Kids with ADHD usually have problems staying focused, sitting still and controlling their emotions and behavior. And, this can lead to dependence, lower social skills and poor school performance. Because of this, they often need special attention from their parents, school systems, teachers and health professionals. Some need a pediatric occupational therapist.
But, forgetfulness, trouble paying attention and poor impulse control are not just signs of ADHD. They can also be signs of poor sleep. Because many children with ADHD often have problems with sleep, you'll want to learn how to handle this.
Sleep disorders don't typically occur in children, therefore it's not likely that many children with a sleep disorder will receive a mistaken diagnosis for ADHD or have both. But, even without a sleep disorder, if your child is sleep-challenged, it can make their ADHD symptoms worse. So, you'll want to learn a few tips to help resolve their sleep problems.
Sleep Tips for Children with ADHD
Try these few tips and see if they help with your child's sleep issues.
If your child is on a stimulant medication and is displaying sleep troubles, talk with their pediatrician to see if your child can go on a lower dose or maybe just adjust the timing if it interferes with bedtime.
Stick to a Schedule
Come up with a consistent night time routine such as brushing teeth, bathing, reading and others. Keep in mind, children with ADHD need predictability and routine more so than other children.
Use a Weighted Blanket
Children with ADHD often have poor proprioception and crave deep pressure. Poor proprioception is where your child doesn't understand where their body is in space. Giving them a heavy, weighted blanket to sleep with will help apply deep pressure to their joints and muscles throughout the night, helping to calm their overactive central nervous system and regulate their disorganized sense of self. Calming and organizing the senses supports your child's body's natural ability to fall asleep.
These are only a few sleep tips you can try if your child has ADHD and trouble sleeping. There are many others though, such as sensory processing strategies, that you can try.