What do I mean—organizing your brain, deep-pressure receptors? What does this have to do with ADHD and sleep? I can explain.
I slept 10 hours the other day—quite unusual for me. Lazing in bed that morning, I contemplated my new mattress topper. Could it be the reason?
Then, I remembered an interview I did many years ago with Patricia Quinn, MD on the topic of ADHD and sleep. She explained how “swaddling” helps babies to go to sleep because it “organizes” their brain:
The tight wrapping provides feedback through their joints; those deep-pressure receptors stimulate the brain and help to organize it.
Perhaps that’s what happened to me. That cushy-but-supportive mattress topper activated my apparently long-neglected “deep-pressure receptors.” That’s certainly how it felt, anyway.
Later, I happened across this intriguing solution for babies whose sleep might benefit the “deep-pressure” this suit provides: It’s called the Magic Merlin, and is available at Amazon.
Multi-Faceted ADHD Sleep Challenges
ADHD-related sleep challenges are many and varied. Being an “early adapter” on this topic, I wrote this blog post from 2009 (ADHD and Sleep: Puzzling the Pieces).
The post drew many comments from adults with ADHD and motivated me to write a few articles. For more than a decade, it’s remained a big topic of discussion in my local Adult ADHD group
As for my good sleep the other night, it’s not ADHD-related per se. But, from my perspective, ADHD is essentially “Extreme Human Syndrome”. That is, there’s nothing about ADHD that isn’t found in the rest of the human population. It’s a matter of degree. So, whether you have ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, or the typical effects of human aging, this “deep-pressure” aspect is worth paying attention to.
Even though we have a “Sleep Comfort” bed, which my husband likes just fine, I’ve never found it comfortable. Decrease the sleep number, and there’s little support. Crank it up to 100, and this side-sleeper awakens with sore shoulders and hips. Purchasing a twin-size topper, just for my side, seemed the solution.
Organize Your Brain for Sleep
Here’s the thing: My husband seems to get that “deep-pressure receptor” action from piling on the covers. (He emanates heat but it never awakens him. In the warmer months, I actually place ice packs strategically, to displace the heat!)
Many adults with ADHD have told me they will crank up the AC so they can “weight themselves down” with a heavy blanket or quilt. Some parents will use weighted blanket for their children with ADHD and/or autism. This one looks promising. Note, t these blankets typically require hand-washing. Or, you can try making your own:
Not All Mattress Toppers Created Equally
The old memory foam toppers tended to contain heat, making for uncomfortable sleep. And, I must say, this Sleep Comfort bed is hotter than regular beds. But this Novoform foam is allegedly designed to be cooler. I still find it warm but maybe newer versions are better.
The first morning, I did awaken early due to being too hot. But the next night, I simply slept with a lighter blanket—trading the “pressure” from above with one from below—and was fine. That’s the 10-hour sleep night. Felt like I was back in high school!
[advertising; not endorsement] [advertising; not endorsement]
So, are you are one of these people who sleeps better with a heavy blanket but find it too hot—or too costly to pay for the AC? You might want to look into this or similar mattress topper. (I purchased mine at Costco, where you can typically return). In my case at least, it doesn’t seem to matter from which direction the “pressure” is coming: the weight of a blanket or every joint being cradled in the foam.
I would love to hear your questions and solutions around ADHD and Sleep.