Archives for January 2012

Getting Your Zzzzz’s When You Have ADHD

A staggering 75% of ADHD adults are unable to quiet their minds enough so they can fall asleep. Some say they become very creative and productive when most people are heading to bed. Some report to feeling so tired they have to drag themselves through the day, but then aren’t tired at bedtime. Their mind is racing as soon as their head hits the pillow and stops sleep from arriving.

help with sleep and adhdWalking through life sleep deprived isn’t a pleasant experience; daily life is a struggle rather than joy. Sleep deprivation can result in symptoms that mirror your ADHD symptoms such as:

1. Anxiety

2. Difficulty concentrating

3. Forgetfulness

4. Hyperactivity

5. Increased distractibility

However, help is at hand and the solution is so easy every ADHD adult can try it. New research on insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep) has found that spending time in the sunlight every day aids sleep. This might sound very simplistic, but when you probe a little deeper, it makes sense.

The sun gives off a spectrum of electromagnetic radiation (sunlight). The spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that hits the earth’s atmosphere can be divided into five groups. For example, Ultraviolet A, B and C, Visible range and Infrared range. The Visible range spectrum is visible to the human eye and blue light is part of this spectrum.

Our eyes need to be exposed to blue light daily as it regulates our sleep pattern. Blue light suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin. However, if we go from one man made environment to  the next, house to car to office to car to house…our melatonin levels don’t change and our body doesn’t know when to sleep or when to be alert.

Conversely, you might be getting blue light when you don’t want it. TV and computers can give off blue light, which also keep you awake. So, it’s important not to do those activities near bedtime.

However, time during the day looking at the TV or computer doesn’t count towards your blue light time…nothing is as beneficial as the real thing…so get in the sunshine!

This week create a plan to be outdoors (without your shades) every day. Below are a few examples:

  • Go for a walk during your lunch break
  • Do your exercise outside rather than inside
  • Run errands on foot rather than driving

Then you will start to notice its benefits on your sleeping patterns.
Happy Zzzzzzz’s


How To Do The Activities You Don’t Like Doing

Recently, I heard that Jillian Michaels, former trainer for the TV show “Biggest Loser”… doesn’t like to exercise. That really surprised me; I thought TV’s toughest trainer would love exercising.

However, she likes the benefits of exercise, rather than actual exercise. This example, beautifully illustrates that sometimes we have to do actions that aren’t enjoyable, but they are essential to our well-being.

How To Do The Activities You Don't Like Doing ADHD ADDPsychologist, Dr. Ari Tuckman, identifies the difference between Product and Process activities. Process activities are actions that are done for pleasure, for example, spending time with people you love, listening to your favorite album or watching a movie. Product activities are the day to day actions that need to get done in order to function and live. Things like paying a bill on time, taking the trash out and cleaning the kitchen after supper.

Neither one is superior, both are essential to live a happy, healthy life. If your life is full of product activities you become emotional drained. If life is full of Process activities, then there are negative consequences, unpaid bills and dirty living environment etc. So balance is key.

Everyone has a different idea of if an action is a product or process activity. For example, someone who loves to cook thinks cooking an evening meal is a process activity. Yet for someone else cooking is definitely a product activity.

When you have ADHD product activities are more problematic carry out than process activities.

This is because ADHD is less issue of attention and more a motivational problem. Adults with ADHD find it hard to change from an activity they are enjoying to a different one. It is also hard for them to stay motivated and to follow through on uninteresting tasks.

What can you do to ensure you have a balance of Product and Process tasks in your life:

1) Acknowledge not all actions are fun, but they still need to be done. It sounds obvious, but it is a freeing idea. When you are next cleaning your bathroom with a sinking heart, remind yourself, this isn’t meant to be fun, but having a clean bathroom is a good thing.

2) Make product activities as enjoyable as possible. Use your timer; put music on while you are doing these activities.

3) Create habits around Product Activities so they get done as painlessly as possible.

4) Include Process activities in your life, at least one a day. Adults with ADHD tend to forget or feel they don’t deserve fun things in their life. However, when Process activities are in your life,
they give you energy so that the product activities become less hard.

ADHD and Money

Money management is very difficult for ADHD adults and this results in some rather depressing statics. For example, people with ADHD have more:

  • Bankruptcies
  • Foreclosures
  • Credit card debit
  • Periods of unemployment

help with saving money for adult addand do more:

  • Impulsive spending
  • Arguing with spouse about money

more so, than the average person.

They are also less likely to:

  • Have savings
  • Have a retirement plan

than there non ADHD peers. People with ADD also have lots of negative emotions connected to money. They feel guilty, ashamed, and embarrassed that they don’t earn as much as they would like, that they have debt, or overspend.

However, there are physical reasons why money management is hard for ADDer’s. The executive functioning of the brain is impaired when you have ADHD. Which means, detailed orientated work, emotional regulation, impulse control, organizing and time management are also impaired and don’t function like they do in non ADDers.  If we look how these executive functions effect money management, it’s clear why problems occur. For example, money management is detailed orientated, completing taxes requires organizing, and low impulse control results in over spending.

No matter what your financial situation is, don’t feel bad about it. Negative emotions, such as guilt and shame only make you feel worse. Change is possible and the best way to turn negative emotions around is to empower yourself with knowledge. The following steps will help you to that. Here are 5 tips to help you take control of you money right now, no matter what your age:

1) Take stock
Take an honest look at your financial situation right now.
It’s better to know exactly what you are dealing with rather than have general anxiety about the unknown. Dig out your bank statements, savings, credit card bills, pension statements, etc so you know exactly what your money situation is.

2) Work with Financial professionals
They are there to help you. An accountant and financial adviser are essentials, but you might benefit from a book keeper or other professionals depending on your lifestyle. Choose them carefully. Not only do they need to be good that their job, they also need to have kind, non-judgmental personalities.

3a) Online banking
Sign up for online banking. This allows you to check your balance very easily. I recommend once a day. When you monitor your account regularly you are in touch with your money and spend less without even trying.

3b)Pay your bills online.
ADDers find this is much easier than the multi-step task of opening mail, writing a cheque, finding a stamp and remembering to post the envelop in a timely fashion.

4) Create a budget
The word budget usually fills people with dread. However, rather than a bad constraining thing, a budget allows you to spend money on the things without feeling guilty; pay bills and save for the future.

The best budget tool for ADHDers”You Need a Budget” or YNAB. This is a budget tool with a difference. It will actually get you excited about budgeting. You feel empowered and it’s fun to use. Check it out.

5) Change your views about money
Money is an emotion loaded topic. Some people love it, others hate it, yet it’s merely a tool we use to exchange goods and services with. We could use cows or bread, but money is more convenient. When you take emotion out of the topic of money it is much easier to address.

Got questions? Send me an email and I will be happy to answer them!.