Hyperactivity At Bedtime? Try these Strategies to Help Your Child

Updated: Aug 17


If you have a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you know that bedtime can be one of the most stressful times in their day. It can seem like a never-ending battle, but do not worry! You can help them learn how to stay calm before bedtime so that they don't have problems falling asleep or staying asleep during the night.

What is Hyperactivity?

Hyperactivity is a symptom of ADHD, which is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Children with ADHD may fidget excessively or talk nonstop, even when they're supposed to be doing something else. They might also tap their pen on the table or drum their fingers on the countertop to relieve boredom or anxiety.

How to deal with Hyperactivity in children with ADHD?

If you have a child with ADHD and they are having trouble sleeping, it's important to consider the following tips:

Reduce the amount of stimulation in the environment.

Child looking at tablet under the blanket

This can come in many forms, such as having fewer electronic devices or TV shows in their room at night. It also means keeping things quiet so they won't be tempted to turn on their phone or computer before bedtime (if possible). Limit screen time to 30 minutes. If your child has trouble falling asleep, you may want to limit their screen time before bedtime. Make sure there is no screen time in the hour before bedtime and that it's not too bright, loud, or close-up (i.e., right on top of their face).

Use sleep gadgets and apps that help with bedtime issues.

Sleep tracker

There are a few sleep gadgets and apps that can help with bedtime issues.

  • Sleep trackers: These apps monitor your child's sleeping patterns, allowing you to see how long they spend in light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep, and other stages of the sleep cycle. You can see how much time your child spends awake at night or even if they have restless leg syndrome (RLS).

  • White noise apps: White noise is soothing because it masks external noises so you can get some restful slumber without being disturbed by loud noises like sirens or alarms going off in the morning. With these apps, you can play natural sounds like raindrops falling outside or ocean waves crashing on shore throughout the night as part of their alarm clock routine without disturbing anyone else around them who may need their attention during those times!

  • Sleep masks: These devices block visual distractions associated with different lighting sources, including indoor lamps emitting large amounts of blue light, which tends to disturb brainwaves.

Create a sense of safety.

two kids stacking blocks

If your child has ADHD, it's important to ensure their room is safe and secure — this is especially true at bedtime. You may want to put up walls or use the "buddy system" with other children in the household who can help watch over your child while they sleep. If there are any safety concerns, talk them through with your child and work together on solutions until they feel comfortable enough that it's no longer an issue.

Make sure your child gets enough exercise during the day.

Kids stretching

Exercise is especially important for children with ADHD as it helps them calm down after an eventful day at school or playgroup/camp! Make sure this happens regularly by scheduling regular physical activity into your daily schedule—and don't forget about recess time!

Make sure kids are tired.

Kids resting on the couch

If your child has ADHD, it's important to make sure they are tired before bed. Sleep is a learned behavior; it takes time for kids with ADHD to learn to fall asleep at night. This can be frustrating for parents who want their child to relax and go into a deep, restful state but don't know any other way for them to get there without medication or behavioral therapy.

The best way we've found to help our kids fall asleep is by giving them a scheduled bedtime routine that includes some activity time (like reading) before lights out, so they're tired enough physically and mentally! We also recommend keeping the lights low in their rooms so they can see each other.

Consider which food-related triggers may work best for your child's schedule.

foods that boost melatonin production

Try different options until you find something that works well for him/her and his/her limits around food intake during certain times of day (i.e., breakfast vs. lunch vs. dinner); keep track of these details. Also, your child's diet might influence how he or she feels about bedtime, and you can help her feel calmer by adding certain foods to her diet. For example:

  • Foods that contain magnesium and calcium (such as nuts)

  • Foods that contain tryptophan (like turkey or tofu)

  • Foods that contain melatonin (like sweet potatoes or bananas)

  • Foods that contain B vitamins (inositol is a type of vitamin B6).


Now that you've read this article and tried these strategies, hopefully, you feel more confident about helping your child succeed at bedtime. Always keep in mind that this is a journey and not a destination—you'll need to adjust as your child grows and changes over time. And remember: while medication may be helpful for sleep, it is not the only thing that will work for your child. If you find yourself frustrated or overwhelmed by bedtime issues, don't give up! You've been very empathetic, patient, persistent, and loving. You are a great parent.