Sleeping naturally with ADHD
Updated: Apr 8, 2022
Many children and adults who have ADHD also have a sleep disorder—almost three out of four children and adolescents, and up to four out of five adults with ADHD (CHADD).
The most common sleep issues my ADHD clients struggle with is difficulty falling asleep, restless sleep, frequent waking and children not falling asleep in their own bed. Other sleep disorders include nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking and sleep apnea. We have specific homeopathic remedies to match each of these individual sleep issues which are safe, effective and free from side-effects. Following is feedback from one parent:
"Bedtime has vastly improved. His long, drawn out bedtimes have reduced to about a 20 minute routine. He approaches bedtime now with such confidence vs fear, he now settles and regulates his body and mind without giving him melatonin supplements and (most significantly) he has been sleeping in his own bed the entire night. Our son now sleeps until 6:45am rather than waking up before 6am. I cannot fully impress upon you just how significant and profound these changes have been not only to him, but for all of us. My husband and I have actually been getting restful and restorative sleep, truly the first time since our son was born (8 years not that I’m counting!!). Life is brighter without that haze of exhaustion weighing us down".
Individually prescribed homeopathic remedies can resolve sleeping issues in children and adults by addressing root causes such as anxiety, restlessness, restless leg syndrome, breathing disorders (sleep apnea, adenoids), hormonal imbalances etc. We don’t simply use sedative medicines to induce sleep or give anti-depressant medication to alter brain chemistry. The homeopathic approach asks why is there a problem with sleep in the first place?.
Gabor Mate, a physician specialising in childhood development and trauma believes the underlying cause of sleep disturbance in ADHD children is separation anxiety. And for ADD adults like himself who dread going to bed and turning the light off is due to an underlying fear of being alone with one’s urgent mind. Mate suggests that this is due to ‘implicit memory of finding oneself, in infancy, cut off from contact with the parent’ and how ‘the unconscious fear of reactivating that implicit memory is what leads to the adult’s aversion to lying down to sleep without any diversions’. Separation anxiety is something very easily helped with homeopathic treatment. Pulsatilla is one of the main remedies I use for separation anxiety in my practice with quick acting results.
Not getting enough sleep, or needing to sleep at times that doesn’t quite fit with school or work schedule can have debilitating long-term effects. Chronic over-tiredness can cause physical illness, behavior and mood changes. In children with ADHD it can increase hyperactivity, impulsivity, meltdowns and aggressiveness. It’s a vicious cycle.
As Mate points out ‘sleep is essential for the brain to regenerate the sensitive neurological apparatus of alertness and attention’.‘The re-programming that takes place in our dreams has a beneficial effect upon ordinary mental functioning’ too. Without a full 8-10 hours sleep at night it is impossible for our brain and entire system to function as it should.
Some parents who are caught in this chronic cycle of sleep deprivation feel they have no choice but to give medication prescribed by their doctor. As a solution it is far from ideal. It can only ever be a short-term intervention due to issues around dependency, side-effects and possible interaction with other ADHD medications.
Although sleep inducing medications are not approved for use in children it is common for doctors to prescribe the likes of benadryl (antihistamine), ambien (adult sleep medication), desyrel/ trazodone (anti-depressant) and Clonidine (high blood pressure medication) to ADHD children "off-label". The list of side-effects associated with each of these drugs is frightening.
The great thing about homeopathy is that it offers a solution that is safe, effective, gentle and free from side-effects. Homeopathy can help you or your child get the sleep you need by working with your body rather than against it.
I’ve included some common sleep symptoms and indicated remedies below to illustrate how many different remedies we have to choose from to match your individual sleep problem. It is not a one size fits all. Remedies are always prescribed according to how well they match the whole patient.
If you would like to find out more about how homeopathy can help you book your free 20 minute consultation here.
Sleep; disturbed; anxiety, from:
ACON alum am-c ambr ant-c aq-mar arg ARS bar-c BELL bov BRY calc calc-f cann-s carb-an CARB-V CAST CAUST cham CHIN COCC coff con culx-p cycl dig dulc FERR GRAPH HEP herin HYOS IGN KALI-C kreos lach lact lyc MAG-C mag-m mang MERC MERC-C nat-c NAT-M nicc NIT-AC nux-v perl petr ph-ac phel PHOS plat posit puls ran-s rat rhus-t sabin SEP SIL spong squil SULPH tab thuj verat zinc
Sleep; disturbed; midnight; after; two am. - four am.:
am-c am-m arist-cl bani-c berb helx-t KALI-C kali-fcy kali-p mag-m mand merc ph-ac phos rib-ac sulph teg-a
Sleep; disturbed; dreams, by; nightmare:
acon alum alumn ars bell bov calc calc-f cast cinnb coff-t con cycl daph gamb guai ign kali-n lac-d lach LYC mand meph mez mobil-ph NAT-C NAT-M nat-s NIT-AC op petros phyl-a puls rhus-t sec SIL SOLIN sulph ter
Sleep; disturbed; restlessness, with:
agar BAPT carb-an cina clem cocc iodof kali-n kreos lac-del lach lam laur mag-m merc nat-c nat-m nicc nit-ac petr plan puls RHUS-T sabad sabin sars sel sep sulph thuj torul trachy-a zinc-s
Gabor Mate. Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder.
Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider. First aid situations may require medical or hospital care. Do not use this article as a means to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think that your condition may be serious, before discontinuing any medication that has been prescribed for you, or before starting any new treatment.