Archives for March 2016

Why Can’t I Get to Sleep? Then Struggle to Wake Up in the Morning?

SleepAs someone living with ADHD, there are probably a lot of things about your sleep that doesnt seem logical. When you dig a little deeper though, and understand how ADHD affects sleep, it can start to make sense. Plus then, you are in a great place to start resolving your sleep issues.

Last week, we talked about the 4 common ADHD sleep issues.

1.     Making yourself go to bed

2.     Falling asleep

3.     Staying asleep

4.     Waking up

 While some people only have 1 of those issues, many people have 2 or 3. There are some common combinations, including:

2. Falling asleep and 4. Waking up.

People who have this combination are often puzzled and wonder, ‘If I was so tired that I couldn’t wake up, why couldn’t I  fall asleep?

Great question!

Here are 3 common reasons why people with ADHD cant fall asleep:

1.     Sleep hormones are typically released at a later time in the ADHD body compared to the nonADHD population; which is why it is hard for you to fall asleep before 2am or 3am.

 2.     Your ADHD brain goes on overdrive the minute your head hits the pillow. You start thinking +++ about the past, the future and all your worries. This makes sleep impossible.

3.     You have a negative association with sleeping in your bed. Your bed has become such a battleground for sleep, it makes it difficult to fall asleep there. However, if you are on a plane, train or at friends house, you can fall asleep within minutes.

 Like other humans, adults with ADHD need approximately 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Though if you are falling asleep at 3 am and need to get up at 6 am, that is only 3 hours. In just one night, you have a 4 hour sleep deficit.  Most people with ADHD are walking around chronically sleep deprived.

Our bodies are very clever though. They will make sure it gets what it needs for your long term health and well being. Eventually, your body will override mental logic such as: ‘I need to get up in 2 hours to go to work, to make sure you get the sleep you need. This type of sleep is usually very deep, and you wont hear your alarm clock.

When I was training to be a nurse, I lived in halls of residence. One of my friends there had a problem waking up. Alarm clocks couldn’t wake her and she would get into trouble for being late for class and placements at the hospital. Once, the fire alarms were set off and she slept right through themThe fire alarms were very loud, and most people were relieved to evacuate the building and be away from the sound. Yet my friend kept sleeping. When the firemen arrived,they went door to door be make sure everyone was safely outside. Much to my friends embarrassment, when she finally woke up, it was because there were 3 firemen in her room trying to wake her up.

If you have problems waking up, you probably have a collection of stories like this. They might be fun to tell at parties, but it makes daily life difficult. In fact, some people would rather not go to sleep at all, than risk sleeping through an alarm and missing an important event.

Not everyone with ADHD sleeps this soundly. Some ADHDers are very light sleepers, and will wake up frequently throughout the night regardless of how tired they are.

Even though ADHD does make falling asleep difficult, don’t despair! There are actions you can take to fall asleep earlier and quicker each night. Then, because you are getting more sleep each night, it will be easier to wake up in the mornings.

Getting to sleep and waking up are 2 of the things we focus on in ‘Sleep Solutions’ The ADHD Sleep Course. If you could use some guidance to improve your sleep issues, come and join us!  

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Ready to organize your paper piles?…and more

Jacqui on about.comHere is a roundup of my latest 6 articles on About.com as their ADD and ADHD expert! You could read them all, or pick the ones that sound the most interesting to you. This month has a spring cleaning theme.

How to Set up your ADHD Friendly Filing System.

Setting up a filing system can feel overwhelming when you have ADHD. Here are  6 simple steps for creating an ADHD friendly filing system

Click here to read the full article.

6 Easy Steps to Organizing your ADHD Fridge.

Organizing your fridge in an ADHD friendly way helps you to eat healthy food as well as save time and money.  Here are 6 easy steps to organize your fridge.

Click here to read the full article.

Ready to organize your paper piles?

ADHD can make organizing paper challenging. Here are 4 ADHD friendly ways to get rid of your paper piles

Click here to read the full article.

6 ADHD Friendly tips to getting your home organized

Despite the positive benefits of living in an organized home, the core aspects of ADHD can make it challenging. Here are six tips for keeping things in order at home.

Click here to read the full article.

How to Tidy Your Desk in 20 Minutes or Less

Your productivity and focus increases when you have a clear desk compared to a cluttered one. Here 6 tips to have a tidy desk in 20 minutes or less.

Click here to read the full article.

How to Create an ADHD friendly Closet

7 ADHD friendly steps to having an organized closet.

Click here to read the full article.

Is It Better to Date Someone With ADHD or Without?

Last week’s article ‘ADHD and Brains That Work Slower Than Yours’ prompted a lot of followup questions, including this one:

Is it better if people with ADHD have a partner who has ADHD as well? Does dating people without ADHD makes us harder to communicate or relate to? Thanks in advance! 😉

This is a great question! And the quick answer is… it depends. Dating and having a longterm relationship is complex, and there isnt a simple answer. There are pros and cons to dating people with and without  ADHD. Here is a simplified snapshot of some of them.

When One Person Has ADHD:

Pros

You could ‘balance’ each other out. For example, the nonADHD person might offer structure and regular routines. This framework is helpful for a person with ADHD to function at their best.
The ADHD half of the couple can bring elements of spontaneity and surprises which help to keep the relation new and exciting.

Cons

NonADHD partners can feel they shoulder all the responsibility. This can lead to resentment and people feeling as though they have an extra child.

The person with ADHD can feel they are being controlled or nagged. They might also feel that they are constantly disappointing their partner.

When Both of You Have ADHD:

Pros

You have a deep understanding of each other without even needing to talk about it. You just ‘get’ each other. This can helps you feel connected. Communication might be easier because your brains work in similar ways.

Cons

Practical details of life (for example: laundry, food, bills being paid on time) might be a problem.

Even though you both have ADHD, you might be very different in other ways. For example, your energy levels or how you like to spend your time.

Of course, there are pros and cons to every type of person you could date. You might ask, is it better to date someone older or younger or with or without children, the same or different culture a friend or a stranger?

Yet, it doesnt matter how much you mull these questions over in your head; you can never predict who you will connect and fall in love with!

Ultimately, we all want to feel loved, supported, encouraged and be with someone who is kind. That can come from a relationship with someone with ADHD or without it. If you are wondering how to recognize that, asks these questions about your date.


We are looking for 
lot of YESes to these questions.

·         Does you date love you just the way you are now?

·         Are they flexible?

·         Do you feel happy and grounded when you are with them and when you are apart?

·         Do they offer their support and encourage you to grow and change, or do they try to limit your personal growth?

·         Can you be yourself and let your guard down when you are with them?

·         If you share a problem, do you feel supported even if there isnt a solution right away?

·         Do your family and friends notice that you seem much happier since they have been in your life?

We are looking for ‘nos to these questions.

·         Is your date very rigid in what they want a relationship to look like?

·         Do he / she put you down? If they say it as a joke, that still counts.

·         Do you feel hurt, undervalued, or less than appreciated after spending time with them?

·         Do you feel if they knew the ‘real’ you, they wont love you?

·         If you share a problem with them, do they turn it around and make it your fault?

·         Do you feel they will stop loving you if you dont please them?

·         Are they always trying to get you to do things you dont want to and disregard you when say you dont want to do it? 

·         Do you spend a lot of time talking to your friends and family about the problems in your relationship?

Does your partner have ADHD?

 

 

ADHD and Brains That Work Slower Than Yours

glacier-382486_640I got this great question from a blog reader…

Can you write a post about why people with ADHD become super frustrated because people move and think at glacial speed when we can see the problems and solutions easily?

Most people with ADHD (Inattentive subtype and hyperactive subtype) find their brains work faster than people who dont have ADHD. Your nonlinear way of thinking means you can problem solve, catch on to new ideas and have high speed conversations in a way that nonADHDers just cant.

This can be a blessing and a curse.

If you are having a conversation with someone else like you, it can be an exhilarating experience.  However, because most of the worlds brains don’t work like yours, you can end up feeling restless, impatient and bored.

To make matters worse, many things do take you longer to do. So it seems very unfair when you do have something you can do fast, though it cant be fully utilized and appreciated.

Have either of these ever happened to you?

At a staff meeting, a problem is identified. You come up with a solution in minutes. People keep talking and after 30 minutes, they come up with the same idea that you did.

At party, a person seems to be taking forever to explain something. It is agony for you because you already know exactly what they are going to say.

You know if you try to rush someone, or finish their sentence, they think you are rude. Nevertheless, it is hard for you because while you are waiting for them, you are frustrated and bored.

Here are some suggestions:

1.     Your Friends

It is physically and mentally draining to always have to practice patience and restraint. Find other quickthinking people to spend time with. You can be yourself, talk quickly, jump from topic to topic and not have to explain anythingthey just get you. They might have ADHD too!

2.     Your Career

Pick a career that works with your strengths. If you find it frustrating talking to people, a customer service role might not be a good option. If your boss gets annoyed with your constant suggestions of how to improve the workplace, become a consultant. Consultants get paid to solve problems. Its a winwin!

3.     Your Leisure Time

In your leisure time, take part in activities where your strengths will be celebrated. Join a debate team, go to open an open mike night at a comedy club and find an improvisational theatre club. These will allow you to use your skills and express yourself. Your confidence and selfesteem will grow and you will be have lot of fun. The opposite happens when you hide parts of yourself. You feel ashamed, depressed and your confidence shrinks.

4.     Develop Strategies

Now that you have made changes to your environment, there will still be times when you are in a situation where people seem to be talking or thinking very slowly.

Here are some tips:

·         Practice meditation, it helps you to focus on the moment.

·         Treat your ADHD. It helps reduce feeling impatient and frustrated.

·         If you do interrupt, simply say sorry.

5.     Reframe

Remember different brains work in different ways. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. It is much easier to be patient and appreciate other people’s strengths when yours are being appreciated. Which is why it is important to implement suggestions 1,2 and 3.

People with linear brains, need to go step by logical step until they get to the solution that you could leap to. Remind yourself that they arenbeing purposely slow to annoy you.