In this video, Dr. Jim, ADHD specialist and founder of FastBraiin, answers the question, “Why does my ADHD child have trouble sleeping?” The following is a basic transcript.
It seems like nearly every ADHD child is having trouble sleeping at night. And there have been a lot of good studies looking at sleep issues with kids. One of the big issues is with the family and the household environment.
How many televisions do you have running at dinnertime? Is there a time of calming and relaxation for the brain before bed? How come kids out on farms don’t seem to have this problem? They’re the same kids as those in the big cities watching TV all the time and playing on their iPad till they go to bed. And what I hear all the time from parents is, well, we calm the house down but we let them play on their iPad or computers just before bed.
What we know is that melatonin is released in our brains when the sun goes down. That’s what puts us to sleep. That’s why when it gets dark, we all go to sleep. It’s not because we all got together and voted that 10 or 11 should be our bedtime. No, it’s because melatonin is in our brain.
What happens with light? Melatonin is turned off.
What happens with an Ipad? Melatonin is turned off.
Same with the computer game, video game, television. All those bright lights are turning off our melatonin production, so the brain thinks it’s time to be up.
Screen activity also stimulates our brain. So our brain is in active mode, not rest mode.
I had one child in the office not long ago. He was seven years old. He says, Dr. Jim, my brain is going ninety miles an hour. What are we doing an hour or two before bedtime? What are we eating? The diet? Is it sugar laden? Are we getting full of carbs and almost juiced up with stuff? Red dyes for example. Do we have to have a dessert before we go to bed?
All the types of things that maybe we were raised in doing, that may not be helping us. Sleep is very very important, however, and you as a parent must understand how your child is sleeping. Teenagers with a phone in their room, they are only going to text 4-500 times a night. You heard me! 4-500 times a night.
So you think they slept well? Don’t think so.
Are they tired when they get up in the morning? You bet.
Are they going to do well in school? No, they’re not.
Phones and computers need to stay out of the bedroom.
Understand what is going on with your child. Watch their sleep and it’s very important to get professional help if you are having issues with your child sleeping.