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Parents of ADHD Children


Hello! My son has been newly diagnosed with ADHD. We have been structuring his bedtime routine more but this child will still not sleep! We have a set bedtime, have tried a reward chart and still nothing works. He refuses to sleep in his bedroom, refuses to sleep on the couch, just plain refuses to sleep at all! My husband and I have tried laying with him, reading to him, we keep the same routine night after night but nothing is helping. I’ve discussed this with his dr numerous times but have got no good feedback on what to do. Anybody have any suggestions? I have even tried ADHD support groups but they do not offer any where I live.


Have you tried melatonin?  It’s naturally produced in our bodies anyway, but often people with ADHD don’t have enough.  It helps them to fall asleep.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t help them to *stay* asleep, but I know with my son, falling asleep was the biggest battle.  We give it to him half an hour before bedtime and then try to go no screens (so reading in bed, or laying listening to a story… no TV or video games).  If we haven’t turned lights out within the half an hour, my son is telling us to because he’s feeling sleepy!

Posted by Rai0414 on Jan 30, 2014 at 12:56am

I have struggled with insomnia my entire life.  I go through time periods when I get 4 hours of sleep each night and am a zombie during the day.  Here are a few things you might try:

1) White noise.  Run a fan in his room.  Some people like to have the air blow on them, but that doesn’t work for me.  I need the fan for the background noise.  When I travel, I have a white noise app on my phone that’s a godsend.

2) Keep his room on the cool side.  A room that’s too warm is horrible for sleeping.  BUT, give him lots of blankets to snuggle up in. 

3) Does your son have sensory issues?  Some people need a weighted blanket because it helps to calm those who need more sensory feedback (Google “weighted blanket” to get an idea about what they are).

4) You might consider a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea or other issues that are preventing him from sleeping. Your Dr. would need to prescribe this.

5) Meds.  I’d be careful about how far to go with this, especially with a child.  Melatonin and valerian root are worth a try.  Benadryl knocks a lot of people out pretty well and I know LOTS of people who use it as a sleep aid when traveling.  However, it energizes about 10% of the population, myself included.  I once went 4 days without sleep when using benadryl to treat hives (eek!).  Bonine (an anti-nausea med like dramamine) is my current sleep med of choice.  It lets me sleep for 7 hours each night.  Heaven!  It’s also non-addictive and is available over the counter.  Just don’t take more than the recommended dose on the box.  I don’t know about it’s use in children, but my car sick prone brother took dramamine all the time as a child after about 6-7 years old, so it must be OK after a certain age.

Good luck!

Posted by MendelZ on Jan 30, 2014 at 1:18am

Melatonin is an amazing enzyme to help your child get to sleep.  It will not keep him asleep but it will get him to sleep.  My daughter is on 5 mgs every evening.  She woke up today at 4am and her psychiatrist, when I spoke to her, said give her another does at 4am to get her to sleep for a few hours more. 

Some kids can take 3 mgs so I would start there.  That was like water for my daughter so we’re at 5 mgs.

BTW…Benedryl, in an ADHD kid….is not a good combination. Rather than being sedating, it will keep him up.

Hope it helps!!!

Posted by TraciL on Jan 30, 2014 at 2:42am

Our Paediatric Psychiatrist also recommended Melatonin for our son.

Posted by staypositive on Jan 30, 2014 at 6:17am

Melatonin is the ticket for anyone I’ve ever met w/ADHD. Sleep problems are excessively common and can’t be helped through normal means many times. The brain needs some additional help and Melatonin provides it. I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have it. Suffer some more I suppose.

Before Melatonin my son would come out of his room all the time at night, to the sheer frustration of us both, telling me he couldn’t sleep. Crying even. After a very full day of ADHD stuff I just felt like I was going to lose it by then. He had even asked for ‘sleep medicine’ which I thought was crazy given the age, but I didn’t know about Melatonin at the time. I’m so, so relieved we do now!

3 mg an hour or so before bedtime can be a real cure-all! Hope that helps!

Posted by Havebeenthere on Jan 30, 2014 at 6:20am

Best of luck!

Posted by Havebeenthere on Jan 30, 2014 at 6:20am

Try two “Sleep Advance Gummies” given 1 hour before bedtime. Its got melatonin, chamomile, lemon balm and l-theanine.

It works well, but it may take a couple days to work.

Hope this helps.
Susan in PC, OH

Posted by SueH on Jan 30, 2014 at 6:43am

Thanks so much everyone for your help! I’m going to try the melatonin 5mg’s again and see if that helps any. We had been previously giving him 1mg but the dr said that wasnt enough. Then it seemed as though he got used to the melatonin and it didnt help as much. Poor little guy practically begs me to ask the dr for a sleep med. I feel so bad for him because it has to be frustrating not sleeping.

Posted by cberkeylpn on Jan 30, 2014 at 7:01pm

I don’t know if it will help, but our pediatrician also prescribed 0.1 mg of Clonidine to help our daughter sleep when she started stimulants.  She also takes 6 mgs of melatonin.  She is quite tall for her her age.

In addition to ADHD (combined type), she was also diagnosed with sensory issues and sees an occupational therapist to help improve her fine and large motor skills and to also help with the sensory issues.

She no longer takes stimulants.  Now she is on a nonstimulant since she was having so much trouble losing weight, sleeping, and was very emotional coming off the medication in the evening. 

So far the nonstimulant has not really affected her appetite negatively and she is sleeping much better than when she was taking the stimulant medication.

Good luck!

Posted by mjsmom73 on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:04pm

My son doesn’t sleep either.  We tried melatonin and it didn’t work for us. 
We even went to a pediatric sleep specialist who suggested that we take him to a behaviorist.  This is not a behavior problem - the child has done it from the day I brought him home from the hospital!
I have not found a solution yet that works, but I’m getting ready to try a weighted blanket and see if that doesn’t help.

Posted by Frenchy on Mar 11, 2014 at 12:31am

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