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Every person with ADHD seems to have a unique combination of ‘symptoms’ or ‘challenges’. But there is one that almost every adult seems to struggle with: Sleeplessness.
We have trouble falling asleep. We have trouble staying asleep. And when it’s time to wake up and greet the new day? Forget it!
What’s going on, and why? Dr. David Pomeroy, who has treated over 2,500 folks with ADHD, explains what we are doing, and you may be doing right now, that is making it harder for you to do what your ADHD mind is already struggling to do, namely shut itself down and fall asleep.
I tell people sleep is foundational, and I ask people when they first come in, how’s your sleep? Is it restless, do you snore? In my mind you need a sleep study, and every time they come back they rate their sleep, 1 – 10. What time do you expect to get to bed? What time do you actually get to bed? How late do you use electronics? Sometimes that’s, bedtime 11, electronics 10:59. But helping people understand how to get enough sleep, adults, of course teenagers want to stay up later and want to sleep later but they can’t because schools in there. But adults will say, I’ll say, do you have trouble getting to sleep? Do you have trouble getting to bed? And 75% of the time it’s trouble getting to bed. Because it’s quiet and they can do their projects and get into things, and then they look something up on the Internet and [whistle sound]. And it’s gone.
What do electronics do to interrupt sleep? I’ve heard there’s some real scientific evidence.
Yeah, one thing, most computer monitors and television sets emit blue wavelength light. Blue light is the signal in your brain to wake up. There are blue light receptors that have nothing to do with vision, they’re just wake up, and that’s why there’s these little blue light things you can buy to help you to in the winter and you have them around in the first half hour after you get up and it’ll help you be more awake. Well if you’re sitting in front of a laptop monitor and you’re soaking in this blue light, it says wake up wake up… okay now go to bed and go to sleep. It doesn’t work. Television it’s not so much problem as far as the blue light because you are far enough away and it falls off, logarithmically or something like that. But still television then is the stimulating, there’s adds and there’s all kinds of stuff and it’s always moving. So that jazzes the ADD brain, medication’s not on board anymore and there we go.