We hear some variation of this question from parents all the time: " My Kid with ADHD Can't Sleep - What Should I Do?"
So we asked a family medicine doctor, who also happens to be an ADHD specialist, what advice he can offer to families who are struggling with the challenges of sleep and ADHD. Because its not just our kids who are having trouble sleeping. Often, sleep is evasive for adults, too – sometimes because of ADHD, sometimes from worry or anxiety, and most often because we just don't do a great job of putting ourselves to bed!
In this interview, Dr. Pomeroy explains the value of having a bed time set – "pretty much for everybody, at least eight hours of sleep, including adults."
Wait, what? We adults need 8 hours of sleep, too!
Says Pomerory, "people think, 'Well, I can get by on seven.' Yes, you can get by, but you really aren’t functioning as well as you can. For teenagers, it really has to be at least eight, preferably a bit more, which is difficult with their schedules. For anyone under twelve, certainly nine hours is better.
But how? How do you possibly get enough sleep in this day and age?
Here's what else the good doctor suggests: "Look at when you have to get up in the morning, and back up eight hours -- that’s when you should be asleep. Not just getting in to bed, but actually asleep. So you need a routine on what to do an hour before. Number one (and probably the hardest thing for everybody these days) is get off electronics. You want to read, read a book. Don’t read from your tablet or your phone or whatever.
Not even the tablet? Even when they say it doesn’t have the light issue?
He acquiesces, "Yeah. You can do it with the blue light filter, where the screen gets kind of an amber color…."
What else does he recommend?
"Wear bed socks. It turns out just by their ADHD -- not by their treatment or anything else -- people with ADHD have colder hands and feet. During the night, if your feet are cold, you just don’t get as settled sleep. They may not be ice cold to wake you up, but enough that it makes a difference. There’s a research group in the Netherlands that specifically study ADHD and sleep. And that’s the first thing they tell anybody with ADD who is having trouble with sleep -- wear bed socks. They can just barely go over your ankle be pretty light, but it makes a big difference to stay asleep and get a good restful sleep."
Seriously. Who knew that bed socks were the secret solution to what to do about it when your kid with ADHD can't sleep. Try them on … and all the other great strategies that Dr. Pomeroy offers in this 20 minute pearl of an interview!