ADHD Getting Out Of Bed

Mastering Mornings with ADHD

Getting out of bed can be a significant challenge for those with ADHD, often due to disrupted sleep patterns and difficulty initiating tasks. This struggle is linked to ADHD's impact on the brain's regulation of sleep and wakefulness. Implementing routines like setting multiple alarms, creating a consistent sleep schedule, and using engaging morning activities can ease the wake-up process. Gradually building these habits helps in aligning the body's natural rhythms, making mornings more manageable for individuals with ADHD.

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Dr. Guia Canonizado - Custorio

Mental Health Professional

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ADHD And Getting Out Of Bed - Why Is It So Hard To Wake Up With ADHD?

As I write this, I'm seriously regretting my decisions last night, which have left me feeling unproductive and sleep-deprived today. 😭. I sometimes pour every ounce of my energy into procrastinating throughout the day. Like many of us, my brain seems to function better in a less chaotic environment - and for me, this is usually at night. 

Those late hours become a time of heightened productivity for me, with my focus reaching its peak until the stroke of midnight or even the early hours of the morning. In fact, research suggests that these late-night hours can be the most productive time for an ADHD brain. 

ADHD Getting Out Of Bed

According to the Mini ADHD Coach Medical Advisor:

‘People with ADHD tend to have a disrupted or delayed circadian rhythm, or body clock, which predisposes them to increased nighttime activity.'

I can relate to this. My most productive time of the day tends to be in the evening. However, here's the catch: sometimes, I engage in activities during those late-night hours that are not productive. 

For example, I can easily fall into the trap of getting stuck in a TikTok loop, hyper-focusing on YouTube videos, chatting to friends or getting caught up in live reels on Facebook. This can make it even harder for my busy brain to switch off and get some rest. 😴

For the most part, being a night owl isn't exactly conducive to a healthy life. Firstly, sleep deprivation poses numerous health risks. Secondly, staying awake all night makes it incredibly challenging to rise and shine in the morning. 

Let's delve deeper into the topic of ADHD and the reasons why we might struggle to get out of bed in the morning.

ADHD vs Alarm Clocks

Each morning, a battle ensues between my brain 🧠 and my cozy bed 🛏️. Despite using many different alarm clocks, I hit the snooze button, giving in to a few more minutes of sleep. There's something undeniably wonderful about staying in bed, letting sleepiness win. But I know more important tasks than sleep need my attention, so eventually, I'll drag myself out of bed.

ADHD Getting Out Of Bed

When the reality of work activities and responsibilities hits, I'll start to beat myself up for procrastinating going to sleep on time. But how can I when my brain disrupts my internal clock? 😭

How ADHD Can Make Falling Asleep A Challenge

Of course, staying up late is often the culprit behind our struggle to rise in the morning 😪. For individuals with ADHD, traits like easy distractibility and time blindness can cause us to lose track of time and stay awake longer. This is also known as 'revenge bedtime procrastination.' ☠️

ADHD Getting Out Of Bed

Impaired executive functioning in individuals with ADHD, such as procrastination, task organization, and initiation, can make starting the day and maintaining a morning routine tough. Research indicates that the average person requires seven to nine hours of sleep to be healthy mentally and physically; sufficient sleep provides energy and keeps our circadian rhythm in check.

The Circadian Rhythm And Problems Falling Asleep

When we sacrifice sleep and indulge in non-essential activities (like doom scrolling on Instagram), we disrupt our sleep cycle, leaving us feeling sleep-deprived, drained, and less productive. 

It becomes a vicious cycle - the more often we stay up, the more sleep-deprived we feel the next day. Thanks to our neurodiverse brains, we are also at a higher risk of experiencing circadian rhythm disturbances, for example, 'Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder.' This means we may have a natural delay of at least two hours when falling asleep and waking up. 

Any disruption to circadian rhythms can also make staying asleep more challenging. Some experts suggest that ADHD-related sleep problems such as this may also be caused by the production of melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep) starting later than usual.

Hyperactivity, Restlessness & Sleep Difficulties

Being hyperactive doesn't always manifest physically in 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 can be challenging for us to relax and fall asleep quickly - and effectively, leading to problems getting out of bed the following day.

When I try to sleep, my mind often becomes restless. I overthink things that probably won't happen or start thinking about everything I have to do the next day or everything I didn't do that day. All of this makes it difficult for me to fall asleep, making it harder to get out of bed the next morning. 😬‍

ADHD & Overthinking 

After snoozing my alarm clock ⏰ for the nth time, my next challenge is my 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 clock rings and my mind is fully awake, I know that I need to get going 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 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.

ADHD Getting Out Of Bed

Some people with ADHD can become flooded with thoughts that aren't necessarily important at that moment. Sometimes, these constant thoughts cloud our minds, resulting in us making bad decisions. Another term for this is 'ADHD overwhelm.' Overthinking can also cause disruptions and lead to us having a less productive day, leading to discouragement and disappointment 😔 when you are not able to commit to your daily goals.

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The Consequences of Poor Sleep In People With ADHD

Struggling to get out of bed can be normal for anybody, especially when they are tired and exhausted the previous day. Interestingly, some people with ADHD need more sleep than neurotypical people to function well because of the exhaustion they feel due to the ADHD symptoms they have to manage daily. 

Regardless of having ADHD or not, we all need to get out of bed and tackle our tasks for the day. 

As we tend to be natural overthinkers, we often organize our day by creating a to-do list, maybe even by the hour. We write it all down to ensure we don't miss anything; however, we can easily get distracted and deviate from the list we've created (especially if something more interesting comes up). This is because many individuals with ADHD can feel overwhelmed when planning, executing, and organizing tasks, especially if they struggle with hyperactivity. Being easily distracted makes it challenging to focus on one task and see it through to completion.

Starting the day in a rushed and disorganized manner can elevate stress levels and trigger anxiety symptoms in individuals with ADHD. This may further exacerbate their overall well-being and ability to manage their daily responsibilities effectively. A challenging morning can lead to decreased productivity, reduced focus, and difficulty completing everyday tasks – like your to-do list.

My ADHD symptoms significantly impact my ability to get out of bed in the morning. Sleeping late at night and waking up early is not ideal for me, but this is how my body clock works. So, I tried some ways to try and adjust to it as much as possible - but some mornings were more difficult than others.

ADHD Getting Out Of Bed

I would set my alarm clock with an extra hour as an allowance for the time I needed to get out of bed and prepare for all the things I needed to do that day. But even if I had an hour more, it would still take me a long time before I could finally step out of bed. This is because once I am awake, my mind starts overthinking, even if what I am thinking about isn't necessary.

When I finally got out of bed, I would already feel 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 often need more time to rest and recharge.

So, where did I go wrong with this approach? 

Well, I realized I was treating the symptoms of the problem rather than the cause

How to Stop Pressing Snooze On Your Alarm Clock

When I realized that I was spending too much time procrastinating and avoiding the sleep my body needed, I decided to put some extra work into practicing good sleep hygiene and establishing a healthy bedtime routine. 

I began reading articles and learning about some of the sleep disturbances that can happen in ADHD, like insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and intrusive sleep disorder. 

ADHD Getting Out Of Bed

By understanding this, I was able to come up with a few of my own sleep solutions that might help you, too.

Here are some of the things I learned -

  • Sleep problems and issues with waking up in the morning can significantly impact our mood, energy levels, and concentration. If left unaddressed, they can even lead to a mood disorder such as anxiety or depression. That's why it's crucial to manage sleep issues effectively.

  • Creating a consistent bedtime routine is one of the best ways to improve sleep. Consider avoiding anything with a blue light (like your phone) before bed, taking a warm shower, and setting up your room at a comfortable temperature.

  • If you tend to overthink before you go to sleep, try writing down your thoughts and all the things going on in your life. This might include writing down what you need to get done tomorrow. This will give your brain the space it needs to be able to switch off. 🧠

  • Having a proper morning alarm strategy is also essential. Try a two alarm system, setting one alarm 90 minutes before your desired wake-up time to help you ease into the morning. Alternatively, place your alarm clock strategically far away from your bed so you have to physically get up to turn it off. You can also try apps that wake you up gradually, such as a sunrise alarm clock.

  • Be mindful of your caffeine intake, especially if you have ADHD. While some people with ADHD may feel calmer with caffeine, others experience increased anxiety or no effect. It's generally best to avoid caffeinated drinks at least six hours before bedtime, as caffeine can interfere with sleep and circadian rhythms. This is particularly important if you take stimulant medication for ADHDs, as they can make you more sensitive to caffeine.

  • White noise (or even brown noise) can be helpful for falling asleep. Find a soothing sound that works for you from a white noise machine or a smartphone app.

  • It's important to rule out any underlying medical issues that might be contributing to your sleep problems. Consult with your doctor before trying any new treatments or medications.

  • If you're having difficulty getting out of bed, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and support tailored to your specific situation. For example, many underlying mental health issues can contribute to sleep problems . Therapy and counseling can be beneficial in managing anxiety, stress, and depression
  • In addition, contacting a board certified sleep study specialist can be helpful if you are having difficulty falling asleep or struggling to wake up. They can conduct a thorough evaluation and provide further insights into your sleep patterns.

  • When it comes to regulating your sleep-wake cycle, taking melatonin supplements can be helpful. They can assist in regulating your sleep-wake cycle without the drowsiness side effect. However, it is still recommended to consult with your doctor before incorporating any new treatments.


People with ADHD often face challenges when it comes to the ability to wake up in the morning. Struggling to fall asleep due to a sleep disturbance, such as delayed circadian rhythms, overthinking, and hyperactivity, can all contribute to this struggle. Poor sleep not only affects their ability to get out of bed but also impacts their overall well-being and productivity throughout the day.

It's important to focus on the root causes rather than just treating the symptoms. Establishing a consistent nighttime routine, improving sleep hygiene, and creating strategies to manage overthinking can significantly improve sleep quality. Utilizing a two alarm system or sunrise alarm clock, avoiding blue light before bed, and writing down thoughts and tasks can all help your brain switch off and get some rest.

It is also crucial to consider any underlying medical conditions or mental health issues that may be contributing to sleep problems. Consulting with a doctor, mental health professional, or board certified sleep study specialist can provide guidance, support and medication,  if needed. Melatonin supplements can be an option for regulating the sleep-wake cycle, but it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new treatments or medications.

You don't deserve to suffer from sleep deprivation - you deserve to wake up well-rested and ready for what life has to bring you. By trying out these steps together, we can give our brain a well-deserved rest and finally stop snoozing that alarm clock every morning. 😃

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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 pretty standard for adults with ADHD to find it challenging to get up in the morning.

What's the connection between the struggle to wake up in the morning and ADHD?

Individuals with ADHD often struggle to get out of bed and establish a consistent morning routine due to impaired executive functions, hyperactivity, sleep disturbances, and difficulty adhering to a regular routine at night. Poor executive functions make it challenging for them to initiate activities and organize tasks, while sleep disturbances, restlessness, and irregular sleep patterns contribute to increased fatigue and difficulty waking up. Sticking to a bedtime routine can also be challenging, leading to problems in maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and sleep deprivation.

What are the treatment options for ADHD-related sleep problems?

The first step is to address the ADHD symptoms that might be causing your sleep disturbances (if that's the reason for your problem). For example, if you work during the night due to daytime distractions, try to reduce them so you can focus on sleeping. You could see your GP to see if any medications may help or seek support from a mental health expert or ADHD coach with experience in sleep issues.

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