Many people affected by ADHD struggle with getting to sleep at night. Often it is because we can’t quiet our brain down. In addition, many affected by ADHD are night owls so it is hard to ignore the energy that starts to surge late in the evening.
I believe ritual can help. Ritualizing your bedtime routine can start to send messages to your body that it is time for sleep. I use the word ritual because when I think of sleep I think of sacredness. Many of us with ADHD kind of fight sleep. This is unfortunate because lack of sleep exacerbates our symptomology.
Ritual can be soothing and soothing helps us get into sleep mode. Start by making a list of what you need to do to get ready for bed. How can you ritualize it? For example, maybe your ritual includes changing into your nightclothes first. Washing your face, brushing your teeth and whatever else you do while prepping for bed. It might include laying out your clothes for the next day. Maybe checking your calendar for the next day so you know what to expect.
Then do something sleep conducive. This could be reading awhile, journaling, meditating, stretching or whatever else relaxes you. But set a time limit so you are getting to bed around the same time each night.
If you need sound to go to sleep to turn on the radio or a podcast. Don’t leave the TV on because the TV is a visual medium. It needs to be something where you are not tempted to keep your eyes open for as long as possible. I find listening to podcasts that are engaging but not too engaging helps me. Meaning I am not tempted to stay awake listening. A great podcast for this is called “Sleep with Me.” It is definitely an acquired taste so try it more than once to see if it works for you. I also found podcasts that are re-broadcasts of old time radio shows can help me fall asleep. There are many podcasts that play old time westerns, mysteries, drama, etc.
Whatever you decide to do with your nighttime routine make sure you play with it until it is just right for you and helps ease you into sleep. Once you have figured that out think of the routine as a ritual you must perform every night. Try to start your nighttime ritual at roughly the same time each night so that your bedtime is at about the same time each night. You are training your body to sleep.