How ADHD affects sleep — and what you can do to help

By Laura Tagliareni, PhD

Lack of sleep is a common problem among people with ADHD. The causes of sleep issues in people with ADHD aren’t fully understood yet. But the relationship between ADHD and poor sleep is clear. Many kids and adults with ADHD have trouble:

  • Falling asleep: Winding down at night can be a big challenge for people with ADHD. They often struggle to “stop thinking” when trying to get to sleep.
  • Staying asleep: Kids with ADHD are more prone to nightmares, bedwetting, and sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome.
  • Waking up in the morning: Staying up late makes it harder to wake up in the morning. This can be a tough habit to break, especially among people with ADHD who feel more productive at night. 

All of these challenges can create problems during the day. People who haven’t gotten enough sleep often have trouble getting started in the morning and staying alert all day. And that often leads to irritability and more inattentiveness. 

Explore ways to help create a healthy sleep cycle and prevent overtiredness. 

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    About the author

    About the author

    Laura Tagliareni, PhD is a pediatric neuropsychologist in New York City and a clinical instructor at NYU Langone Medical Center.