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ADHD & Getting Out of Bed
Is there a time in my life when I regretted my decisions? This question has been running inside my head for hours now. I am now contemplating my choices last night, which resulted in me becoming unproductive today. 😭 Let me share with you what my life as a person with ADHD typically looks like.
Sometimes, I devote everything - to the last drop of my energy - procrastinating on things during the day. You see, my ADHD brain can function more when I am in a less troubling environment. Interestingly, this “less troubling environment” usually happens at night. That means I can become more productive at night with my focus lasting until midnight and even up to the wee hours of the morning. Research says that these times can be the most effective time for an ADHD brain to be active.
Here’s the thing, however: sometimes, I even do unimportant things at night! I may fall into the trap of watching viral Tik Tok dance crazes, interesting Youtube videos about other countries 👩💻, or live reels on Facebook.
For some reason, I become easily distracted during the day and find myself more active in the evening (or midnight-ish). It seems like I have an inherent difficulty in sleeping early.
But being a night owl is not exactly healthy. For one, sleep deprivation poses many health risks. Secondly, being up all night makes it hard for me to get up in the morning. Let’s learn more about ADHD & the difficulty of getting out of bed.
Alarm Clock Got Snoozed… Again
My usual morning starts with the battle between my brain 🧠 and my bed 🛏️. After consistently setting the alarm to wake up early in the morning, the next thing to do is to shoot those alarms off, allowing me to stay asleep for a few minutes more.
For me, pressing snooze and staying asleep is sometimes the best feeling in the morning. I get to extend my stay on my bed and let my sleepiness win, but of course, there are more urgent things to do than sleep.
When I realize that I need to wake up because of work and tasks that can only be done by day, all the things I did last night will flash back to my ADHD brain 😭, and I'll start to blame myself for being so hard-headed and not sleeping early. But how am I supposed to do that if my internal clock is quite messed up and I often have difficulty falling asleep?
The Culprit of the Struggle in Getting Out of Bed: Some ADHD Traits
There are many possible reasons why we tend to have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. One of the most common suspects of our struggle is, of course, staying up late the night before 😪.
Note that some ADHD traits can be the reason why we often stay up late at night. Case in point: getting easily distracted and having time-blindness may cause us to lose track of time and stay up late.
According to research, a full-grown neurotypical person needs an average of seven to nine hours of sleep to function properly the following day. This period gives us enough energy throughout the day and syncs our circadian rhythms with our bodies. However, when we spend fewer hours sleeping and use our time elsewhere, our sleep cycle becomes affected, making us more drained and less productive during the day.
When we develop the habit of staying up late and spending our nighttime on non-essential things, getting out of bed can be a real struggle 😪. This is because our brains are still in the "reward mode," and it would take time for them to adjust to the new sleep cycle. If we let this happen for days, weeks, or maybe months, the unhealthy habit will be hard to break and might result in further sleep difficulties. Moreover, long-term sleep deprivation is dangerous to one’s health. ☠️
The Struggle to Fall Asleep Due To A Hyperactive Mind (And Legs)
Being hyperactive doesn't always manifest physically on a person with ADHD. One of the most common symptoms of ADHD is having racing thoughts or overly active minds 😵. When we have a lot of things on our minds, it will be hard for us to relax and fall asleep quickly. This consequently gives us a hard time waking up the next day.
Whenever I try to sleep at night, plenty of things run inside my head. There are thoughts of uncertainties and doubts that constantly play in my head. I try to remember important things and overthink events that probably won't happen. To top it off, I often get anxious about things I should have done earlier. All these things make it hard for me to get to sleep, making it more challenging to get out of bed the next day. 🛏️
Having restless legs can also hinder me from sleeping early. Sometimes, when I work too hard during the day because of procrastination and the need to beat deadlines, I might move my legs when I'm about to sleep. This doesn't necessarily mean that I can't sleep at all, but it just makes it hard to fall asleep quickly and comfortably.
Did you know that having Restless Leg Syndrome can be a comorbid disorder for ADHD? According to research, RLS can be the effect of a lack of dopamine inside a person's brain, giving them the extreme urge to move their legs.
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Overthinking The Day Ahead
After snoozing my alarm ⏰ for the nth time, the next thing I am up against is with my ADHD brain 🧠. The struggle that prevents me from getting good sleep will be the same problem that will prevent me from getting up and doing what I need to do. This problem is overthinking.
When my alarm rings and my mind is fully awake, I already accept that I need to go on with my day. What I will do immediately after snoozing the alarm is to think of what I need to accomplish. Everything I want to deal with for that particular day will start to flood in 😵, and it will be hard for me to focus on just one thing. This is because my brain is already in "overdrive," trying to process everything that's going on, making it more difficult for me to get out of bed.
Some people with ADHD can flush themselves with thoughts that aren't necessary to be worried about. There are times that these constant thoughts make our mind clouded, resulting in us making bad decisions. Overthinking can also be the onset of having a less productive day and can eventually lead to discouragement and disappointment 😔 when you are not able to commit to your daily goals.
Ticking The To-Do List
Having difficulty waking up can be normal for a person, especially when they were all tired and exhausted the previous day. Now, some people with ADHD need more than enough sleep to function well every day because of the exhaustion they feel due to the ADHD symptoms they have to manage daily.
On top of that, after battling problems falling asleep and waking up with the sound of our alarm clocks, we need to get out of bed and do the tasks that need to be done.
And since we tend to be overthinkers by nature and want to contain every idea that we have into something that we can visualize, we try to prepare our to-do checklist for the day. We try to be specific and have the tasks scheduled by the hour. So we won't miss anything, we write them down on a list 📝. But knowing ourselves as someone with ADHD, we can get easily distracted and get sidetracked from the list we created. This may be because many people with ADHD can be easily overwhelmed with tasks involving planning, execution, and organization. Plus, if you are easily distracted, you will find it hard to focus on just one task and complete it.
I've Been Awake For A While Now, And I’m Already Tired
I admit that I am experiencing sleep problems that can make it hard to get out of bed the following day. My ADHD symptoms can also make getting out of bed complicated. Hence, I partially accepted that this is going to be my consistent bedtime routine. Sleeping late at night and waking up early in the morning is not ideal for me, but I guess this is how my body clock works.
Usually, I set my alarm with an extra hour as an allowance for the time I need to get out of bed and prepare for my day ⏰. But even if I have an hour more, it would still take me a long time before I can finally step out of bed. This happens because once I am awake, my mind starts racing with thoughts and ideas that are not necessary to think about.
When I finally got out of bed, I usually felt exhausted and burned out 😪. I would sometimes feel like I needed more sleep because my brain was already working hard, trying to process everything that was going on. This is one of the reasons why people with ADHD can be quickly exhausted and need more time to rest.
Hacking the Alarm Clock and Difficulty to Fall Asleep
Where did I go wrong? When I realized that I had too much time wasted on unnecessary things, I made sure that I would make the adjustments to have good sleep hygiene. I started reading more articles and research about sleep disturbance, bedtime routine and getting out of bed in the morning, and I would like to share with you some of the things I learned to make the most out of a good night's sleep.
- Sleep problems can cause a mood disorder to develop if not managed well. It is a widely accepted fact that having difficulties sleeping can significantly affect our mood, energy, and concentration levels. It can also lead to anxiety and depression if not taken well. So be sure to address sleep problems promptly to prevent any further complications.
- One of the best sleep solutions is setting an effective evening routine that relaxes your mind before going to bed 😉. This may include avoiding gadgets hours before bedtime, taking a warm shower, and setting up the temperature of your room to your preference.
- Consider having a proper morning alarm system that will not disrupt your sleep negatively and effectively wake you up in your mornings. Having a two-alarm system, one alarm set 90 minutes before your desired wake-up time, and your actual waking time, can help you ease into the morning more effectively.
- If you think the two-alarm system doesn't work for you, you can also try placing your alarm clock strategically far away from your bed ⏰, forcing you to wake up and shut down your alarm clock. When your alarm rings, do not hit the snooze button! This will only give you a false sense of security, and you'll go back to sleep again.
- Some people with ADHD might have a weird relationship with caffeine. Some people can get sleepy drinking coffee, but most don't. Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks and sweets six hours before bedtime. Caffeine can cause anxiety and make it difficult to sleep.
- White noise can also help you get that early sleep. It can be any sound that soothes you and makes it easy for you to fall asleep. There are a lot of white noise machines and apps that you can download on your phone.
- There are also plenty of available treatment options for sleeping early and getting out of bed earlier the next day. Taking melatonin supplements can aid in your sleep by making you feel sleepy when it's time to go to bed. You can also try therapy and counseling to help you deal with anxiety, stress, and depression that might be keeping you up at night.
- Stimulant medication can help you focus more on getting things done and keeping you alert during the day. This can be a great option if your sleep disturbance is due to ADHD. Just be sure to talk to your doctor 👩⚕️ first before taking anything. Getting out of bed can be challenging, but it's not impossible.
Poor sleep can affect anyone. It can make us feel tired, anxious, and irritable throughout the day. It can also make it difficult to focus on work or school. If you're having trouble with sleep, talk to your doctor. 💪 There are a lot of available treatment options that can help you get the rest you need.
ADHD and Getting Out of Bed: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is it hard to get out of bed when you have ADHD?
The difficulty of getting out of bed in the morning is not a problem that only people with ADHD experience. However, it’s quite common for adults with ADHD to find it challenging to get up in the morning.
What’s the connection between ADHD and having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning?
There are several connections between ADHD and having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. First, some adults with ADHD tend to overthink during the night, significantly delaying their sleep time. Secondly, others are more productive in the evening due to fewer distractions. And finally, once they wake up in the morning, they might overthink again!
What can be done to address this concern?
The first step is to address the ADHD symptoms that delays your sleep (if that’s the reason for your problem). Hence, if you work during the night due to distractions, why not eliminate them so you can focus on sleeping at night. Asking support from a mental health expert or ADHD coach is also an excellent way to manage the problem.