Sleep: A How To Guide

Introduction

Sleep is important in many ways.  It gives us rest, helps our memory, and clears our minds.  But it also affects our behavior!  Researchers have found that REGULAR SLEEP can affect behaviors that are related to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), conduct problems, and withdrawal.  Not only that, but changing to a regular sleep schedule can improve behavior as well.

Because of this, we recommend that our patients change to a regular bedtime routine in order to set the stage for positive behavior changes.

Healthy Sleep Tips

The following tips are provided on the Nation Sleep Foundation web site.

  1. Stick to the same bedtime and wake time, even on the weekends.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
  3. Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  4. Exercise daily.
  5. Design your sleep environment: Cool, Quiet, Dark, Comfortable, and Free from interruptions.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  7. Avoid bright light in the evening.  Expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.
  8. Avoid heavy meals in the evening.  Adults, avoid alcohol and cigarettes.
  9. Have time to wind down.  Have calming activities during the last hour before bed.
  10. If you can’t sleep, go to another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.

www.sleepfoundation.org

Key Points

  • Don’t expect it to work overnight, pun intended.  Establishing a regular sleep pattern is one part of the change process that will affect mood and behavior.  We hope things will improve quickly, but please continue to practice these changes as a regularly as possible.
  • Light and dark are extremely important.  Sunlight is your best source of light to help regulate and reset your “body clock.”
  • At night, it is particularly important to avoid bright artificial light.  Computer screens, tablets, and phones included.  Light at night interrupts the natural production of melatonin which helps our bodies prepare for sleep.