Updated: Oct 18, 2021
My heart jumped into my chest when I found my daughter’s room dark and empty. As I do every morning, I woke up in time to make sure she was up and getting ready for school. But the house was empty, quiet and dark and she wasn’t where she should have been. I crept quietly downstairs and found her fast asleep on the living room couch. The poor child had had a rough night again. I gently woke her and she went about getting ready for her day, assuring me a change of scenery was all she had needed to get back to sleep. I was relieved because she had used some strategies we’ve worked on to help her get back to sleep without needing to wake me.
One of the most challenging effects of the classic ADHD racing mind is insomnia. Some ADHD medications can even intensify sleep problems. Psalm 127:2 says that God gives sleep to those he loves. So how can this be? Doesn’t he love those with ADHD? Of course he does! But the key to understanding this promise lies in verse 1 and the first part of verse 2, which say,
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
See, the ADHD mind is often a restless, anxious mind and the key to getting good sleep - and helping your kids get good sleep - is to calm the mind, resting in His promises to take care of you. Here are some strategies to help you and your kids get the sleep God promises:
Institute a regular bedtime and bedtime routine - (See this post for a free printable routine) When your body thinks it’s time to go to sleep, it begins producing melatonin which makes you sleepy. A regular routine and bedtime trigger the brain to begin releasing melatonin.
Turn off electronics 1-2 hours before bedtime. The blue light that is produced by electronic screens interferes with the brain’s production of melatonin for up to two hours after exposure.
Supplements, teas, and over the counter melatonin - Taken 1-2 hours before bedtime may help the brain produce a feeling of sleepiness.
Calming sensations - Calm all five senses - touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight - with soothing sensations. Soft, warm jammies, lavender and bergamot oils, fruit flavored toothpaste, gentle music and low light are just a few ideas, especially for sensory seeking kids.
Stretching - Loosen tense muscles with some slow stretching or Christian yoga
Turn on a sound machine or soft calming music - This will help block out distracting sounds that alert the brain, disrupting sleep. Slow, instrumental music or nature sounds are the most effective.
Emotional regulation - Activities like lectio divina, hymn singing, prayer journaling, or reading devotionals can help calm the mind and center thoughts on God for 15-30 minutes before bed.
Bible-Feedback - Bio-feedback is a relaxation technique that helps people fall asleep. It incorporates deep breathing, meditation, visualization and muscle relaxation. I like to take it to the next level by using Scripture meditation to help me and my kids fall asleep resting in God’s Word. Stay tuned to the Facebook Group (here’s the link if you haven’t joined yet) for a sample, and here's a free downloadable script.
Take your focus off yourself - If sleep is still hard coming, try praying through one attribute of God for each letter of the alphabet, praising Him for each aspect of his character as you go, or thanking God for everything you can think of to be thankful for. Another idea is to pray for every person you can think of who needs your prayers.
I hope these strategies help you take hold of God’s promise for sleep. Don’t forget to join the Facebook Group and share your goals, wins, and even struggles. I’m praying for you and your family!
The content found on Flourishing Family Coaching’s website and blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding ADHD, anxiety, depression or any other medical conditions. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.