Healthy Sleep Habits for Children with ADHD
Good restful sleep is essential to help improve attention and focus in children!
Bedtime Routines and Habits
- Go to bed at the same time, even on weekends. Usually children under 12 need around 10 hours of sleep and teenagers need at least 9 hours.
- Follow the same routine every night. Have enough time so lights can go out on time. An example of a routine would be take a warm bath, brush teeth, then read for 15 minutes.
- End the evening quietly without rough-and-tumble play.
- Plan ahead! Finish work at least an hour before bedtime. Finish homework, turn off TV, phone, video games or computers 2 hours before bedtime if possible and no later than 1 hour before bedtime.
- Teach your child how to calm down and fall asleep without you. For example, use a special blanket, stuffed animal, picture of parent, or gentle music/sound machine that can turn itself off. An older child may try deep breathing or picturing a pleasant and relaxing time, like a day at the beach.
- Be quick, quiet and boring if you have to check on your child at night; set limits to your child’s attention seeking behavior. For example, do not continue to provide “one more drink”.
Quiet, Comfortable Sleep-Only Zone – Bedrooms are for sleeping!
- Wear comfortable pajamas. Make sure your child makes a ‘last trip’ to the bathroom.
- Pay attention to noises around your child’s bed that make it hard to sleep. For example, pets who come and go and noise from others sharing your child’s room can interfere with quality sleep.
- Keep a cool, dark room, and if needed, a night-light.
- Take distractions out of the room. No TV, computer, phone, video games and fewer toys in bed.
Daytime Routines and Habits
- Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- No naps during the day if naps interfere with sleeping at night.
- Choose healthy foods and eat meals about the same time every day. No caffeine (Ex. tea, soda, energy drinks, chocolate), especially after 5 pm. Don’t eat heavy meals close to bedtime; but a light snack is ok when hungry.
- Plan exercise and/or playtime every day so your child can go to bed with his/her energy spent.
- If your child is a worrier, plan a time earlier in the day to talk about worries and concerns.