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Adult ADHD and Sleep Poblems: End the Nightmare

As we head back to school and work, and supposedly get back into our routines and daily “rhythms” – there’s one routine/rhythm we adult ADD’ers never seem able to dance to. Sleep. Research indicates that ADHD sufferers are more likely to have sleep abnormalities, a harder time getting to sleep – and a harder time staying awake during the day, especially if we are not being sufficiently stimulated – which we, um, rarely are. And getting less sleep than non-ADDers adds to an already overwhelmed and scattered mind, for a bucketful of bad brain – not something we want to carry into the study hall or the conference room.

Everybody’s Talking About Sleep as ADHD Alternative Treatment

A few things conspired to make this topic a must-write-about-now…First, ADDitude magazine did a quick-tips article on it…Then I heard a piece on NPR about sleep and study habits…And then, sure enough Attention Talk Radio had an archived show about ADHD and sleep with Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D. of Harvard Medical School. Mr. Know-It-All (in a good way).

I’ll offload a few natural remedies/strategies in a moment. But first, let’s make sure we know the extent of the problem here:

· Simply put, it exascerbates our ADHD symptoms, including inattention, hyperactivity, moodiness…irritability.

· It decimates performance: Just 1 hour of sleep loss 3 nights in a row significantly affects performance on tests. Assume ditto decimation for us in the workplace.

· Insufficient sleep lowers metabolism, increases appetite and thereby makes us more susceptible to weight gain/obesity. Sleep deprivation cranks up a hormone called lectin, which holds on to body fat.

· Oh – and sleep problems can be SO severe as to actually impersonate ADHD and result in an incorrect diagnosis of ADD. So, um, maybe I’m not…Nah. I am.

The scientists haven’t figured out exactly why, but we ADHD adults typically have a hard time slowing down our brain at night, which is a key for falling asleep. And then, we’re more likely to have restless leg syndrome, sleep-walking and -talking. We’re even hyperactive sleepers, people! Not a happy contrast with the JOYS of sleep and its fabulous rewards of clarity, contentment and sanity.

Sleep Kid ADHD1

 

Some Natural ADHD Remedies for Crappy Sleepers

When other people are winding down and feeling sleepy, we ADDers are starting to wind UP! Our circadian ryhtms are programmed differently, so instead of winding down at 10p, we’re firing up a bunch of thoughts, worries, ideas, etc. It’s OK, there’s hope. InVideo I, Way 1: Feed Your Brain, I lay out four simple sleep helpers, which are mixed in below with a few more good ones…

1. No Media 1+ Hours Before Bed: UNPLUG!!! Get off of media earlier in the evening – at least 1-2 hours. Might be hard, but think of it this way: the add brain is like a lawn mower and has momentum making it difficult to just shut it off. PLUS, research shows that the rays emitted from e-devices tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime.

2. Medication Conservation: While some claim that their stimulant meds actually help them get to sleep (perhaps by allowing them to focus their mind on falling asleep), we have to remember what meds might still be swimming around in our veins from the day time. For instance, I don’t use sustained-release meds for this reason. When I’m done working, I want to be done chirping.

3. A Visit from the Protein/Dairy Fairy: Get a little sprinkle of serotonin and melotonin from cottage cheese or warm milk before bed.

4. Get the Caffeinne Out: Even small amounts – even early in the day – can affect our ability to fall asleep. You don’t have to go decaf, but know that I won’t judge you if you do (I do a 5-shot decaf latte, and I’m proud).

5. Get Tested: If you’re waking up in the morning and feeling tired or like you never slept, you should absolutely check for snoring/sleep apnea – not breathing in enough oxygen. But even if that’s not the issue, only a professional sleep test can give you reliable data on something correctable like a breathing issue.

6. Make Bedtime Routine a Routine: You have to train your brain to know it’s time…to…wind…down. Change into bed clothes earlier. Turn down lights earlier. Take a quick bath. Turn on some ambient/white noise. Whatever the routine…do it routinely…every night.

7. Set a Bedtime Alarm: That’s right – set an alarm for the same time every evening that reminds you it’s time to shut the TV…laptop…knitting bag…book.

I regard sleep as absolutely foundational. And I’m more convinced of it after this recent batch of reading/listening. Foundational because every other alternative ADHD treatment or solution you put into play will have exponentially more impact if it’s done on top of a better night’s sleep. Now, go to your room!

-Crusher

P.S. If this blog post was of even modest interest to you…then you’ll go freakin’ crazy for ADD Crusher™ Videos & Tools. Give them a look-see. Try ’em. No like? Money back. -ab

 

P.P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there!  – Team Crusher

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The Final 4 Things You Do Every Day That Make Your ADHD Symptoms Worse

A recent guest blog I did on Carol Gignoux’s LiveADHDFree.com hit on a recurring Crusher theme: things ADDers do every day – wittingly or unwittingly – that make our ADHD worse. Then, just last week, I did another on Andrea Nordstrom’s The Art of ADD blog, called Three MORE Things You’re Doing that Make Your ADHD Worse!

With a long list of such items I regularly write about, present on, and teach in the ADD Crusher™ videos, I figured I’d blog a few more. Herewith, The final FOUR things you’re doing every day that make your ADHD symptoms worse (along with their natural ADD remedies!)…

 

WORRYING

As one sage put it, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strengths.” Indeed, mental fatigue is caused less by work than by worry, frustration and resentment.

Moreover, creativity and problem-solving are stifled when the mind spins on negatives. Another sage said, “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.” And what you DON’T want is to make your ADHD worse. What you WANT is the mental clarity that comes with peace of mind. And there are ADD-friendly ways to achieve it, starting with the simplest type of meditation: observing your inner dialogue, which is cluttered in large part by needless worry…and telling it to shut up.

Negative-Self-Talk-ADHD-ADDCrusher

SPINNING ON BS

Like worry, there are a bunch of other energy-burners going on in our inner dialogue that we should live without – or at least with less of.

Quote ADHD Choosing Thoughts1

Choose the NON-BS counterpart from the following pairs to reduce your stress and up your productivity:

  • Future vs Past: Thoughts of the past are mostly re-hashing stuff you can’t change – so classify them as such and switch into future-oriented, “here’s-how-I’ll-do-it-differently-next-time” mode!
  • Positive vs Negative: When you have a negative thought – about yourself, a situation or another person, LABEL it as such and move on to something else, or at least shift to a positive spin on it.
  • Big vs Small: We are so often getting dragged down a rabbit hole by some small thing that burns energy like a big thing! If spinning on something, ask yourself if it’s worthy.
  • Relevant vs Titillating: Titillating thoughts are the ADDer’s bane, taking us away from relevant tasks and from finishing things. Label titillating stuff as BS THAT YOU’RE NOT DOING NOW.

In sum: stop dwelling and start propelling. Filter some of this BS out to move away from mind FULL to mindful.

 

BEATING YOURSELF UP

We ADDers are masters at acknowledging and remembering past failures, and terrible at acknowledging successes. It’s like failures have triple weight. You succeed 3 times and fail once but that one failure weighs in your mind more than the 3 successes.

We have to stop beating ourselves up by dwelling on foibles, and celebrate even little successes. Some tips:

  • Just be aware of negative self talk. When you catch yourself on a negative, label it as BS and move on.
  • Don’t take others’ comments and leering looks too seriously.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Know the two Realities of Success. First, “Success is 99% failure.” Second, that success is not just the COMPLETION of a tough task, but any effort TOWARD completion.

 Failures-Outweigh-Successes-ADHD-ADDCrusher

So, celebrate every effort no matter how small, knowing that the path to success ain’t no straight line.

 

PSYCHING YOURSELF OUT

Way 7 in ADD Crusher™ Video II is called, “Attack the Tough Stuff Now.” It deals with procrastination, and could have been called, “Quit Psyching Yourself Out!” because every procrastinator is a self-psycher-outer, mostly with fear.

A prominent coach said, “If we doubted our fears instead of doubting our dreams, imagine how much in life we’d accomplish.” And look at some common day-to-day to-do list fears, things that are painful to even think about…calling a client with bad news, or a teacher you think will HAVE bad news, going to DMV, etc.

But how painful ARE these things vs actual pain — like when the dentist drills too deep? There’s no REAL pain, is there? You’re thus paralyzed by fear of imaginary pain. So, when it comes to tasks you fear for any reason, start doubting your fears and stop psyching yourself out.

 

There ya go. The final four things that, if reduced even modestly, would make your ADHD more manageable.

Bless!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there!  – Team Crusher

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Practical “Zen” Brain Hacks for Greater Peace and Productivity

If everybody in the world could do with a little more Zen, then we ADDers could use a triple scoop, no? Think about frustrations that drive us ADDers nuts daily:

· I’m in a constant state of overwhelm!

· I never have enough time…always feel it’s running out!

· My to-do list is a monster…and I can’t prioritize!

· I can’t get motivated to start, let alone finish, projects!

Let’s add to that the well-researched emotions of the ADDer. The emotional impulsiveness, impatience, being easily frustrated, overreacting, losing our temper, etc. These all have one thing in common: they’re driven in part by our mind’s – or inner voice’s – interpretation. And therefore, can be reduced by managing that voice…

[This is a guest blog I did for Bryan Hutchinson’s ADDerWorld. To continue reading, go to http://bit.ly/13J73Cc. Enjoy!]

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there!  – Team Crusher

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5 Reasons We ADDers MUST Love What We Do

Today’s Crusher blog is written by Shell Mendelson, MS, a career coach and counselor specializing in helping ADDers get out of their career ruts by following their passion. With over 20 years’ experience in ADHD and career counseling and coaching, consider contacting her atshell@passiontocareer.com and at www.passiontocareer.com.

As an ADDer, you’ve probably experienced some (or many) of the repercussions of having a job that is wrong or a very poor fit for you.

Have you beaten yourself up because you just couldn’t learn job tasks quickly enough, couldn’t remember significant portions of your job description, or made almost ridiculous mistakes because you were not paying attention? Or taken extra long breaks because you were bored out of your mind? Or perhaps…

  • Are you missing deadlines?
  • Taking work home that could have been completed during the workday?
  • Waking up each morning dreading the thought of one more day in this miserable job?
  • Or, saying to yourself, “Today, I am going to do a great job…try, try, try…NOT!

These are only a few of the symptoms of wrong livelihood!

Creativity-Cartoon-ADHD

You also know, as an ADDer, that you can focus for hours when you find something that you enjoy doing. And, in fact, many of the typical symptoms magically disappear when we are hyper-focused. This applies to the work you do as well. In fact, we must love the work we do, or at least like it very much, or risk serious repercussions that can impact every area of our lives.

Here’s the very good news. We are lucky. We are indeed a fortunate tribe. Why? Because other people, and I’ve met them, can stay in soul-sucking jobs and make due until retirement. Then what do you think happens? They either die in their Winnebago’s or on their retirement trip to Europe, or they contract some horrific disease and spend their precious retirement suffering. You see, there is no happy ending to a miserable journey.

 

Oh, I forgot about the good news! Here it is – we MUST do what we love for a living for these reasons:

1. When we’re in the right job, career or business, many, if not most of our ADD characteristics become much more manageable. Additionally, because we are motivated, we tend to want to do something about managing them. We are fueled to find solutions and do our best.

2. Doing what we love means our relationships improve. This includes those with co-workers, bosses and who we serve (customers, clients, etc). It also includes family members and friends who receive the benefit of a happier person. There is a world of difference between feeling confident and feeling beaten because you aren’t performing your tasks well, in addition to just being miserable, and how that impacts those around you.

3. When we enjoy our work for at least 80% of the workday, the chances of remaining in one place increase many times over – at least until the next easy and best opportunity to transition comes along. We may have a tendency to job hop or unconsciously sabotage the work so that we get fired. Isn’t this far preferable to job hopping and getting fired.

4. When we love the work we do, it is far less challenging to process the information and connect to job tasks. Translation: you do a much better job because you are optimistic, interested, focused and aligned with the mission of your company and/or your business. There is also far more opportunity to get recognition for excellence in your work.

5. When we love our work, we are providing a real service to our customers/clients, co-workers, managers, supervisors and the world. Having a sense of purpose is key for us ADDers. It can literally change everything. Discovering what that purpose is can be tricky if not easily identified.

That’s where help comes in. It is ok to get help to discover your authentic career or business direction, particularly if it leads to the discovery of what has been inside you all along!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there!  – Team Crusher

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Book Review: “Unraveling ADHD” by Joyce Kubik, CMC

URADHD-front-cover250I’m often asked to review books. I suck at it. Because I suck at reading. Verrrrry slooooooow reader. But I picked one up that was sent my way recently, and couldn’t put the dang thing down. Joyce Kubik, ADHD coach and certified master coach, wrote Unraveling ADHD: How I Turned My Greatest Deficit into My Greatest Asset, a personal account of her struggle with undiagnosed ADHD and all that can go with it (which is quite a lot of additional burden).

As a long undiagnosed ADDer throughout childhood and much of adulthood, as well as an advocate for the millions of undiagnosed adults around the world, this book resonated – on two fronts.

First, bits of the book offer a checklist of the many classic woes of ADHD sufferers. If you wanted to explain to people what ADHD is really like, hand them this list of quotes from Joyce’s narrative…

> “I recall how I was admonished continually for being the last one ready [to leave the house] and making everyone late.”

> “I fought to protect myself from the daily criticism of being told I was late, wrong, or in trouble.”

> “My days were spent looking over my shoulder to see who was next to catch me doing something wrong.”

> “Many nights I lay awake wondering why no one liked me or why everyone thought I was so dumb. I tried to think of ways to be more like everyone so I wouldn’t get in trouble, but nothing seemed to work.”

> “Why is it I can’t pick up a newspaper and read, ‘The café is open until 11:00 tonight,’ put it down, and tell you what I just read? The words leave my mind in seconds.”

> “I would also blurt out comments or jump to conclusioins when someone was talking. Once I became aware of this, I tried to control myself, but I never made much progress.”

> “My parents argued about many things and tried to hide it from us. But often I heard their arguments and they always seemed to end up being about me…”

> “One [thing] I struggled with daily was controlling my distractions. ‘Why is it that I can’t stay on task?’

 Second, on the positive side, she offers some great tips that I really identify with. Here are my favorites…

  • Lists Are Your Friends: Even if you lose them or don’t always work from them, MAKE them and continually work to work them into your daily life. They are a surrogate for our weak working memory!
  • Never Email Before Breakfast: Joyce would find herself lost in emails and losing track of time…until she realized it was 2pm and she’d not only missed breakfast, but lunch as well. Get a healthy, protein-based breakfast in your tummy to start the day. THEN tackle your inbox.
  • Advocate for Yourself: Don’t let others tell you what you need or don’t need. Listen to your gut. This is not to say don’t listen to others’ suggestions, but just make sure you give your OWN opinion as much or more weight than that of others.

A key thing about Joyce’s story is that she “unvraveled” her ADHD in a long, arduous process. It wasn’t a single “aha!” – it was a series of them that eventually led to her ADHD diagnosis, treatment and triumph. But along the way, she managed many successes, not least of which were a later-in-life college degree and being president of the ADHD Coaches Organization. Pretty good unraveling, I’d say.

Thanks for a great read, Joyce.

Bless!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there!  – Team Crusher

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