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Tips for Better Sleep as a Mom with ADHD

woman sleeping with eye mask

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Do you struggle with getting good sleep?

Sleep is so important to how our brains function but it's also so hard as a mom to get predictable sleep.

Of course, there are those barriers to getting good sleep that are hard for us to control.

  • Little people getting up in the night and needing x, y and z from us.
  • Little people getting in our bed and kicking the snot out of us!
  • Hormonal changes that impact the quality of our sleep.
  • Changes to our medicine which impact our sleep 

When I was in my twenties and was in the midst of changing my medicine, my sleep was terrible.

I stayed awake all night obsessing over small details of my life trying to stay on top of the most basic things. I couldn't turn my brain off and finding the right medicine really helped me work through that.

If that's you, I encourage you to talk to your therapist and your doctor about what is going on because this too might be out of your control.

For me, sleep hugely impacts my mood, my clarity of thought, my creativity, my ability to manage my emotions.

Basically, everything.

But what can I actually control to improve the quality of my sleep?

For me, I've found a few consistent habits have really helped me improve my sleep on an ongoing basis.

 I get off of screens.

I've set my screen time limits up on my phone so that I'm blocked off most apps 2 hours before I want to go to bed. I try to be asleep by 10 pm so I try and be off my phone by 8 pm. My phone automatically goes in to night time mode which is my reminder that I need to get off my phone. 

 I got an old school alarm clock.

I plug my phone in to charge in our office so it's not in my room. I have an old fashioned alarm clock next to my best which I use for getting up. 

 I take a bath.

I take a warm bath with epsom salts most nights. Yes, I'm a total grandma and am a bath person.

 I stretch

I have a basic stretch and foam roller routine that I do each night to help me wind down. My body is very fidgety and my legs are restless at bedtime when I don't. I have also gotten used to using a massage gun most nights on my calves and legs. If I don't do one of those, I can't fall asleep.

 I exercise regularly.

I've built in daily exercise as part of my daily life. When I don't exercise, it's harder for me to sleep. I try and go to the gym 5 days a week and have rest days on the weekend but I try and still go for a walk or something because I have no exercise, sleep is hard for me. I'm the first to admit that I really like exercise so I get that not everyone feels that way. Find a plan for movement that works for you and that you can enjoy.

 I take supplements.

I do take a few night time supplements. I take magnesium, a probiotic, and a sleep blend with melatonin, L-theanine and GABA. I've tried so many things over the years but really, really like this sleep supplement. I like that the melatonin dose is low (5 mg) but it really helps me wind down and have a more restful night sleep without feeling wonky or knocked out.

 I read in bed.

I give myself lots of time to wind down. My brain just really needs it. I read in bed for 1-2 hours most evenings. I very occasionally watch a show with my husband or oldest son but usually I get in bed to read. I usually have 5-10 library books by my bed waiting for me so there's always something fun to read. I also don't expect myself to be productive in the evenings and usually save the dishes and any tidying for the morning. 

 I use a cpap machine.

I did get a sleep study a few years and use a breathing machine. Let me tell you... IT'S SEXY STUFF. What can I say? I'm one sexy grandma. It's the big clunky very uncool kind and I'd love something more minimal down the road but I'm really, really glad I went through all the steps to get it. I did snore but also my husband noticed irregular breathing and urged me to get a study done and I'm glad I did. I definitely don't sleep deeply when I don't have my breathing machine.

 I wear an eye mask

I started wearing an eye mask a few years ago and now can't sleep without one. It really helps shut my mind off and helps me fall asleep quickly. Here's the one that I'm currently loving.

 I got help with my hormones.

Finding a physician that listened to my struggles and took me seriously was so helpful. When they ran comprehensive tests, my progesterone was almost non-existent. I initially started taking a DHEA supplement and a progesterone cream to help and those were beneficial at first but I've ultimately found that I needed prescription progesterone and a topical estrogen gel.   

 I have significantly cut back on alcohol.

This one has definitely taken me the longest to implement as I love a glass of wine or cocktail but without a doubt drinking really impacts my sleep, mood and emotional regulation. I've noticed that if I have a glass of wine, I wake up at 3:00 AM like clockwork. It really impacts my mental capacity the next day and I'm learning that the enjoyment just isn't worth the impact that it has on me.   

 I have planned for this ongoing need.

I don't do many late night functions or evening gatherings. Honestly, my brain is just not great at night and even fun things with friends are harder for me in the evening. I've really tried to own this and embrace lunch dates or daytime plans. I have one regular weekly evening thing but I try and still be in bed by 9:30 PM. I'm often the first one to leave and everyone knows that ending on time is important to me. 

I guess more than anything, I've learned to really make sleep a priority.

Remember, I didn't incorporate all of these habits at once! But over time these have stuck.

I can say without a doubt, I've always loved sleep and I've always need a lot of it.

Even in high school and college, I went to bed at like 9:30 pm if I didn't have something fun to do.

Similarly, I've also always been a morning person. I think best and create the best in the morning. So for me, preserving that time makes sense. I'll never be at my best in the evenings so going to bed so I have more to give first thing is just a better use of my time and energy.




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