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ADHD and Sleep

ADHD is now a common diagnosis in children and adults. Even though the statistics are at around 10%, it seems to underrepresent the number of people who struggle with symptoms, and those presenting to family doctor’s offices.

This video summarizes the association between sleep and ADHD. It questions whether the sleep issues cause ADHD or of ADHD causes the sleep disturbances.

What is most important here is to recognize the association between sleep disturbances and mood disorders/ ADHD.

Depression and mood disturbances have been correlated with poor sleep. Your brain makes the chemistry to support mood and brain function during sleep.

When it comes to ADHD, I recommend patients start with the following:

1. Diet:

- avoid ultra processed foods, sugar, and food dyes.

Ultra processed foods (UPC) have been shown to increase mental health disorders and depression, anxiety, and ADHD.

UPCs include cereals, meal bars, frozen meals, and snacks/ baked goods that stay on your shelf.

Eat whole food. Focus on high quality protein, vegetables, and good fats for optimal mental health.

- avoid sugar and sugar substitutes.

Sugar substitutes affect the gut microbiome. Your gut microbiome directly affects your brain and brain chemistry.

2. Sleep:

Go to bed every day at the same time. Weekends and weekdays.

No screen time before bed. Avoid all screens, including TV, for an hour before bedtime.

Ensure you see daylight as soon as you wake up.

Be active during the day.

Avoid caffeine after mid day.

Avoid eating and alcohol for 3 hours before bed. This helps you get a better quality of sleep.

Try relaxation breathing or meditation before bed.

3. Supplements:


is a safe supplement to take. It is the hormone that helps you sleep.

Small doses of melatonin taken before bedtime can help you improve sleep.

Omega 3

Your brain cells need omega 3 fatty acids to function well. Studies show that depression improves when omega 3 levels are optimized.

The western diet is very low in Omega 3 so supplementation is recommended.

Vitamin D:

Has many beneficial effects on the body. It is very important for brain and mood.


Taking magnesium before bedtime promotes calm. It helps improve sleep quality.

Magnesium also helps restless leg syndrome and anxiety, both of which affect sleep.

For more information on supplements and dosing, click here and book a call with our supplement counsellor.


Dr. Natasha Iyer, MD

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