Does add cause sleep problems

ADHD and Sleep Problems: Why You're Always Tired

ADHD and Sleep Problems

Adults with ADHD rarely fall asleep easily, sleep soundly through the night, and then wake up feeling refreshed. More often, ADHD’s mental and physical restlessness disturbs a person’s sleep patterns — and the ensuing exhaustion hurts overall health and treatment. This is widely accepted as true. But, as with most of our knowledge about ADHD in adults, we’re only beginning to understand the stronger link between ADHD and sleep, that creates difficulties:

  • Falling asleep
  • Staying asleep
  • Waking up

Sleep disturbances caused by ADHD have been overlooked for a number of reasons. Sleep problems did not fit neatly into the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) requirement that all ADHD symptoms must be present by age 7. Sleep disturbances associated with ADHD generally appear later in life, at around age 12, on average. Consequently, the arbitrary age cutoff has prevented recognition of night owls and sleep disturbances in ADHD until recently, when studies of adults have become more common. Just as ADHD does not go away at adolescence, it does not go away at night either. It continues to impair life functioning 24 hours a day.

In early attempts to define the syndrome, sleep disturbances were briefly considered a criterion for ADHD, but were dropped from the symptoms list because evidence of them was thought to be too nonspecific. As research has expanded to include adults with ADHD, the causes and effects of sleeping disturbances have become clearer.

For now, sleeping problems tend either to be overlooked or to be viewed as coexisting problems with an unclear relationship to ADHD itself and to the mental fatigue so commonly reported by individuals with ADHD. Sleep disturbances have been incorrectly attributed to the stimulant-class medications that are often the first to be used to treat ADHD.

The Four Big ADHD Sleep Problems

No scientific literature on sleep lists ADHD as a prominent cause of sleep disturbances. Most articles focus on sleep disturbance due to stimulant-class medications, rather than looking at ADHD as the cause. Yet adults with ADHD know that the connection between their condition and sleep problems is real. Sufferers often call it “perverse sleep” — when they want to be asleep, they are awake; when they want to be awake, they are asleep.

[Watch This Video: 5 Fixes for “I Can’t Sleep”]

The four most common sleep disturbances associated with ADHD are:

1. Difficulty Falling Asleep with ADHD

About three-fourths of all adults with ADHD report inability to “shut off my mind so I can fall asleep at night.” Many describe themselves as “night owls” who get a burst of energy when the sun goes down. Others report that they feel tired throughout the day, but as soon as the head hits the pillow, the mind clicks on. Their thoughts jump or bounce from one worry to another. Unfortunately, many of these adults describe their thoughts as “racing,” prompting a misdiagnosis of a mood disorder, when this is nothing more than the mental restlessness of ADHD.

Prior to puberty, 10 to 15 percent of children with ADHD have trouble getting to sleep. This is twice the rate found in children and adolescents who do not have ADHD. This number dramatically increases with age: 50 percent of children with ADHD have difficulty falling asleep almost every night by age 12 ½ by age 30, more than 70 percent of adults with ADHD report that they spend more than one hour trying to fall asleep at night.

2. Restless Sleep with ADHD

When individuals with ADHD finally fall asleep, their sleep is restless. They toss and turn. They awaken at any noise in the house. They are so fitful that bed partners often choose to sleep in another bed. They often awake to find the bed torn apart and covers kicked onto the floor. Sleep is not refreshing and they awaken as tired as when they went to bed.

[How Sleep Deprivation Looks a Lot Like ADHD]

3. Difficulty Waking Up with ADHD

More than 80 percent of adults with ADHD in my practice report multiple awakenings until about 4 a.m. Then they fall into “the sleep of the dead,” from which they have extreme difficulty rousing themselves.

They sleep through two or three alarms, as well as the attempts of family members to get them out of bed. ADHD sleepers are commonly irritable, even combative, when roused before they are ready. Many of them say they are not fully alert until noon.

4. Intrusive Sleep with ADHD

Paul Wender, M.D., a 30-year veteran ADHD researcher, relates ADHD to interest-based performance. As long as persons with ADHD were interested in or challenged by what they were doing, they did not demonstrate symptoms of the disorder. (This phenomenon is called hyperfocus by some, and is often considered to be an ADHD pattern. ) If, on the other hand, an individual with ADHD loses interest in an activity, his nervous system disengages, in search of something more interesting. Sometimes this disengagement is so abrupt as to induce sudden extreme drowsiness, even to the point of falling asleep.

Marian Sigurdson, Ph.D., an expert on electroencephalography (EEG) findings in ADHD, reports that brain wave tracings at this time show a sudden intrusion of theta waves into the alpha and beta rhythms of alertness. We all have seen “theta wave intrusion,” in the student in the back of the classroom who suddenly crashes to the floor, having “fallen asleep.” This was probably someone with ADHD who was losing consciousness due to boredom rather than falling asleep. This syndrome is life-threatening if it occurs while driving, and it is often induced by long-distance driving on straight, monotonous roads. Often this condition is misdiagnosed as “EEG negative narcolepsy.” The extent of incidence of intrusive “sleep” is not known, because it occurs only under certain conditions that are hard to reproduce in a laboratory.

Why Do People with ADHD Have Problems Sleeping?

There are several theories about the causes of sleep disturbance in people with ADHD, with a telling range of viewpoints. Physicians base their responses to their patients’ complaints of sleep problems on how they interpret the cause of the disturbances. A physician who looks first for disturbances resulting from disorganized life patterns will treat problems in a different way than a physician who thinks of them as a manifestation of ADHD.

Thomas Brown, Ph.D., longtime researcher in ADHD and developer of the Brown Scales, was one of the first to give serious attention to the problem of sleep in children and adolescents with ADHD. He sees sleep disturbances as indicative of problems of arousal and alertness in ADHD itself. Two of the five symptom clusters that emerge from the Brown Scales involve activation and arousal:

  • Organizing and activating to begin work activities.
  • Sustaining alertness, energy, and effort.

Brown views problems with sleep as a developmentally-based impairment of management functions of the brain — particularly, an impairment of the ability to sustain and regulate arousal and alertness. Interestingly, he does not recommend treatments common to ADHD, but rather recommends a two-pronged approach that stresses better sleep hygiene and the suppression of unwanted and inconvenient arousal states by using medications with sedative properties.

The simplest explanation is that sleep disturbances are direct manifestations of ADHD itself. True hyperactivity is extremely rare in women of any age. Most women experience the mental and physical restlessness of ADHD only when they are trying to shut down the arousal state of day-to-day functioning in order to fall asleep. At least 75 percent of adults of both genders report that their minds restlessly move from one concern to another for several hours until they finally fall asleep. Even then, they toss and turn, awaken frequently, and sometimes barely sleep at all.

The fact that 80 percent of adults with ADHD eventually fall into “the sleep of the dead” has led researchers to look for explanations. No single theory explains the severe impairment of the ability to rouse oneself into wakefulness. Some patients with ADHD report that they sleep well when they go camping or are out of doors for extended periods of time.

One hypothesis is that the lack of an accurate circadian clock may also account for the difficulty that many with ADHD have in judging the passage of time. Their internal clocks are not “set.” Consequently, they experience only two times: “now” and “not now.” Many of my adult patients do not wear watches. They experience time as an abstract concept, important to other people, but one which they don’t understand. It will take many more studies to establish the links between circadian rhythms and ADHD.

How to Get to Sleep with ADD

No matter how a doctor explains sleep problems, the remedy usually involves something called “sleep hygiene,” which considers all the things that foster the initiation and maintenance of sleep. This set of conditions is highly individualized. Some people need absolute silence. Others need white noise, such as a fan or radio, to mask disturbances to sleep. Some people need a snack before bed, while others can’t eat anything right before bedtime. A few rules of sleep hygiene are universal:

  • Use the bed only for sleep or sex, not as a place to confront problems or argue.
  • Have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine and stick to it — rigorously.
  • Avoid naps during the day.

Two more elements of good sleep hygiene seem obvious, but they should be stressed for people with ADHD.

  • Get in bed to go to sleep. Many people with ADHD are at their best at night. They are most energetic, thinking clearest, and most stable after the sun goes down. The house is quiet and distractions are low. This is their most productive time. Unfortunately, they have jobs and families to which they must attend the next morning, tasks made harder by inadequate sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine late at night. Caffeine can cause a racing ADHD brain to grow more excitable and alert. Caffeine is also a diuretic, although not as potent as experts once thought, and may cause sleep disruptions brought on by needing to go to the bathroom. It is a good strategy to avoid consuming any liquids shortly before bedtime.

Treatment Options for ADHD-Related Sleep Problems

If the patient spends hours a night with thoughts bouncing and his body tossing, this is probably a manifestation of ADHD. The best treatment is a dose of stimulant-class medication 45 minutes before bedtime. This course of action, however, is a hard sell to patients who suffer from difficulty sleeping. Consequently, once they have determined their optimal dose of medication, I ask them to take a nap an hour after they have taken the second dose.

Generally, they find that the medication’s “paradoxical effect” of calming restlessness is sufficient to allow them to fall asleep. Most adults are so sleep-deprived that a nap is usually successful. Once people see for themselves, in a “no-risk” situation, that the medications can help them shut off their brains and bodies and fall asleep, they are more willing to try medications at bedtime. About two-thirds of my adult patients take a full dose of their ADHD medication every night to fall asleep.

What if the reverse clinical history is present? One-fourth of people with ADHD either don’t have a sleep disturbance or have ordinary difficulty falling asleep. Stimulant-class medications at bedtime are not helpful to them. Dr. Brown recommends Benadryl, 25 to 50 mg, about one hour before bed. Benadryl is an antihistamine sold without prescription and is not habit-forming. The downside is that it is long-acting, and can cause sleepiness for up to 60 hours in some individuals. About 10 percent of those with ADHD experience severe paradoxical agitation with Benadryl and never try it again.

Experts point out that sleep disturbances in people diagnosed with ADHD are not always due to ADHD-related causes. Sometimes patients have a co-morbid sleep disorder in addition to ADHD. Some professionals will order a sleep study for their patients to determine the cause of the sleep disturbance. Such tests as a Home Sleeping Test, Polysomnogram, or a Multiple Sleep Latency Test may be prescribed. If there are secondary sleep problems, doctors may use additional treatment options to manage sleep time challenges.

The next step up the treatment ladder is prescription medications. Most clinicians avoid sleeping pills because they are potentially habit-forming. People quickly develop tolerance to them and require ever-increasing doses. So, the next drugs of choice tend to be non-habit-forming, with significant sedation as a side effect. They are:

  • Melatonin. This naturally occurring peptide released by the brain in response to the setting of the sun has some function in setting the circadian clock. It is available without prescription at most pharmacies and health food stores. Typically the dosage sizes sold are too large. Almost all of the published research on Melatonin is on doses of 1 mg or less, but the doses available on the shelves are either 3 or 6 mg. Nothing is gained by using doses greater than one milligram. Melatonin may not be effective the first night, so several nights’ use may be necessary for effectiveness.
  • Periactin. The prescription antihistamine, cyproheptadine (Periactin), works like Benadryl but has the added advantages of suppressing dreams and reversing stimulant-induced appetite suppression.
  • Clonidine. Some practitioners recommend in a 0.05 to 0.1 mg dose one hour before bedtime. This medication is used for high blood pressure, and it is the drug of choice for the hyperactivity component of ADHD. It exerts significant sedative effects for about four hours.
  • Antidepressant medications, such as trazodone (Desyrel), 50 to 100 mg, or mirtazapine (Remeron), 15 mg, used by some clinicians for their sedative side effects. Due to a complex mechanism of action, lower doses of mirtazapine are more sedative than higher ones. More is not better. Like Benadryl, these medications tend to produce sedation into the next day, and may make getting up the next morning harder than it was.

Problems Waking Up with ADHD

Problems in waking and feeling fully alert can be approached in two ways. The simpler is a two-alarm system. The patient sets a first dose of stimulant-class medication and a glass of water by the bedside. An alarm is set to go off one hour before the person actually plans to rise. When the alarm rings, the patient rouses himself enough to take the medication and goes back to sleep. When a second alarm goes off, an hour later, the medication is approaching peak blood level, giving the individual a fighting chance to get out of bed and start his day.

A second approach is more high-tech, based on evidence that difficulty waking in the morning is a circadian rhythm problem. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the use of sunset/sunrise-simulating lights can set the internal clocks of people with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. As an added benefit, many people report that they sharpen their sense of time and time management once their internal clock is set properly. The lights, however, are experimental and expensive (about $400).

Disturbances of sleep in people with ADHD are common, but are almost completely ignored by our current diagnostic system and in ADHD research. These patterns become progressively worse with age. Recognition of sleep disturbance in ADHD has been hampered by the misattribution of the difficulty falling asleep to the effects of stimulant-class medications. We now recognize that sleep difficulties are associated with ADHD itself, and that stimulant-class medications are often the best treatment of sleep problems rather than the cause of them.

[Read This Next: Tired of Feeling Tired? How to Solve Common Sleep Problems]

William Dodson, M.D., is a member of ADDitude’s ADHD Medical Review Panel.

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Common ADHD Problems and Solutions

It seems, at times, that ADHD brains simply don’t know how to fall asleep. They regularly buzz and whir and perseverate well beyond bedtime, keeping us awake late, then tired and foggy in the morning.

Sleep problems – including restless nights and morning grogginess – are common, whether due to comorbid sleep disorders, biological causes, or difficulty with managing ADHD symptoms that prevent restfulness.

If you’re not sleeping well, every aspect of your life suffers. Here are the most common ADHD sleeping problems, why they occur, and how to overcome them to fall asleep – at last.

The ADHD-Sleep Connection: Problems and Causes

There’s no one single sleeping problem that afflicts people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD). In fact, there’s a plethora of reported sleep difficulties and disorders tied to or common with ADHD, including:

  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep. Compared to children without ADHD, children with ADHD experience more daytime sleepiness, sleep onset problems, and circadian abnormalities. They sleep less overall1. A systematic review of research also found that short sleep duration is significantly linked to ADHD 2.
  • Unwillingness to nap even when exhausted
  • Increased nocturnal activity/feeling more alert/energized after dark
  • Going to bed late (around 2 a.m.)
  • Difficulty awakening (regardless of ample sleep)
  • Feeling tired despite ample sleep
  • Difficulty maintaining alertness during the day
  • Sleep talking/sleep walking
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). About a quarter of the ADHD population has symptoms that mimic RLS 3.
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

[Click to Read: What Comes First – ADHD or Sleep Problems?]

A lack of sleep can lead to other health problems, including a weakened immune system, a dysregulated appetite and metabolism, and moodiness. Sleep problems also exacerbate executive functioning skills, like memory, concentration, and problem solving, which are already weakened by ADHD. Symptoms like hyperactivity and inattentiveness can also worsen with inadequate sleep.

Theories Explaining the ADHD-Sleep Link

Biological Roots of Sleep Problems

Sleep involves neurotransmitters also implicated in ADHD. GABA, for example, is a neurotransmitter responsible for inhibition. Individuals with ADHD typically have less available GABA, which can make surrendering to sleep difficult. Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), a circadian rhythm abnormality, is also common among many people with ADHD. Delay in melatonin onset, a hormone associated with sleep, is another issue seen in people with ADHD.

Behavioral Roots of Sleep Problems

ADHD symptoms can conspire all day long to create less-than-optimal environments for sleep later in the evening. Many people with ADHD, however, prefer staying up late because that’s when they focus best. Stimulant medications can also inhibit sleep for some.

Genetic Roots of Sleep Problems

Many adults with ADHD exhibit a gene called catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), which suppresses an enzyme that metabolizes dopamine. This makes it harder for the body to regulate sleep.

[Related Reading: Your ADHD Brain Needs More Sleep — How to Get It]

How to Fall Asleep with ADHD: Steps and Solutions

Assess Current Sleep Habits

Begin by faithfully keeping a sleep diary that tracks:

  • Actual hours slept each night, including times (and not just time spent in bed trying to sleep). The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults, 8 to 10 hours for teens, and 9 to 11 hours for 6 to 13 year olds. The more sleep that is done when the sun is down, the better.
  • Weekday and weekend sleeping hours. There shouldn’t be too much variation between the two.
  • Sleep locations (bed, couch, etc.)
  • Environment (T.V. on or off? music playing?)
  • Awakenings/nightmares
  • Naps during the day
  • If and how sleep habits affect others in the household

Consider signing up for a sleep study, a test that studies brain waves, oxygen levels in the blood, breathing, and more to see if any sleep disorders are present. If diagnosed with sleep apnea, a CPAP machine helps with breathing.

Anatomical issues, like a deviated septum, can also lend themselves to obstructed breathing and other sleeping problems. A septoplasty and other procedures can correct the issue.

Medication and Supplements to Aid Sleep

  • Stimulants: Studies show that the use of stimulants for treating ADHD can help with sleep by targeting ADHD symptoms that often trigger sleep problems. Depending on the individual, the time the dose is taken can sometimes impact sleep (if taken too late, for example).
  • Melatonin: This hormone is naturally produced in the brain and helps signal to the brain that it’s sleep time. Talk to your doctor about melatonin and whether taking a supplement may be appropriate and helpful.

Sleep Hygiene and Best Practices for ADHD Brains

  • To nap, or not to nap? For some, power naps throughout the day are a must for feeling energized and refreshed. For others, it may mess with sleep later in the evening. Experiment with naps, and note it in the sleep diary.
  • 20-minute rule: If you’re trying to change your sleep time, do it in 20-minute intervals to avoid jarring the brain. For example, if 2 a.m. is your current bedtime and your goal is to be asleep by 11 p.m., aim to sleep at 1:40 a.m. the first night, 1:20 a.m. the next, etc.
  • Relaxation exercises/deep breathing can calm and prep the body and mind for sleep.
  • Unplug from technology. Have an end time to put away your phone, turn off TV shows, or stop playing video games. The light from devices can throw off your sleep cycle.
  • External cues: A warm bath, light music (or a sound machine), dim lights, and changing into pajamas can help shift the mind and body closer to sleep mode. Make sure to have daytime cues as well (bright lights, a cool shower, food, etc.)
  • Climate control: Having a cool room offset by a warm, cozy bed grounds the body and makes you more inclined to stay in bed.
  • Dark room. Use eye masks, close curtains, and make sure to dim lights from clocks and other electronic devices.
  • Don’t stay awake in bed too long. If it takes longer than a half hour to fall asleep, it’s better to get out of bed but engage in a non-stimulating activity or (and this sounds strange) just stand up by the bed until sleepiness sets in.
  • No snoozing. You’re cheating yourself out of deep, restorative sleep by hitting the snooze button. Keep the alarm out of arm’s length so you have to get out of bed to shut it off.

How to Fall Asleep with ADHD: Next Steps

  • Download: Mobile Apps for Better Sleep
  • Read: Bedtime Rituals to Calm Racing Minds and Fall Asleep Faster
  • Blog: “This Simple Sleep Formula Calms My Racing ADHD Brain”

The content for this article was derived from the ADDitude Expert Webinar “Time for Bed! Sleep Solutions for the ADHD Brain” webinar (ADDitude ADHD Experts Podcast episode #262) with Roberto Olivardia, Ph. D., which was broadcast live on September 25, 2019. Dr. Olivardia is a member of ADDitude’s ADHD Medical Review Panel.

Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.

View Article Sources

1 Gruber, R., Xi, T., Frenette, S., Robert, M., Vannasinh, P., & Carrier, J. (2009). Sleep disturbances in prepubertal children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a home polysomnography study. Sleep, 32(3), 343–350.

2 Lee, S. H., Kim, H. B., & Lee, K. W. (2019). Association between sleep duration and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies✰. Journal of affective disorders, 256, 62–69. 2019.05.071<

3 Srifuenfung, M., Bussaratid, S. et. al. (2020) Restless legs syndrome in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: prevalence, mimic conditions, risk factors, and association with functional impairment. Sleep Medicine (73) 117-124.

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Chronic insomnia: why we can't sleep

Image copyright, Getty Images mental health.

How to identify the problem

Insomnia is associated with unsuccessful attempts to sleep, frequent awakenings in the middle of the night or at dawn, followed by the inability to return to sleep. nine0005

In 2015, Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall turned down a role in a production at London's Royal Court Theatre, due to chronic insomnia, which she compared to a three-ton gorilla.

"I'm losing the ability to think clearly... I can't grab hold of ideas, thoughts, even tasks," she wrote in her diary.

Image caption,

Kim Cattrall documented her struggle with chronic insomnia in her diary

According to a survey of 2,000 Britons published by Britain's Royal Society of Public Health, the UK averages 6.8 hours of sleep per night. And on average, they need about 30 minutes to fall asleep. nine0005

The UK National Health Service advises adults to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night - although, as ridiculous as it sounds, world leaders such as Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Donald Trump are among those who claim they have enough and four hours of sleep at night.

Stress, illness, jet lag, or life changes - like changing jobs or having a baby - can cause short-term insomnia. It usually goes away in one to two months.

We are all familiar with these tips for a better night's sleep:

  • Keep a sleep schedule;
  • Avoid late evening meals, alcohol or caffeine;
  • Do not use gadgets before bed;
  • Try to relax and calm down before going to bed and sleep in a cool, dark room.

When to seek help

So what's the difference between just bad, restless sleep and insomnia?

"It's normal for everyone to have sleep disturbance from time to time," says Dr Anna Whitehall, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Leeds. and leads to the inability to perform work. nine0005

According to the National Health Service, the signs of chronic insomnia are:

  • If normal sleep changes don't help;
  • Sleep problems persisted for several months;
  • Lack of proper sleep affects and complicates your life.

According to independent sleep expert Dr. Neil Stanley, people rarely try to overcome sleep problems. Although they may indicate stress or other - more serious - health problems. nine0005

  • How long can you go without sleep?
  • How Lack of Sleep Affects Our Psyche
  • Lack of Sleep Can Cause Fights at Work

At the point, says Dr. Stanley, when natural remedies or advice on how to improve sleep no longer help, you should see a doctor.

"Insomnia that affects your life during the day is already a problem," he concludes.

Tablets or image life? nine0010

Although sleeping pills are quite common in many countries, UK doctors rarely prescribe them for insomnia due to concerns about side effects and potential addiction.

Insomnia patients are usually referred to cognitive behavioral therapists for an eight-week course to help the patient "change the thoughts and behaviors that keep them awake."

  • How to help "owls" not ruin their health? nine0034
  • Restless legs syndrome: when the night turns into torture

Pass the podkast



Golovna Tizhnya, Yaku explain our journalism

9000 , it may be a change in lifestyle - for example, the rejection of shift work or working late.

"Many British adults have trouble sleeping due to being busy at work or at home - because if you're not in bed for 7-8 hours you won't get 7-8 hours of sleep," says Dr. Whitehall . nine0005

However, those who are "chronically sleep deprived" - that is, regularly sleep less than 5 hours - "are more likely to suffer from health problems, in particular overweight, cardiovascular disease and diabetes," the scientist notes.

"It's a fact that in our modern pace of life - longer working hours, media, internet, watching TV in bed - it's harder for people to relax and unplug. relaxing," adds Dr. Stanley. nine0005

He notes that prolonged insomnia can be very debilitating, but "for most of us, it's something we do to ourselves."

"Sleep is a mystery. And there is no magical way to help people sleep. It all depends on the person," concludes Dr. Stanley.

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Stop counting sheep: 5 popular ways that will NOT help you fall asleep

Article author Irina Zavalko

It turns out that evening reading does not always help you fall asleep, and if you count sheep, you can wake up.

Irina Zavalko Why these and other well-known methods do not work and how to replace them, tells , sleep doctor, PhD and leading expert of the insomnia help service Somly .

1. If you count sheep, you can fall asleep faster

It is believed that the method with sheep was invented a long time ago by Australian farmers. Before going to sleep, they counted their fat herds in their minds and, satisfied, fell asleep. That is, for the creators, the effect was associated not so much with the score, but with pleasant emotions.

Somnologists do not recommend this method to modern people. First, counting is an active process that requires mental effort, which means it interferes with sleep.

Secondly, even if you start to fall asleep, the count will wake you up. nine0005

The brain falls into sleep gradually: some parts of it can continue mechanical counting, while others are already asleep. Because of this, a person loses count, and the brain, detecting an error, sounds the alarm and wakes up, the somnologist explains.

It is better not to count sheep, but to imagine them: imaginary pictures help to get away from disturbing thoughts and relax.

Many people are more helped by pleasant landscapes: a seashore, a flowery meadow or a forest. To enhance the effect, try to feel yourself in this place: imagine what you see, hear and touch. nine0005

2. Fall asleep easier in a hot room

It is easiest to fall asleep in comfortable temperature conditions. Western experts believe that a suitable temperature is 18-22 degrees. But for the Russians, it may be too cool.

If you can, experiment with a combination of air temperature, the warmth of a blanket and sleepwear, the expert advises.

For some, a cool room with an open window is more suitable, but with a warm blanket, pajamas and socks. And someone prefers +25 degrees and light clothes, - explains Irina Zavalko. nine0156

3. If you can't sleep, keep lying in bed

In fact, this is how rare sleep problems turn into chronic ones. A habit of lying in bed awake can form, and because of this, there will be a fear that every night you will have to suffer in bed. And this fear will drive away sleep.

If you can’t fall asleep, it’s better to get up and do quiet things: read, assemble a puzzle, wash the dishes. And go back to bed when drowsiness appears. Even if you fall asleep later that night, the risk of developing insomnia in the future will be lower. nine0005

4. Sleep well watching TV

It seems that you can fall asleep to the sound of the TV, as if listening to a fairy tale in childhood. But in reality, this is a bad idea.

In addition to the glow of the screen, a sharp change in the plot and pictures with which films and programs try to hook the viewer interfere. This is quite a big load on the brain, it does not allow you to relax. And from watching the news in general, anxiety can arise, the doctor notes.

If measured speech puts you to sleep, choose a calm audiobook, an educational podcast, or relaxing music. nine0005

5. Before going to bed it is good to read a book

This technique does not work if you are reading an e-book from a smartphone, tablet or laptop. The blue light that gadget screens emit reduces the production of melatonin: this hormone tells the body that night has come and it's time to sleep.

For evening reading, choose a paper book or gadgets with liquid ink. They are equipped with an E-Ink display that mimics a paper page.

Remember that there is no universal way to fall asleep. You need to find the one that relaxes you and make it your evening habit.

Falling asleep quickly and getting good sleep isn't just something you do just before bed. You also need to adjust your internal rhythms and prepare the body for falling asleep, - adds Irina Zavalko.
Learn more