Adult ADD Sleep Problems: How I Fall (and Stay) Asleep

Sleep deficit and attention deficit often coexist in adults with ADD/ADHD. Here's how I treat my sleep problems to get the rest my brain needs.

Gant Powell

I wasn’t diagnosed with adult attention hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) until age 40, and I had developed an oversized sleep deficit through the years. I’ve always gone to bed very late. I didn’t want to lie down and listen to my revving brain do wheelies. Instead, I exhausted myself -- watching movies or fiddling with my camping equipment -- until I passed out. Or, in the past, I’d have a few drinks to dull the noise of leaving rubber on the road.

I think fast. I talk fast. I read fast. When my life is as high-energy as my brain -- when I’m channel-surfing, reading several books at once -- I’m fine. Slow me down and I become uncomfortably conscious of the tempo of my thoughts.

I recently described this sensation to my psychiatrist. “It is like a lumberjack trying to stay upright on rotating logs in a river,” I said. “You have to keep running, or you will fall into the water and be crushed by them.”

These days, my racing thoughts are fewer and further between, and many of the things that float through my brain have slowed down. I can focus on one thought. At times, I experience alert tranquility. I suspect it is due to the effects of the Strattera I’m taking -- and to the new strategies I use to manage symptoms .

I feel good about sleep now. I schedule earlier bedtimes, and I am usually under the covers at the designated time. I need my beauty sleep, and I need my brain sleep even more.

More on ADD/ADHD and Sleep

ADD/ADHD Sleep Problems: Causes and Tips to Rest Better Tonight!

Take Control of Your Schedule, Take Control of Your Life

7 Solutions to Sleep Problems

Wake Up Happier and Faster: Morning Help for ADD/ADHD Adults

Waking Up Is Hard to Do...When You Have Adult ADD/ADHD

This article appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of ADDitude . SUBSCRIBE TODAY to ensure you don't miss a single issue.

TAGS: ADHD Sleep Advice , ADHD Time Management , ADHD Treatment

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