Sleep interventions and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Insufficient evidence – there either hasn’t been any research on this treatment option or there is a small amount of evidence with unclear conclusions.

Problems sleeping are common in children and young people with ADHD and some ADHD medications can affect sleep. Poor sleep can impact your ability to concentrate and function in school and affect your family life. Addressing any sleep problems should be part of an ADHD treatment plan, although interventions to improve sleep are not a specific treatment for ADHD.  

Programmes to improve sleep usually involve looking at:  

  • your bedtime routine 
  • avoiding stimulating foods, drinks and activities in the evenings which might make falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult 
  • making sure that your bedroom will help you sleep (e.g. it’s not too warm or too cold and there’s not too much light)  
  • looking at what happens when you wake up and whether this is helpful or unhelpful for your sleep problems 

If other ways to improve your sleep don’t work then your ADHD specialist might prescribe melatonin. This is a sleep hormone and can be helpful if you find it difficult to fall asleep.

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.

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