a child with ADHD who struggles with bedtime?
If so, you’re definitely not alone!
The more parents I talk with, the more I realize that bedtime battles are SO SO common among parents of children with ADHD.
I know that when my son was really struggling with his symptoms, I used to dread bedtime each and every night too because I KNEW it wasn’t going to go well.
There are certain tendencies among kids with ADHD that can keep them from getting a good night’s sleep.
- Kids with ADHD can have trouble with self-regulation. That can keep them from shifting from active mode to wind-down mode at the end of the day.
- Kids with ADHD are more prone to nightmares, bedwetting and sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome.
- Kids with ADHD tend to put off doing homework or other tasks until the last minute. That can create a later, more hectic evening in the home.
- Tweens and teens with ADHD may report feeling more productive during quiet nighttime hours. They can easily fall into the habit of staying up too late too often.
- Many kids with ADHD also have anxiety problems. Their anxious feelings can emerge at night when there are fewer activities to distract them. This causes them to have trouble falling or staying asleep.
Here are some of my best tips for handling bedtime:
- Set a quality bedtime routine.
A general rule is allocating an hour to this process:
- Alone wind-down time in room
- Lights out and cuddles, chat
Visual reminders and timers are often very effective with kids who have ADHD and can be really helpful for evenings.
Make a chart with pictures that show exactly what needs to be done before bed: bathing, brushing teeth, pjs, book time, etc. These visual reminders help children stay on track.
- Remove all stressors (like homework) about an hour before bedtime.
We all know exactly what it feels like to toss and turn when something is frustrating or annoying us.
I know homework needs to be done, but is it possible to complete homework somewhere like the library after school? Sometimes the different (and public) setting helps.
Once these stressors are removed and a quality routine is established, bedtime will become much less of a battlezone!
- Get to the underlying stressors.
One of the absolute best things you can do to start improving sleep in your home is to figure out WHY it’s challenging in the first place.
What are the underlying stressors that are contributing to this problem?
I have seen many many times that when families clean up the diet and target these underlying stressors, then the sleep issues begin to improve on their own.
So how do you do this?
I always suggest that families begin with diet. Start by getting rid of those top inflammatory foods (namely gluten, dairy, and soy) and replacing them with whole fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and nutrient dense foods.
Functional lab testing can also be very beneficial for figuring out the underlying stressors. This testing allows us to look at the body, like through a microscope, and find parasites, gut bacteria, food sensitivities, etc. that could be triggering inflammation in the body.
Check out this video to learn more about functional lab testing.
- Consider supplementation for a time.
Many parents come to me and wonder about supplementation, in particular, melatonin.
Melatonin can be helpful for children who are struggling to fall asleep, but I would only suggest using it for a short period of time. Instead of using it long term, we want to get to the underlying stressor that is causing the sleep disturbances in the first place.
Also, something to keep in mind with melatonin is that it can wear off throughout the night, and many kids experience night terrors or unrestful sleep while taking melatonin.
Melatonin is okay in the short term, but for the long term, I’d rather look deeper at what is going on in the body that is causing the sleep issues.
As mentioned, we do this through functional lab testing.
The truth is, there are many families who – once they change the diet, identify underlying stressors, and then target these stressors – find that the sleep improves on its own.
I know from personal experience just how challenging it can be when a child doesn’t sleep well, so I really want to help your family.
I want to invite each of you to book a free call with my team to discuss if we might be able to help you find some solutions that work.
Sleep can be so life-changing. So let’s figure this out together.
Now, many people ask me, what’s going to happen on this call. Basically, we break the call into 3 steps:
Step 1: Goal Assessment
We’ll chat about your specific goals and why you want to reach them, as well as what might have prevented you from reaching them up to this point.
Step 2: Evaluate Past Attempts
Next, we’ll talk about what you have tried in the past and why it might not have worked.
Step 3: Game Plan
Finally, based on what we uncover in the first 2 steps, we will share a customized game plan specifically for you and your family to fight your child’s ADHD symptoms naturally.
Of course, if you’d like our help to get to where you want to go even faster, then we can certainly discuss what working together looks like IF we feel we can help you and you fit our criteria. But there are absolutely no obligations with this call.
Want to know more about how we can help YOU get to a place of peace and calm with your child using natural strategies?
Book your free call with one of my expert team members to help you take your next step toward a healthier, happier home. There is absolutely NO RISK. It’s free, and there are no obligations. All we will do is chat about how we can help you get to where you want to go!
And as always, I am not a medical doctor and the above post is based on my experience. No information on this site should be relied upon to make a medical diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure any disease or medical condition.