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Better Mornings Begin Tonight

I hope those of us celebrating the Family Day long weekend here in Ontario were able to take in a little of ‘the other vitamin C’ -  some good-quality connection time with our loved ones. Our family had a blast indulging in the snowy weather and were finally able to catch up on some of the winter activities we hadn’t been able to enjoy as of yet due to the warmer temperatures this season. 


white sheets on bed

This year, I've been reflecting on the small, impactful changes I can make to our daily routine to support better brain health for both me and my family. A major decision I made at the beginning of this year was to prioritize sleep—a revelation, really, rather than a resolution. The importance of sleep has been gaining well-deserved recognition in the health and wellness sphere lately. It's an often overlooked but critical piece of the ADHD puzzle.


Have you ever found yourself staring at the ceiling at 2 AM, your mind racing with thoughts, despite feeling exhausted? Or you've noticed how a poor night's sleep frazzles you or your child’s focus and attention the next day?


I certainly have. So have my kids. 


Research is increasingly highlighting sleep not just as a pillar of health but as a cornerstone for managing ADHD. During sleep, our brain engages in numerous housekeeping activities. It clears out toxic build-up, consolidates memories, and repairs itself—processes that are essential for focus, emotional regulation, and overall brain health. For those of us with ADHD, giving our brains this time to refresh and recalibrate is a game-changer. 


But - if you or your child have ADHD, you know that sleep is one of the most seemingly unattainable and sought-after luxuries we have. There are quite a few reasons why sleep is so elusive for some of us:


circadian rhythm

A Lagging Circadian Rhythm

For many with ADHD, experiencing delayed circadian rhythms is quite typical, which essentially means they’re inclined to be night owls. Their internal cues for sleep can lag by several hours, making it challenging to nod off at conventional times and leading to a preference for sleeping in. 


Delayed Melatonin Production

The production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for sleep, is typically released in the evening to aid in falling asleep. As our circadian rhythm is often lagging, melatonin is the last to join the sleep party, compounding the situation further. Great, thanks for nothing, melatonin, right? 


coffee clock

Reduced Sleep Pressure

Sleep pressure, if you haven’t heard this term before, is the gradual build-up of the neurotransmitter adenosine in your brain that signals when your body needs rest.

About 16 hours after we wake up, your urge to sleep peaks. But for those with ADHD, certain behaviours can disrupt this natural cycle, making sleep more challenging. Caffeine and sugar, especially late in the day, are the major culprits. Caffeine blocks adenosine, delaying our ability to fall asleep and reducing sleep quality. Sugar, a little bit trickier in its effects, often leads to energy fluctuations, disrupting our sleep cycle and hindering deep, restorative sleep.


So, knowing all this, what can you do to support a better night’s sleep for you and your family? 


Simple Steps To Unlock Better Sleep


winter sunlight
  1. Reset Your Circadian Clock: Align your daily routines with natural light patterns. Try to expose your eyes to sunlight in the morning and reduce exposure to bright light and screens in the evening. Try dimming and turning off lights around the house gradually as the evening progresses. This can help regulate your body's internal clock and signal it's time for sleep at night.

  2. Stay Cool: Keep your sleeping environment at a comfortable, cooler temperature (between 60 to 67° F or 16 to 19° C). Our bodies tend to sleep better in slightly cooler conditions, as it signals the body that it's time to wind down.

  3. Do a Brain Dump: Before bed, try writing down your thoughts, worries, or to-do lists. This can help clear your mind and ease the transition into sleep, reducing nighttime anxiety and restlessness.

  4. Move Your Body: Regular physical activity during the day can promote better sleep at night. Just be sure to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as it can energize you and make it harder to fall asleep.


balanced buddha bowl

These are just a few of the simple yet powerful adjustments we tackle inside my ADHD program. Optimizing nutrition, daily movement and making sleep a priority are crucial for everyone as well as those with ADHD. It's all about creating a balanced lifestyle that supports your brain's health and function, allowing you to navigate the challenges of life with greater ease.


If this sounds like the kind of journey you or a loved one could use, I’m here to chat. 


Got questions about the program? Curious about how it all works?  


Add a comment - I'd love to hear from you!


 

Curious about what holistic nutrition can do for you and your family?


If you’re looking for support with your family’s health goals regarding mental health, ADHD or fostering a healthy relationship with food, feel free to book in a FREE assessment call so we can chat to see if Holistic Nutrition is a good fit for your family!



Amy Jones

BA Hons., B Ed., RHN, CNE, OCT

Care-Informed & Health At Every Size® Nutritionist

Canadian School of Natural Nutrition Instructor

Metabolic Balance® Coach

Intuitive Eating Counsellor Candidate



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