For parents who have hyper-energetic children, it’s a struggle to get them to fall asleep and stay asleep. In this quick tip episode, we give some strategies for quieting a racing mind. Pediatricians have found these tips particularly helpful in getting children with ADHD to sleep soundly.
Table of contents
Consistent bedtime routine
First, it’s important to follow a consistent bedtime routine. As with any routine, you must practice it every day for it to become a habit. As much as possible, bedtime should be at the same time every night. This includes the bedtime routine about an hour before bedtime. A bedtime routine could include a bath, story or reading time, quiet play, drawing, making a cup of warm milk, or anything that helps your child wind down. When it comes to planning a bedtime routine, anticipate procrastination. Add extra time before bedtime if needed.
Set up the bedroom to promote sleep
If possible, your child should also sleep in their own room. Parents should also make sure their child’s bedroom is set up to promote sleep. An important point is that your child shouldn’t have a tv in their bedroom. This advice applies to other screens as well, including limiting phone and tablet use before bed.
It’s also beneficial to turn down the lights or switch to a dimmer lamp light around 30 minutes before bedtime. These changes in environment and lighting help the brain realize it’s time for sleeping.
Another tip for setting the environment is to minimize noise coming from outside of your child’s room. Noise coming from the rest of the home, like TV, music, or loud talking coming from another room, will distract your child from sleeping. Another outside factor is temperature, so try to keep your child’s bedroom a little cooler at bedtime.
Avoid stimulating activities
Pediatricians advise children, and even adults, to avoid stimulating activities like video games, playing, and TV during the last half hour before bedtime. According to pediatrician Dr. Richard Steinberg, many children, and particularly children with ADHD have a harder time slowing down their brain enough to fall asleep. The key is to distract your child from all the interesting thoughts that threaten to keep them awake. You want them to quiet their mind. Some helpful options to do so for younger and older children could include: listening to a short audiobook, listening to calm music, or turning on a white noise machine during their bedtime routine.
If these strategies don’t fully work for your child, talk to your doctor about other options to aid sleep like melatonin, a low dose of caffeine, or lowering the doses of any medications such as ADHD medication.
Steinberg, R. (2022, January 26). “‘I can’t sleep!’ bedtime basics for buzzing ADHD brains”. ADDitude. Retrieved February 1, 2022, from https://www.additudemag.com/how-to-get-kids-to-sleep-adhd/