Many people whom suffer from ADD or ADHD present with sleep problems. There also is a large percentage of the general population that suffer from Sleep Disorders. In the USA alone it’s estimated that over 5 million people suffer from Sleep Disorders. So is their a relation between the two or is it just a coincedence? Perhaps not. It just so happens that the neural networks responsible for sleep and arousal regulation (the controlling of mental and physical activation) and those involved in regulating attention and affect, aren’t only closely linked, they also sit in the same part of the brain – the prefrontal cortex. At The ADD Lab we use Neurofeedback to train the brain into healthier sleep patterns by rewarding good sleep brainwaves. With ADD an ADHD our goal is the same. We teach our clients how to produce or activate the brainwave that allows them to focus and so impulsivity, distractibility and acting out diminish.
COMMON SLEEP PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ADD:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Restless sleep
- Difficulty waking up
- Daytime sleepiness
- Exhausted mornings
Sleep difficulties that result in inadequate sleep duration, fragmented or disrupted sleep or excessive sleepiness can contribute and even cause difficulties in terms of mood regulation, attention and behaviour. Whether sleep difficulties exits as a primary problem or occurs in conjunction with ADHD, effective management of sleep problems can significantly reduce the severity of many the behavioural symptoms associated with the disorder.
Sleep helps to prepare our body for our daily activities and is essential for our physical and mental health.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF I DON’T SLEEP ENOUGH?
- Disruption of circadian rhythms (the body’s internal clock) which weakens the body’s stress response and immune system
- Negatively impacts growth and development
- Reduced alertness, balance and coordination
- Memory loss
- Impaired concentration, information processing, critical thinking and decision making
- Increased mood swings and impulsivity
- Higher levels of anxiety and/ or depression
- Increased risks for health problems such high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes
HOW MANY HOURS SHOULD I BE SLEEPING?
|Age||Recommended amount of sleep|
|Infants||16 – 18 hours a night|
|Toddlers/ Preschool children||11 – 12 hours a night|
|School aged children||10 – 11 hours a night|
|Teens||9 – 10 hours a night|
|Adults||7 – 8 hours a night|
TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP
- For children, ensure your child has a specific bedtime and wake up times. Bedtimes should not vary by more than 1 hour over weekends and holidays to maintain a good sleep routine for children and adults.
- Establish a bedtime routine to get yourself or your child ready for bed and sleep by engaging in relaxing activities such as reading or listening to soft music before going to sleep. Specific bedtime routines can help to create associations between certain activities and sleep, and prime your brain to get ready for sleep time.
- Avoid any bright artificial lights generated by a TV, computer, cellphone or tablet at least one hour before bedtime. Light produced by such devices can signal the brain to remain alert and therefore make it difficult to fall asleep.
- If you find yourself still lying awake after 20 minutes, feeling anxious or your thoughts are racing, get out of bed and engage in a relaxing activity. Concerns over not being able to sleep can worsen anxiety, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
- Make the bedroom a comfortable place, making sure that you have the right matrass and pillows.
- Ensure that your room is dark enough, turning off or blocking any lights or sounds in the bedroom that might distract you from sleep. If you have a clock in your bedroom it is a good idea to turn the clock face away from you to prevent counting the minutes before you fall asleep.
- Avoid heavy or large meals a few hours before going to bed as this might cause indigestion and influence sleep.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days but avoid any strenuous activities 2- 3 hours before bedtime. Exercise not only aids in promoting sleep but can also help to reduce anxiety which might me contributing to sleep difficulties.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine (found in tea, coffee, chocolate and most carbonated soft drinks), especially later in the day as such substances can remain in your blood system for up to 8 hours and therefore influence sleep.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages before going to bed. Heavy alcohol intake can prevent you from entering deep and restful sleep states as well as impair breathing.
If you follow these tips and still don’t experience improved sleep, contact Luzanne at The ADD Lab to schedule your complimentary intoductary session to Neurofeedback and Tomatis® to address the underlying problems affecting you Zzzzzz’s.