ADHD and Issues with Sleep in Adults

ADHD and Insomnia

It was formerly believed that children were the only ones affected by ADHD. However, we now understand that it may persist into adulthood. In actuality, 6,76% [1*] of adult individuals worldwide suffer with symptomatic ADHD. Adults with ADHD may exhibit well-known symptoms like impulsivity or inattentiveness in addition to difficulty sleeping.

Research [2*] points to a complex relationship between ADHD and sleep issues, raising concerns about the precise ways in which ADHD may impact sleep. And why do people with ADHD get agitated at night? Let’s investigate these worries, looking at the connections between ADHD and oversleeping, sleep deprivation, sleep talking, trouble falling asleep, and other associated problems.

What Links Insomnia and ADHD?

Research indicates that between 25 and 50 percent [3*] of people with ADHD suffer from a sleep disturbance, with sleeplessness being the most common. The substantial comorbidity between the two illnesses might be attributed to same neural pathways. Treatment for ADHD may also be associated with insomnia, such as timing of drug delivery errors.

What Links Insomnia and ADHD

For example, both ADHD and insomnia are linked to dopamine dysregulation, a neurotransmitter important in controlling sleep-wake cycles and attention. Insomnia may also be a result of ADHD symptoms, which can cause restlessness or overactive thoughts that make it difficult to fall asleep. On the other hand, since sleeplessness affects cognitive abilities including impulse control and concentration, it might worsen symptoms of ADHD.

Are You Affected by a Sleep Disorder or ADHD?

It is evident that sleep disturbances and ADHD have many of the same symptoms. For instance, weariness, mood swings, and trouble concentrating. This overlap may make diagnosis more difficult. The setting in which these symptoms manifest, however, is a crucial differentiating feature. Regardless of the quality of sleep, the persistent and widespread symptoms of ADHD, such as inattentiveness or restlessness, affect many aspects of life. When sleep quantity or quality is restored, symptoms of mood disorders and cognitive impairments improve. These symptoms are typically associated with inadequate sleep.

Furthermore, while the underlying causes of ADD and sleep difficulties are different, both conditions may interfere with sleep. It might be challenging to unwind and get asleep if you have ADHD because of the restlessness or racing thoughts that are linked to the disorder. On the other hand, physiological anomalies such as respiratory difficulties, restless legs syndrome, or problems with the sleep-wake cycle are usually the cause of sleep disorders.

Seeking the advice of a healthcare provider is essential when attempting to diagnose yourself with ADHD, a sleep condition, or both. Obtaining a comprehensive medical, psychological, and sleep history is a necessary step in a full examination. A sleep study or cognitive testing may be used to augment it. A thorough understanding of your symptoms may help you develop a customized treatment plan that may include medication, behavioral therapies, or both.

How Do Sleep Issues Caused by ADHD Impact Daily Life?

Sleep issues associated with ADHD have a major impact on day-to-day functioning, and chronic sleep loss exacerbates symptoms such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. These may lead to difficulties focusing, staying organized, and finishing tasks in daily situations. Inadequate sleep may also result in emotional instability, which can elevate stress levels, induce mood swings, and make people tired. Consequently, relationships, productivity at work, academic achievement, and general well-being may all be significantly impacted by ADHD and sleep problems.

How Does Insomnia Affect ADHD?

Is sleeplessness a result of ADHD? Yes, the occurrence of sleeplessness in individuals with ADHD is influenced by a number of interrelated factors:

ADHD and Sleep Problems Associated

The influence of sleep disruptions on overall quality of life and the exacerbation of symptoms of ADHD are becoming more acknowledged. Let’s explore some particular sleep problems associated with ADHD, such as ADHD and nightmares, ADHD and sleep deprivation, ADHD and sleep talking, excessive sleeping, and ADHD difficulty falling asleep.

Lack of sleep

The symptoms of temporal lobe attention deficit disorder (ADD) might include aggressive behavior, behavioral disorders, and difficulties with learning and remembering. These people might have trouble reading and adhering to instructions.

Age or gender is not a factor in temporal lobe ADD; it may impact both sexes at different age ranges.


Hypersomnia, or sleeping too much, is another problem that may affect people with ADHD. Some people may have longer sleep durations or excessive daytime drowsiness, which may appear contradictory given the frequent sleep problems linked to ADHD. This may be because people with ADHD often have low quality sleep, which leads to persistent weariness. Oversleeping may also result from some ADHD drugs.

Sleep Disorders of the Circadian Rhythm

A disturbed circadian rhythm is common in people with ADHD, which may result in conditions like delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS). This illness shows itself as a persistent pattern of late bedtimes and late wake-up hours. This tendency might be a factor in the prevalent problem of ADHD oversleeping or in sleep deprivation associated to ADHD. ADHD symptoms might worsen and daily routines can be disrupted by excessive sleep.

Apnea during Sleep

One such disorder connected to ADHD is sleep apnea. Endocrine abnormalities, obesity, and big tonsils are prominent risk factors for it. The hallmark of sleep apnea is recurrent breathing pauses throughout the night, which cause sleep disturbances and weariness during the day. These in turn exacerbate hyperactivity and have an additional impact on attention span. Consult your healthcare practitioner if you have concerns about sleep apnea, since it may be linked to other disorders including cardiovascular problems [4*].

RLS, or restless legs syndrome

RLS is a neurological disorder that results in uncomfortable leg feelings and a strong desire to move the legs. Those with ADHD are more likely than the average population to experience this, which may interfere with sleep.

Breathing Disordered by Sleep

In addition to sleep apnea, people with ADHD may also have hypoventilation or other types of sleep-disordered breathing. These disorders worsen the symptoms of ADHD throughout the day and lead to poor quality sleep.


Narcolepsy, which is less prevalent but is marked by abrupt episodes of sleep and extreme daytime drowsiness, has been linked to ADHD. A imbalance of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which is central to both illnesses, is regarded to be the common denominator.

Talking While Sleeping

A sleep condition known as somniloquy, or sleep talking, causes a person to speak while they are asleep without realizing it. Although sleep talking may happen to anybody, research [5*] indicates that those with ADHD may experience it more often. Although the exact cause of this linkage is unknown, it may have something to do with the general restless and disrupted sleep that is often linked to ADHD.


Nightmares are characterized as very unsettling dreams that often wake the person up. People with ADHD have reported [6*] experiencing nightmares more frequently. Numerous things, such as anxiousness, trouble regulating emotions, or specific ADHD drugs, might be to blame for this. The total amount and quality of sleep might be further complicated by nightmares, which can cause insomnia, sleep avoidance, and anxiety of falling asleep.

How Can Someone with ADHD Manage Their Sleep Issues?

You may use a variety of techniques to raise the quality of your slumber. Here are some tips for managing sleeplessness if you have ADHD:

In summary

Treatment strategies for ADHD and related sleep problems, such insomnia, must be customized due to their complexity. Each person will experience symptoms, consequences, and suitable coping techniques differently. Just as a medicine such as Adderall has to be customized to meet the specific requirements of each patient, so too should sleep issues in persons with ADHD be managed accordingly.

Does caffeine help ADHD?

As a stimulant, caffeine may have effects similar to those of prescription ADHD drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. Caffeine has been shown by some to aid improve attention and concentration, which may help with ADHD symptoms. But reactions differ from person to person, and caffeine may also lead to anxiety, elevated heart rate, and disturbed sleep. Therefore, it is not advised to use it as the main therapy for ADHD. A healthcare professional should always be consulted before beginning a new treatment plan.

Do people with ADHD need less sleep?

No, sleep deprivation is not a natural necessity for those with ADHD. But they typically have sleep disruptions, such as trouble going asleep, restless sleep, and frequent nighttime awakenings, which creates misunderstandings about how much sleep they really require. In fact, everyone—including those with ADHD—needs enough good sleep to maintain general health, cognitive function, and emotional control.

What is ADHD task paralysis?

ADHD may affect sleep in a big way in a lot of different ways. Due to their drug side effects or delayed sleep phase disorder, people with ADHD often have trouble falling asleep. They could also have trouble falling asleep, waking up often throughout the night, and having trouble waking up in the morning. This often results in excessive daytime drowsiness, which may make symptoms of ADHD worse.

Why is it so hard to wake up with ADHD?

People with ADHD often struggle to get up because they have problems with their sleep-wake cycle. A common condition among ADHD sufferers is delayed sleep-phase disorder, which causes them to naturally go to sleep and wake up later than usual. Furthermore, poor sleep quality makes it more difficult to get up and begin the day because of restless sleep and numerous night awakenings that are prevalent in people with ADHD.

Does ADHD cause a delayed sleep phase?

Yes, delayed sleep-phase dysfunction is a common condition among people with ADHD. This indicates that individuals often sleep later and wake up later than what is regarded as “normal.” Although there is a link, it’s crucial to keep in mind that not everyone with delayed sleep-phase disorder also has ADHD, nor does everyone with ADHD have delayed sleep-phase disorder.

Will ADHD medication help with sleep?

Because they have an alerting impact, ADHD medications—especially stimulants—can actually make it more difficult for certain people to fall asleep. On the other hand, some individuals may experience an indirect improvement in sleep due to reduced anxiety and the ability to establish better nighttime habits when these drugs are used to successfully treat ADHD symptoms. Finding the ideal balance between ADHD medication and sleep is a complicated and unique interaction that requires close collaboration with a healthcare professional.

Why do ADHD people struggle to sleep?

They could naturally fall asleep and wake up later due to a delayed sleep-phase condition. Additionally, it may be challenging to unwind and go asleep if you have typical ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity and restlessness. Lastly, a few drugs used to treat ADHD symptoms may exacerbate sleep issues.