Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep if you have this condition. Here are some of the top tips for better sleep for adults with ADHD.

1. Develop a Bedtime Routine

Following a consistent routine before bed can help to prepare you for sleep. This routine will signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and may even help you start to feel sleepy. Here are some of the steps you may want to include in your ADHD-friendly bedtime routine:

  • Take a warm shower or bath to help you relax.
  • Dim the lights and avoid screen use for two hours before bed.
  • Enjoy quiet time with reading, soft music, or meditation.
  • Drink a warm cup of non-caffeinated tea.
  • Use aromatherapy with a diffuser or fabric spray.

2. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene is a term that describes the habits which affect one’s sleep. When someone has good sleep hygiene habits, they’ll be more likely to stay and fall asleep. Some examples of good sleep hygiene include:

  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Not eating large meals close to bedtime.
  • Making the bedroom quiet and dark.
  • Keeping the bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature.
  • Using the bed only for sleeping or sex.
  • Maintaining a consistent bedtime and wake-up time.

3. Use Relaxation Techniques

If you find that you have trouble quieting your mind before bed, consider using relaxation methods to achieve a calmer and more restful state. For example, you might meditate or do breathing exercises for a few minutes before bed each night. Another popular option is progressive muscle relaxation, in which you tense and release muscles one by one while lying in bed.

4. Get More Exercise

There are numerous studies which show that exercise has positive effects on sleep. In addition to helping you fall asleep more quickly, it can also improve sleep quality. Try getting at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each day. 

There isn’t a specific time of day to exercise that’s recommended to enjoy these benefits, but most health professionals recommend avoiding high-intensity exercise too close to bedtime. Try working out at different times of the day to see which has the best effect on your sleep.

5. Take the Right ADHD Medication

Getting on a good treatment plan for your ADHD is one of the best things you can do to improve your sleep. Stimulants can actually be helpful in resolving sleep issues because they address the symptoms of ADHD which may be keeping you awake. Depending on the type of medication you have, you may want to avoid taking it in the evening to prevent the stimulant effects from keeping you awake. For those with a high sensitivity to stimulants, talk to your healthcare provider about trying a non-stimulant medication for ADHD instead.

6. Rule Out other Conditions

While sleep problems are relatively common with ADHD, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the cause of any and all sleep issues you’re experiencing. Some of the many possible reasons for sleep problems include depression, stress, pain, digestive issues, certain medications, neurological problems, and sleep apnea. So, if you’re still struggling to get enough sleep after trying the tips listed above, it’s time to get some medical advice.

Start by keeping track of your sleep habits. Keep a journal that tracks how much sleep you get each night and how often/when you wake up. Note any changes in your sleeping environment (where you fell asleep, if the TV was on or music was playing, if you exercised or ate shortly before bed, etc.) as well as any naps taken during the day.

Talk to your primary care provider about your sleep problems and share the information from your journal. They can discuss possible reasons why you’re having trouble sleeping and offer useful guidance on what to do to address the issue. Your healthcare provider may be able to refer you to a sleep specialist or help you sign up for a sleep study to get to the root of the problem.