One of my clients is trying to overhaul her sleeping habits. She tends to stay up late or all-night reading. I get it. I used to do the same thing. I have had many clients who stay up late fooling around on their phone or tablet. It is addicting. You start reading one article or watching a video and it leads to another and another. Or you start reading a book and get really into it.

Often the result is that it is hard to get up the next morning because you are so tired. Many people affected by ADD/ADHD say they aren’t morning people. I wonder if this is really true for all of them or if a portion of them are just not getting enough sleep so that mornings are hard. I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that you need sleep. Lack of sleep can aggravate ADD/ADHD symptoms.

Choose a bedtime. Work backwards from when you have to get up to decide the time. Set an alarm, if necessary, about an hour before your bedtime. Do your ablutions once the alarm goes off and then get into bed. You should have 30 to 45 minutes left to read, play games, watch video or whatever chills you out. You might have to set another alarm for when your hour is up to remind you to turn out the lights and close your eyes. I like to put on a podcast to listen to as I go to sleep. This is key though, not a favorite podcast because I will stay up listening. Just a middle of the road podcast or the radio that engage me at a low level so I can fall asleep.

Don’t watch TV to fall asleep. TV is a visual medium and you will stay up later than necessary if you keep your eyes open and end up fighting sleep. I have some clients who listen to audio books to fall asleep. That can work, but again it can’t be an interesting book that keeps you awake. One way to solve that is to listen to books you have already listened to or read before so it is not quite so engaging.

When your alarm goes off in the morning get up. Don’t hit snooze. Snooze is dangerous. It can lead to over sleeping. Some clients use an alarm clock and put it across the room from them so they have to get out of bed to turn off the annoying alarm. The rule is once out of bed, no going back.

What is important is getting enough sleep so that your symptoms are not exacerbated and you don’t feel lethargic during the day. If you have trouble falling asleep on a regular basis, see a doctor for help. Sleep is vital to success and enjoyment of life.