Diagnosed With ADHD? Just Go to Sleep...
I'm not kidding when I say go to sleep. More and more research is showing that more than 50% of people, including children, diagnosed with ADHD are experiencing their symptoms as a result of lack of sleep. This is true especially with children. Young children's brains are laying out wiring pathways throughout their first few years. Television, computer screens, IPads, movie screens all can disrupt normal wiring, and create confusion, anxiety, uncontrollable behavior and especially lack of focus. I even have trouble watching television with all the little notes that fly across the bottom of the screen, pop up here and there while you're trying to focus on the program, or sit at the bottom corner of the screen and become more visible depending on the background. We are creating a nation of ADD and ADHD sufferers. Here's why. During sleep, you must reach REM sleep in order to rebuild and restore tissues and hormonal levels that are utilized during the day. Hormones especially are what control your daily needs and habits, so having the right amounts is essential to keeping your body in balance. Take a moment and think about what would happen when any of the following hormones is not restored appropriately, which is exactly what happens when you fail to get restful sleep:
Melatonin - We tend to produce less melatonin as we age, which is the hormone that is responsible for maintaining your body's circadian rhythm. This is why children can sleep quite a bit, and then not need that afternoon nap as they get a bit older. It also is why people who change time zones often, have trouble with their body's normal cycles. Lack of melatonin doesn't just make for restless sleep, it also is associated with depression.
Ghrelin and Leptin - These are hormones that control when you feel hungry and when you feel full. Without their normal rhythm, you can overeat, and also become dehydrated, mistaking thirst for hunger.
Thyroid Hormones - These important iodine-based hormones regulate how fast you burn calories, control anxiety, heart rate, sweating and even bowel regularity.
Aldosterone - This hormone from the adrenal glands regulate your body's sodium to water ratio, and consequently blood pressure.
Cortisol - This is the hormone that regulates your body's inflammatory reaction and how your body functions under stress. However, dysregulation can suppress your immune system, increase abdominal fat, cause unregulated inflammation and allow your body to suffer from stress more than you can imagine.
These are just a few of the hormones that your body requires daily (or nightly) supplies. Without enough sleep, your body is running on empty and the effects can be mistaken for many diseases. Prescriptions may not be the answer. Instead, finding ways to get restful sleep will do so much more.
So before you reach for the pills, really think about your sleep patterns and what priority sleep plays in your daily life.