How Do I Calm My ADHD Child At Night?
If you have a child with ADHD, you’re likely no stranger to nighttime tantrums, bursts of energy, and stress; these sleep problems are more common than not.
Calming a child with ADHD at night generally requires you to identify the main reasons your child is struggling to settle down or sleep and develop a specific plan to remedy them. In many cases, the following techniques, among others, help:
You know your child better than anyone else, so it’s likely that with some time and thought, you can identify many of the common stressors that tend to cause problems for your child as the day comes to a close. Being proactive about these issues can save you a lot of anguish and time in the moment (and your child a lot of unnecessary distress).
ADHD Child Sleep Problems
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, commonly impacts sleep in both children and adults. In fact, one study suggests that around two-thirds of individuals living with ADHD struggle with insomnia or otherwise find it difficult to get restful sleep.
ADHD is one of many disorders that can significantly impact energy levels throughout the day, making it hard to stay focused and alert during the day and unwind at night. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience similar challenges, and the two conditions tend to co-exist (meaning a child who has one is more likely than the average child to have the other).
Because sleep problems are so common among those with ADHD, it’s important for parents and families of children with the disorder to be aware of how these problems can impact their mood, behavior, and mental health.
Why Do Kids With ADHD Get Hyper at Night?
There are a few reasons children with ADHD might get hyper at night. Some are avoidable, but others are not - instead, they require proactive planning and problem-solving to overcome.
As mentioned, ADHD is known for making it hard for the brain to regulate energy levels as it might otherwise. Children with ADHD may experience hyperactivity at night that makes it hard to settle down.
Other common ADHD symptoms include an inability to keep consistent routines or tune out the external world. Children with ADHD may also have a hard time stopping a task they’re engrossed in, even if it’s getting too late.
All of these factors combined can make it hard for a child’s mind to recognize it’s time to unwind or “shut down” enough for sleep to occur.
Additionally, stimulant medications commonly used to treat ADHD can cause insomnia or high levels of energy. These medications can be great tools for promoting focus and activity, but their effects can sometimes linger for too long.
ADHD Sleep Tips
As unfortunately widespread as ADHD-related sleep issues are, many of them are easily fixable with a bit of thought and effort. Those that prove to be more stubborn may respond more positively to additional care from a healthcare provider.
Let’s look at some of the simplest ways you can help your child with ADHD calm down at night and relax enough to get the good night’s sleep they need.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines that are consistent and thought-out can be a lifesaver for a child with ADHD.
Because the disorder makes it so hard to stick to a consistent routine or remember daily tasks, implementing one from a young age and sticking to it means you’ll likely be doing your child a real favor in both the short- and long-term.
If your child is old enough, you can even involve them in the routine planning process. Incorporate activities that are appealing to your child to make bedtime into something they look forward to (and cooperate with).
A routine can be basic, or it can be nuanced - whatever fits your child’s needs best is appropriate.
Ideas to consider include:
- Taking a bubble bath
- Reading a bedtime story
- Brushing teeth
- Picking out a cozy pair of pajamas
- Snuggling with a loved one or a furry friend
Incorporate Activity During the Day
One of the best ways to avoid an overabundance of energy during the evening and night is to do your best to encourage your child to spend it during the day.
This doesn’t have to just mean physical activity, either, though exercise is a great way to promote physical health while also managing ADHD symptoms; mental stimulation can prove to be just as tiring for the brain in many ways.
You may find it beneficial to find small ways to stimulate your child throughout the day, especially in ways they find enjoyable. Depending on your child’s age, more or less activity may be necessary to achieve this goal.
If your child does take prescription medication that may be interfering with their ability to sleep, it’s crucial that you speak with your child’s doctor to resolve the issue.
Some medications are more likely to cause this side effect than others, so it’s possible that a simple medication switch or lowered dosage may be enough to improve your child’s symptoms.
Otherwise, your doctor may recommend alternative methods for managing your child’s ADHD symptoms during the day.
If the severity of your child’s sleep problems overrides the severity of the issues they might experience without medication, weaning off of it entirely may be your doctor’s recommendation.
No matter what, never make these sorts of decisions on your own. Even though you know your child better than anyone else, stimulants and other prescription medications can cause serious side effects when used inappropriately, and many children genuinely rely on them.
Only your child’s doctor can give the final say on what course of action is best.
Minimize Stimuli During the Evening
To avoid reigniting the flame that is a hyperactive mind in the later hours of the day, avoid stimuli that tend to be problematic. For many children, screens, whether it be from a television or a phone/mobile device, are a top culprit.
Too much physical activity in the evening may prove to be an issue, too, and certain foods may cause a spike in your child’s energy that’s hard to combat.
Be mindful about what is and isn’t allowed before bedtime. There are many alternatives your child can turn to for fun that won’t exacerbate their inability to get a good night’s sleep.
Communicate With Your Child
No matter how old your child is, do your best to communicate frequently and openly with them about their sleeping patterns. The only way you can help them, after all, is if you have a genuine understanding of what’s working and what isn’t.
Likewise, understanding what tends to keep your child up at night or wake them can help you further ensure they get all the hours of rest that they need.
No matter what, be patient with your child. It’s likely that they are just as frustrated or overwhelmed by these challenges as you are as a parent, and navigating such intense feelings as a child is no easy feat.
How to Help a Child With ADHD Sleep Through the Night: The Cubby Bed
Many parts of the world and the way we live haven’t adapted to the needs of those living with disorders like ADHD. With the Cubby Sleep System, such a reality can become a thing of the past, at least in your household.
The Cubby Bed and its accessories are made for children with special needs of all sorts. Its safety features and sensory features make it a unique tool for keeping children safe and sound throughout the night, and both parents and kiddos alike can benefit!
Whether your child struggles to tune out external stimuli, needs to fall asleep to the sound of white noise, tends to leave their bed, or is even prone to injury at night as a result of their sleep problems, the Cubby Bed can help.
Its unique monitoring system includes top-quality cameras and microphones to allow parents to keep an eye on their children whenever and from wherever they need to. You can rest assured that your child has all the tools they need to get a good night’s sleep with the Cubby Bed.
Devices like this, combined with the strategies outlined above, can make a significant difference in your child’s ability to sleep and, by extension, their livelihood. Take control over nighttime back into your own hands!