Sleep is important for everyone. For children with ADHD, it can be very difficult to fall asleep and stay sleeping for over six hours. Some children with ADHD wake up several times during the night. If your child is having a hard time sleeping, here are some tips:
- The Right Fuel for a Good Night’s Sleep: Digestion can keep your child awake. Avoid eating foods that contain caffeine or sugar. Also, do not allow your child to snack two to three hours before bed. If they must eat, allow them to drink warm milk or eat some turkey. These have natural sleep-inducing chemicals in them. Additionally, your child should drink enough water throughout the day to prevent them from needing a glass of water at bedtime. Water could lead to waking up to use the bathroom at night.
- Avoid Sleeping Medications: The majority of sleep medications that work well for adults have yet to be efficiently tested for children. Doctors sometimes prescribe clonidine for ADD
- Darken the Room: Darkness can help eliminate visual distractions, such as toys, that would give them the urge to want to get up and play. On the other hand if your child is afraid of the dark, you can dim the lights, then turn them off once the child is sleeping. You can also put dark curtains on windows to reduce outside light from coming into the room.
- Bedtime Rituals: Dedicate the hour leading up to your child’s bedtime to listening to music, reading, or another calming activity. This will allow the body and mind to slow down. Do not allow your child to watch violent TV programs or play video games before bed. Reading a bedtime story or allowing your child to read in bed is more conducive activity for sleep.
- Relaxation Routines: Additionally, deep breathing can make it easier to fall asleep. A restless child could be relaxed by a back or foot rub. Breathing while visualizing something slow like an elevator gently going up and down, could be helpful.
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