Calling YYZ, and all other ADHDers who are 'morning people'

I read that ADHDers are typically night owls and their brains don't 'wake up' until 10pm or so.  This has aways been the case for me and it seems like no matter what I do I cannot stick to anything that's early in the morning.  I struggle to get through all the household routines and have everything clean and put away by 11pm and have to get up at 7, so I try to get to bed by 11 or 11:30, but typically it's midnight before I can get everything done (and stop puttering around with the computer).  So the only time I can have any 'me' time for exercise or anything without my kids on top of me, it has to happen at 5 or 6am....  I've tried to commit to going to bed by 10pm, getting up at dawn to exercise, or write cover letters/revise my resume/job search but I just can't get up!!!  I tried taking my first adderall dose at 5am and seeing if it would help me get up at 6am, but unfortunately, I slept til 7:30, thereby wasting a couple of hours of focus!  Maybe in my dreams I got a lot done... I don't remember!

So my question is:  if we're all inherently 'night owls' how did you 'transform' yourself into a morning person???  YYZ how on EARTH do you get out of bed at 5am to exercise??  Can you get to bed really early?

Morning person here... Night person here too...

Good evening Ellamenno... I am an extreme creature of habits and absolutely Hate rushing around in the mornings because it is Stressful and I will forget something and did I mention that I hate rushing around trying to get me, my wife and daughters all out the door with enough time for me to get to work, also fueling my desire NOT to be that guy that is Always 10 minutes late. (I did repeat myself on purpose :) I have discovered that having the extra time in the morning to sit down and have breakfast, drink coffee, watch the news (Really background noise) while I poke around on the internet (Newspaper that has color and interaction). The morning workouts are still pretty new to my routine, and honestly I've been off in that area, but still attempting at least a few morning walks to not get un-routined. I only try to do one snooze after the initial alarm. Just get up, don't think about it for one second, start the coffee, take my Adderall, the dogs are already excited and go... Don't sit down, whatever you do. Before my diagnosis, I was too exhausted from the ADD, insomnia, combined with major sleep apnea. After my diagnosis I felt good, maybe for the first time ever and the sleep I got at night was better, less sleep and feel better. Weird!!! I try to get to bed by 10:30pm, rare, 11:00 is probably average and get up between 4:40 - 4:50am. I don't know why this works... It's my weekday routine, weekends are less productive early on. I don't really start anything until about 10:30am. I stay up too late on the weekends and rarely sleep past 7:30. I wish I could get something done in the evenings, but after homework, baths, evening walk and a day writing code when 9:00pm comes around I want to Veg. Without some down-time, how could my schedule be maintained?

I think I discovered I was much better when I started early. I knew this about myself back in high school, early morning marching band, then in college I was crazy enough to take algebra at 8:00am. I somehow figured out that if I started slow, I ended slow and felt like crap because I did not get anything done. Before diagnosis, I really began to struggle after 2 or 3pm and was exhausted when I got home. I guess getting the brain chemistry to better levels just bolstered my habits. 

YYZ (Not sleepy yet :)


So you have coffee and adderall before you go on your walk, or you just put the machine on and have it when you get back?  I'm curious about the whole coffee thing... What I did for a long time was get up, have coffee, wait til that wore off and THEN take Adderall because I didn't want to give myself a heart attack by mixing them.  I've steadily reduced my coffee intake from 36 oz a day to about 6 oz only in the morning.  I have small ceramic cups that fit 6 oz. of coffee and a little milk.  I figure I can trick myself into thinking I'm having a full mug of coffee.... right???  Today, I thought - heck, that's such a tiny amount of coffee, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to take my adderall now....  I didn't have a heart attack, but the reverse:  I felt tired and groggy all day and the second dose didn't do anything but make me more sleepy.  huh.  Maybe I just had a weird day?  Or maybe suddenly the adderall doesn't work?  Or perhaps it's the coffee withdrawal.  (I was drinking about 10-12 oz each morning last week)

Exercise will boost me for an  hour or so, but then I 'crash' physically.

yep.  11pm. I promised myself I'd finish Melissa's book so that I can give it to my husband to read, but I'm so exhausted I probably won't even get a page further.

mrrrph... grrr....

well goodnight, YYZ - don't stay up too late!

Ready the pot...

I make sure the coffee is ready to go, so when I have breakfast after my walk the coffee is ready. I drink a cup in the morning (8 oz I guess), an travel mug on the way to work, which I rarely get half through, and one cup at work standard office single serving cup. All in all, my coffee intake is about 66% of my pre-Adderall days. I'm curious about your dosage of Adderall if you are sleepy afterwards. Maybe a weird day... I'm right on schedule, 10:30, so I am signing off to get my 6 hours of sleep. The coffee maker is already setup, and the kitchen cleaned, so I am already ahead of schedule :-) My evening walk has helped with the 10:30 bedtime... Excellent...

DF's picture

YYZ is getting legendary status - awesome

I'm on Adderall XR.  I only take 10mg and I take it around 10:30AM to 11AM.  Stimulant?  Eh.  I could go to bed at 2 in the afternoon if my job allowed it.  Since my head is quiet at night I can go to sleep whenever, but being up past 9PM anymore is tough.  Since Adderall I do not drink coffee anymore except on Saturday mornings.  Something about that that I really like.  Odd..... I don't feel like drinking coffee anymore but the Adderall makes me tired some.  I tried 20mg one day of this stuff and you could barely pick me up off the floor. 

As for waking up?  I'm first in the house 7 days a week.  I get up at 5:45 to get coffee for my wife and to turn the space heater on in the bathroom on cold mornings ( seems like a nice thing to do ). 

I don't know what your situation is Ell, but in my house if I don't get up, nobody else will.  I've always hated just laying in bed knowing I wasn't going to fall back asleep.  Catch 22 is I hate having to wake up early on weekends to get the day going for activities even though I wake up by 8am regardless.  Ell you just have to get up and roll out of bed.  I find 1 thing I focus on and that is getting hot water for my wife's coffee and since she generally uses the same travel mug everyday I know I have to wash it first.  Everything else just falls into place.  The trick really is not thinking about what you have to do - think about what you want to do.  I really like getting coffee for my wife and she likes that I do that.  That's all the motivation I need, but to add icing to the cake, I get to "sit up" in bed with her and be her personal alarm clock and snooze button.  Some days I get 10 minutes with her and some days I get 20.  I love it.  It's my favorite part of the day.  Of course it would be fair to mention that I hate her alarm clock very very very very much.  The fact that she lets me wake her up means I don't ever have to hear that damn monstrosity chirping for 5 minutes before she hits snooze.

One fun note.  Back in the 90's when I worked nights and was at the gym by 5:30AM every morning but Sundays - nothing gets you going like 600mg of Ephedrine.  It was legal in the 90's and I would never do that now!!!!!  Not need to be judgemental!


Oh, DF!  I forgot about ephedrine.  I was taking that too.  And I was SO UPSET when they took it off the market.  That was waaaaayyyy before I knew anything about ADD, but I loved the way it made me feel.  I have never done illegal drugs, so I never tried to replace it with anything else.  Although I think if someone had offered me black market ephedrine, I would have considered it!  I had forgotten all about that substance until you mentioned it.

Given the structural

Given the structural similarity and similar effects to amphetamines and ADHD drugs, it's no surprise!

Alarm Clock... Me2

Legendary??? You give me WAY too much credit, but thanks :-) 

Unbelievably, the ADDer in this house has Always bared the wakeup position. DF... The similarities are too creepy/funny :-) Like you DF, if the alarm was on my DW's side, the alarm would go off until I got up to hit the snooze. I enjoy my extra time in the morning and my wife is SO not a morning person. She would stress so bad in the mornings in the past. I get up, get the coffee going, as mentioned, cleanup the kitchen a bit, eat breakfast with my oldest (Who discovered my peace and gets up at 5:45am) she loves having extra time in the mornings, my second iPhone alarm goes off at 6, then I turn on the TV in the bedroom to start my DW's wakeup process, at 6:30 I wakeup the youngest and get her going.

DF... I am SO puzzled by Adderall making you sleepy, WOW. I guess these do have varying affects. I take 20mg first thing in the am, 20mg around 10:30 and a final 10mg around 2:30. NEVER sleepy during the day, usually sleepy by 10:30 or so...

Man... I guess I miss the Ephedrine Bus...






I missed the Ephedrine fad...

probably a good thing, as I would have probably loved it and then been super bummed when it got banned!

I take 20 mg XR in the morning and another 20 mg. 5 hours later.  If I don't take the second dose on time, it won't work at all or it'll make me sleepy.



Maybe that is the difference (XR)... I take regular Adderall without the Extended Release. It gets in the system faster, but begins to tail-off after 4 hours, so usually I'm just past the fifth hour when I take Round #2, then time Round #3 (Usually 1/2 dose 10mg) the same way. Maybe you should try the Not XR. I tried Vyvanse which is an all day dose, but did not really like it, because I need the come on strong affect and I like being able to span the dose according to my day.

For some reason I have always feared becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, so Ephedrine would have scared me :-) Food was my addiction...


short release

I started off with the short release.  It would work right away, but then I would crash almost as soon as it started to work.  I would only get 2 hours out of it:  the first hour was ok, then the second hour was a decline into a crash.  The XR is more subtle - and lasts longer....

started at 5 mg

then went to 10 mg. twice a day, then went to 20XR once a day and now i'm at 20 XR twice a day.

My husband slept the best

My husband slept the best he's ever slept (as far as 'routine' type sleep...11 p.m-7 a.m.) when taking Concerta and Vyvanse. By 5 p.m. he was ready for bed. It made him very sleepy too. The Concerta literally made him D...R....A...G  all day.

We're the opposite here...until his recent super-dooper-hyperfocus on work...I always had to wake him up. He would sleep right through the alarm. If his job depended on him hearing an alarm and going to work by it, he would never be able to keep a job. He's always late to work too..if he manages to make it into work these days. I dream of a husband who is up an hour early, showers, shaves, has his coffee...has some nice chit chat..and then goes off to work on time.

first up

I'm first up at my place too.  my husband is always working late at night (I feel like a lazy slob for going to bed at midnight and sleeping all the way in to 6 or 7am - he's in bed at 1 or 2am and gets up at 7:30ish)  My 20 month old is my alarm clock.  She 'goes off' anywhere between 6 and 7am.  My husband doesn't hear anything but his alarm in the morning.  I get the kids up and dressed and fed and get my coffee.  My husband gets ready for work and then walks DD#1 to preschool.

I guess the only thing that gets me out of bed is the promise of coffee.  I start craving coffee before I even go to bed at night!  I used to have a coffee pot on a timer, which was AWESOME because instead of 'wake up and smell the coffee." it was "smell the coffee and wake up!"  But I read somewhere that cheap small appliances like coffee makers are a fire hazard and should be unplugged right after you use them.  

I quit coffee for 7 months one year and it was awful.  I thought I'd feel healthier or something.... the only thing i felt was tired and cranky.

DF's picture

Coffee vs. Adderall

Ell - you take 40mg of XR ( the 12 hour timed release ) a day?  Yowsers! 

When you stopped drinking coffee, how long did you give it before you went back?  If you can get through the burn out phase where your body is craving the caffine you might just get through it.  I struggled last month, but I use it as a test of strength.  Go figure..... couldn't ever see me doing that.  I'm always pushing myself pretty hard, not that any of you would ever notice.

What I meant by finding something to get you out of bed in the morning is not getting yourself coffee.  What is something you like to do?  What is something that you can satisfaction in doing?  Making coffee for yourself isn't enough because you can make coffee for yourself anytime you want.  Do you like to know the weather in advance?  If so, maybe the local news starts off at 6AM with the weather summary.  If your not happy with your waking habits in the morning, find something that motivates you and make it a routine.

I get satisfaction from getting my wife's coffee in the morning and that's not for everyone, but I've been doing it for many many months now and I plan to continue that forever.  My motivation is doing something for my wife.  You sound as though you need to do something for yourself.  For me personally, I know that women appreciate the little things.  Guys not so much, so do something for you.

As for the Ephedrine days, none of you were missing out.  I took it because I was very active and really into exercise.  The drug was banned because it was being misused and it was killing people.  I used to think it was people who did not exercise and their heart couldn't take the strain, but I was proven wrong through research.  I did not always like the way it made me feel.  When I was dating someone I was always motivated, but when I wasn't dating anyone I was usually aggitated.  I took 1000mg two times and vowed never to do that again.  Once at work ( I was a bartender ) I wanted to destroy certain drunks and the other time at the gym.  I was so geared up I couldn't even focus on counting reps to even bother attempting a work out and on the way home I experinced road rage like I've never known before in my life.  I didn't do anything to anyone ( not my nature ), but I've never forgotten how it scared me when I couldn't wait for the next red light so I could jump out of my car and smash the drivers window in and drag them out of their car.

'me' time...

I'd love to have some time to just drink coffee and read online news/check email etc. or just read something uninterrupted.  I've done it a few times - gotten up at 6am.  It was helpful to feel not so rushed.  Usually I wake up to, "MOMMMYYYYYYY!!!!!!! MOMMMYYYYYYYYY!!!  AAAARRRRAAAAAAAAARARRARRAAAAAAGH!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"  Which gives me a jolt of adrenaline and I go get DD#2 before she wakes the neighbors.  She kicks and thrashes and screams while i change her diaper and screams impatiently some more until I get her a sippy cup.  The days when I was able to wake up before the screaming started were great.  I felt grounded, not startled to start my day.  My husband would ask, 'What did you get up for so early?" and I told him I just wanted to have some time on the computer where i didn't also have DD#2 climbing on my leg (right now she is distracted by play doh).  he said, "you got up for THAT?" so i felt stupid and stopped doing it.  Also - sometimes DD#2 hears me and wakes up, and then i've gotten an hour less sleep but no 'me' time anyway.

Yes, I take 40 mg. total.  But the 20 mg. capsules only seem to last 5 hours, not 12.  I went 7 whole months without any caffeine at all.  it was miserable.  When I went back to coffee, I was on tour in Germany.  I was jet-lagged and miserable and had a rehearsal to get through.   I had an Illy capuccino at an Italian cafe.     It was heaven.  I felt like a normal person again.


"Me Time"

I don't think many NonADDer's understand how little time our brains are calm and not spinning at 10K RPMS. We can think when it is quiet and come up with a game plan for the day ahead. Do not feel stupid for this... A couple of years before my diagnosis I figured out the benefit of this quiet time after the kids were in bed. I explained to my DW that I get up at 5am and never stop until 9pm and by god I deserve one hour of time to Not Be Doing something. She looked at me like I was crazy...



I wonder if that's why my husband "stares at the ceiling" for half an hour or so after he takes his bath in the morning. Very frustrating if I'm working too because it puts all the responsibility for breakfast (we're southern-we eat a big cooked breakfast) on me. Not a problem now. I can just wait to job hunt and clean house until he leaves. It makes me nuts if he's promised to do something, like take out the trash or carry a box to my car before he leaves. He never gets to it.

XYZ, women (especially mothers) like to be productive all the time. I can't sit and watch TV without knitting or sewing or something. I feel like it's a waste. I think that's why I don't like games. You don't have anything to SHOW for it.

Staring at the ceiling...

I think the "Staring at the ceiling" warm-up is fairly common. I asked an ADD friend of mine what he was like before he was taking Adderall. He told me he would be fine "Just sitting up and Staring out the Window all day"... Sounds like what your husband is doing.

I understand wanting to be productive, for sure, and I go full speed from 4:45am to 9pm. I need a little time to unwind before I get up and do it all again. I am even more driven on the weekends, because I know there are so many projects to be done and never enough time to do them, it's exhausting.


BINGO, Sueann!

I CANNOT watch a movie or TV without getting 2 or 3 other things done.  It is simply a waste of my time otherwise.  I can't stand computer games as I can feel myself getting closer to death every second that's wasted. The only time I played video games was when I had a desk job answering phones and I was getting paid to sit there and could play a game, pause it if the phone rang, take a message, then play some more.   If I rent a movie and don't like it within 15 minutes, I have no problem with turning it off and doing something - anything - productive.  I am ADHD, so I guess it must be a female thing.  I think I've even seen a cartoon to that effect, with a guy sitting on the couch with his wife and he's just sitting there watching the TV and his wife has 5 or 6 projects around her.  I don't even watch videos my friends post on Facebook anymore.  My husband can watch countless videos all day long while taking breaks from his work.  I wonder sometimes how much time altogether he spends on videos, blogs and online newspapers!  (and he is decidedly NOT ADHD)  The videos bore me, and they are all pretty much the same and all about 5 mintues long.  I don't have 5 minutes to waste on something funny that has nothing to do with me.

I DO however sometimes need to 'space out'.  I just noticed a habit i've developed over the last couple of years:  once dinner is on the table and my kids/husband sit down I always go to the bathroom... I say, "Go ahead and start - I'll be right back..."  I noticed though, that I don't actually have to go.  I just need somewhere to go and be alone for 5 minutes and have no one crying at me or asking me for something.  I lock the door and don't feel guilty for once because I know they've all got their food and for the moment are happy.  So i sit and stare at the tiles for a few minutes, and space out hard.  Sometimes I'm remembering something from decades ago.  sometimes I just think about the day, try to figure out a plan for the rest of the evening/next day... Sometimes I have a fantasy about a project I'd like to do that in reality would never actually work.  then I go back.  It's my only 'vacation' I guess.

Grind N Brew...

My Grind N Brew is set for 5:30am... I am usually up before it, but it is nice to wake up to the smell of coffee on my lazy mornings. I hear you on the 20 month old alarm. Been there done that 2X, but my DW and I did 50/50 splits on check on the DD if the baby monitor detected a noise (I HATED that Thing). My Worrier Wife expected someone to get up at just about any noise. We did not exactly agree on the What is Urgent Policy there, but we survived. 

I cut my coffee intake, for sure, but still spread it over the same amount of time.


Morning Person

I've always been a morning person - I wake up without an alarm clock between 4 and 5 30 virtually without fail, and then I have a lot of time  to myself to get things done - or not.  Because of my symptoms, I am like riccochet rabbit from when I wake up to about 3-5 pm, when I start to get tired.  I like being in bed before 10 pm, and i'm usually asleep in minutes.

But make no mistake, i've adhd.  Just different.


hm.  I guess you've got the 'H' for sure!  I'm tired by 3pm and would love to be in bed before 10pm too.  unfortunately, it's 10 pm by the time my 4 year old stops the bedtime protest and it takes me another 2 hours to clean up the kitchen and whatever mess my family has made.  Then if i need to do anything else it's usually 1am or so before i can go to sleep. then my younger daughter is usually up by 6:30.