75 percent of adults with ADHD have problems with sleep. Getting to sleep, staying asleep and waking up are the most common issues. Another type of sleep problem is falling asleep during the daytime at unusual times. For example, in class, meetings or while driving. The people who experience this usually have inattentive ADHD.
This daytime sleepiness is interesting because it is triggered by the environment. If the environment is mentally stimulating and interesting, paying attention and staying awake is not a problem. However, if the setting is dull, then staying alert becomes impossible and the person falls asleep. It doesn’t matter how important the event is. VIPs could be at the meeting, or the class could be vital to getting a good grade, but if the content is boring, sleep takes over. However, if something exciting happens or if it’s possible to get up and move, then the sleepiness goes away.
Because physical movement stops the sleepiness, some people look to be hyperactive, but it really is a behavioural strategy they developed to stop themselves from falling asleep.
If the person had a disrupted nights’ sleep, then daytime sleepiness would be expected. But this group of people experience daytime sleepiness even after getting ample sleep at night time. An extreme form of struggling to stay alert is narcolepsy. It is possible to have ADHD and narcolepsy. However, the type of daytime sleepiness that these ADHDers have isn’t as severe as narcolepsy.
If you have an on-going problem staying awake during your day-to-day activities, here are some suggestions.
Rule out other options
Treat your ADHD
3. If 1 and 2 comes back clear, then treating your ADHD is your next action step. Adults with ADHD and alertness problems find ADHD meds very helpful. Work closely with your prescribing doctor and find the therapeutic dose for you.
4. If you are taking ADHD meds, be sure that they are in full effect when you are driving in your car.
Make your environment stimulating
Here are a few examples
5. If you are doing a dull household task, use your timer to keep you moving as much as possible.
6. You might not be able to get out of a boring meeting, but you can liven it up for yourself by offering to take notes on the white board for everyone, or be one of the presenters.
7. Change activities frequently.