Frustrated and exhausted, I gathered up my pillows, water, and phone and headed to the guest bedroom. I’d been in bed for over two hours, but I had barely slept. The next morning brought with it a very exciting opportunity and I couldn’t wait. But I was also anxious I would miss a detail or do or say something dumb and make a fool of myself. It seemed like every time I nodded off, my anxiety would wake me up again. My usual tricks to calm my mind and body weren’t enough this time, so I tried to trick my brain by moving locations. The change of scenery did the trick and I finally was able to settle my mind and body enough to get a few hours of sleep.
We all have these nights, some of us more than others. ADHD can be a huge contributor to poor sleep. What led up to this particular sleepless night was a perfect storm of emotional, physical, and spiritual unrest. I hadn’t been taking care of my body with exercise and I’d been eating poorly. I had been going through the motions of prayer and Bible study, but hadn’t actually spent time being filled up in the presence of the Lord. And I’d taken no time for weeks to process my emotions about the events that had occurred which started the entire vicious cycle. So when this additional emotional trigger kicked my anxiety into high gear, I didn’t have the backup tools to handle it.
Do you find yourself, or your kids in this situation sometimes? Maybe frequently? Sleep is only one small aspect of rest, and getting a good night’s sleep can be directly affected by how rested we are in other aspects of our lives. That means we have to change some things in our every day lives, setting goals to create better habits. For people with ADHD, this is particularly tough because setting goals and following through on them requires high level executive functioning - just the thing that’s hardest for us.
So, if you need help with sleep, maybe you need to examine other areas of your life where you aren’t getting the rest you need. If you’ve taken Dr. Dalton-Smith’s rest quiz, you’ve identified your rest deficits. Use the results to take these two action steps this week:
Set 2-3 SMART goals. SMART is an acronym used for goal setting. There are a few variations of it, and of course I have my own. SMART for our purposes stands for:
S - Specific - What do you need to do to succeed at getting rest?
M - Measurable - How much or how frequently?
A - Accountable - Who will keep you accountable?
R - Realistic - What can you actually accomplish?
T - Time-bound - When would you like to start?
Set aside time for your goals. Setting the goals is the easy part. Actually doing them is much harder, and the biggest challenge for those of us with ADHD is sticking to them long-term. Schedule times on your calendar, whether it’s paper or digital or both (I use a digital calendar and a paper daily planner - new habits go in both places). Set reminders, alarms, or timers, or use sticky notes so that you’re thinking about these new habits.
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.