The truth about attention-deficit meds and insomnia
People with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) have a harder time falling asleep — in part, says Dr. Russell Ramsay, of the University of Pennsylvania’s Adult ADHD Treatment and Research Program, because our minds won’t stop working. “There’s a delayed sleep phase onset,” he explains, a self-regulation problem that keeps people with ADHD from “recognizing the cues for sleep [and] being able to turn those into habits.” Our circadian rhythms get thrown off by little things, like eating later, and we also have a harder time avoiding late-night technology distractions that keep us from going to bed.
The problem’s so bad that ADHDers are actually 2.7 times more likely to suffer high-level insomnia than those without the disorder, per Cankaya University research released this January. Eighty percent of ADHD adults have sleep issues, per a study from The Hague, with 43 percent calling their insomnia “significant,” compared to less than 10 percent of the general population. Forty-one percent of ADHDers don’t ever get more than six hours sleep a night.