Husband and sleep problems?

My husband has been diagnosed with ADHD since he was very young (five or six years old). He still struggles with it but has made a lot of improvements. Additionally, he isn't on medication now but will soon be again. With or without medication though, his sleep problems are a constant source of frustration. I was wondering if anyone else had problems with an ADHD spouse and sleep habits. I know it sounds totally crazy, but my husband is constantly tired. He can sleep 9 or 10 hours and still complain of exhaustion. He can sleep through his alarm--for over an hour. He has trouble getting out of bed earlier than 8:30 or 9 am.

It is incredibly frustrating and although I've learned to work around it somewhat, there are some days I have to get him up and I'm actually terrified to do it because he's combative, angry and sometimes mean--even after getting over 10 hours of sleep. I'm writing now because although he got 9 hours of sleep last night, he laid down to take a nap...almost three hours ago. He constantly complains of being too tired and I'm wondering if it's related to his ADHD. I know it seems so counterintuitive, but he often has trouble falling asleep and he sometimes complains about "waking up a lot" during the night. Is it all related?

If this has happened to you and your spouse, do you have any tips for me? I think I'm feeling resentful and angry about it and I don't want those feelings to get any stronger! He's 30 years old--I shouldn't have to wake him up in the morning to get to work on time. 

I think that it's very likely

I think that it's very likely that your husband's sleep problems are related to ADHD.  I don't know the biological details, but I do know that most of the books and other resources that I've looked at about ADHD mention it as a concern.  My husband has ADHD.  He has a really hard time getting up in the morning.  I would say that he typically needs at least an hour after the time his alarm goes off to be ready to leave the house for work or whatever.  (I, in contrast, can be out the door in 15 minutes, and I often don't get enough sleep.)  He seems to get tired earlier in the evening than I do, even though he spends more time in bed.  

I don't have any tips except that your husband should do some research about the issue and follow the suggestions that he finds.

Pbartender's picture

I've had sleep problems for

I've had sleep problems for the last twenty years, at least...  I never sleep more than an hour or two in a row, and I just can't sleep past 6 or 7 am.  I'll wake up for a few minutes, use the bathroom or get a drink of water if I need it, then go back to sleep.  If I go to bed at 10 pm, for example, I'll wake up at 12:30, 2:30, 3:45, 4:30, 5:00, and if I'm lucky I can get back to sleep for another half hour or so, before I wake up one last time before 6:00 and can't get back to sleep.  And when I wake up, I can be fully awake in a matter of seconds, if I need to be.

I've tried all sorts of sleep supplements and remedies, but nothing makes a difference, except complete physical exhaustion (and sometimes not even that works).

Sometimes, at bedtime or when I wake up in the middle of the night, my mind will get hooked on a line of thought that it can't let go...  I'll be stuck, alone in the dark, without the benefit of my medication, and I won't be able to get to sleep because I CAN'T.  STOP.  THINKING.   Lying there for hours, exhausted, tired, wanting to go to sleep so desperately but unable to since my brain won't turn off.

It's quite enough to drive you batty... I can understand why sleep deprivation works so well when the military needs to soften up a prisoner for interrogation.

You may feel resentful and angry about having to wake him up, but consider what it might feel like to have been continuously jet-lagged for the last 25 years.  I can assure you, he's probably just as angry and resentful about having to be woken up.

Aside from seeing a sleep specialist about it (I've never been able to afford it), I'm not sure what else you can do.  There's the usual stuff...  Melatonin pills, white noise generators, exercise at a certain time, etc...  Some ADHDers around here report having an easier time getting to sleep and staying asleep by taking a small booster dose of meds in the middle evening.  For some of us, it helps quiet our pinball machine brains down.   I've tried taking my meds later in the day a few times to see if it made a difference, but didn't have any luck with it.

Good Luck.



I've read about possible

I've read about possible links with sleep apnea and ADD.  I know my hubby has apnea, though I can't get him to get officially evaluated.  Prior to our ILYB conversation, I had the appt scheduled & he would've gone.  But now that I'm practicing the "not your mother" part, it's essentially never going to happen.

Hello fellow frustrated wife!

Hello fellow frustrated wife! I can completely sympathize. My hubby has major sleep issues...though they differ slightly from your husband's. My hubby doesn't want to sleep. He will actually stay awake because he says he thinks better at night or at the base line, says he just isn't tired. He goes through the week on 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night. He is going to school now so it has caused a lot of frustration from me. I'm worried he will fail his courses because he's always late or just doesn't get up to go to class. He makes good grades, so I don't know what will happen. I started out calling him multiple times in the morning to make sure he is up, but as you mentioned, that is not our job. So I've stopped. I've just had to accept that if he fails, he fails. He can take the classes over. Maybe it will be the shot in the arm he needs.

He does say that being on meds (he's not on any right now) helps him sleep better. That when they "run out" he's ready for bed. He keeps saying he's going to get back on the meds, but he's canceled two Dr's appts in a row because he couldn't get up and get there. Sigh. My hubby also has sleep apnea, but he doesn't wear his C-Pap mask. Also he was diagnosed with delayed sleep phase disorder before the ADHD diagnosis. I personally think it's the sleep phase thing over sleep apnea. What good will a mask do if he can't even make himself lay down?

If your husband is oversleeping, he may need to be evaluated for a sleep disorder. My hubby can't take any sleep meds or he won't wake up at all, so that's not an option for us.

I know where you're at. It's scary as heck to think if you don't get him up, he's going to be late for work, he could get fired, etc. Been there, done that. It's hard to let go too because where would you be if he lost a job, right? When hubby was working, it was a tug-of-war every morning. He would be combative (he threw a pillow at me once) and it would usually deteriorate into a screaming match (which got him up...but I digress). He used to be a cop and did extremely well on the 3rd shift. He still got let go for being late, but that was before he was diagnosed. He would get up but then he would get distracted by the little things around the house, lose track of time, etc.

Hang in there. My only tips are to try to get him on the meds and wake him up an hour in advance and make him take one. By the time he needs to get up, the meds would have hit his system. That worked fairly well for my hubby in the past. :-)


My darling as well

My man also has ADHD and troubles to sleep, and to get a good rest. Yes he has the problem to wake up.

This is my first post. I seem to be unable to write my comment fully enough and short enough. I struggle to write this because I am not willing to complain over what I find simply personality features. I do not want people reading to understand me wrongly. I have no trouble about him spending time on his computer, at his projects. I do too. I enjoy to spend late night with him. I love to stay long in the bed in the morning with him. I love him being almost too strait and direct. I find he is very helpful, caring and loving - because he does have the consideration to do so - as I do have disability preventing me from working. But I also am worried - like said; especially about his sleeping problem. Well I should say, problem to not feel rested.

For some the issue is that things seem to be hardly gotten done. I see it too. It takes long, the fact that he does not feel rested makes him feel like it is useless to try to get the things done, cause there is already now no real time to do the relaxing things and the important things. Well part of that is his work being bit crazy due to the hours. Not much office hours free to go to do those everyday life things, which I cant go to do myself.

My medication prevents me from driving in this country and I cant walk that far. To take taxi would become too expensive eventually. And no I do not have friends to take me around, besides I do not speak the language. (Also forgive me any typos English is not my language either.)

My man gets lost to his project, our hobby - and forgets to go to sleep. I do sometimes too. And sometimes I am too much tired, painful to wait for him to come too. I do try to always lure him to come with me. He does have responsibility to generally come, if I do this. The thing I do is to not treat him like he has ADHD or anything. I join to his life some, but also do my own things. It is not about making it more able for him to not do as he should - but simply not constantly explaining to him what to do and when.. and thus making him feel like I am treating an illness and not him. 

Yes we know that staying up might make it bit more difficult to wake up in mornings. But it is not the main issue. He actually does have ability to grab his neck and go to do - funny though, sometimes it happens just when I am about to hug him - lol - it just does not happen everyday and as often as other people may do the same. In some way it also is about trusting that he does - I make the effort to do so. I find it works in a bit slow way but it does mostly. How ever - the issue remains and  IS his inability to get restful sleep.

Maybe I should have started with the way he seems to me in mornings - to better not rush from many subjects to one and over again. Sry, if my writing is bit multi layered, but I myself am not good at centering my mind to one subject. When he finally gets out of bed (usually it is around same time than I do, cause I have pains that demand a lot of relaxing to be maintained, and because I really do love to rather stay there with him than wash the floor or something like that). But for him waking up seems to be like he jumped on floor of ice (I just feel like I already ran the marathon while sleeping). Yes the apartment floor is cold in winter, but the point is that - for an hour or so my man will stare at a wall, floor or something. Sweetly enough he has began to put his head to rest on my tights for a while between cups of coffee. It how ever is like he was bit frozen. He will drink a ton of coffee to get started. 

He often stares at walls anyway, but especially in the mornings. I have sometimes hard time being inventive enough to manage to lure his eyes on me just to make him see a pair of shiny loving eyes in the morning instead a dull wall. 

That is the best description my approach. But I do not do that to treat his ADHD - I do it for me as well, to see him smile back. I will try to make him look at a smiling me, no matter how hard the morning is for me - so that he will feel lighter. It is very important for me. Before in bed, I will massage his neck, or any other part of his body to help him relax. I will cuddle him for a moment both at evening and morning - just because it feels good for me too. If we had an intimate moment, I will let him sleep a little bit after. In fact those moments in morning and evenings are my favorite and I tell him so. Best part of the day for me - so on that bases I always hope he will come to share it with me and go to bed early enough. And like said, generally he does. Apparently he loves his bed ^^. (Come to think - maybe too much - lol.)

But as I am retired and I do not need to wake up early to go to work - I do not always remember to consider this and evening might become bit too long. The point always remains - even if we go to bed in good time. Even if we sleep - and manage to have at least 8 hours of rest. Even then my man is unable to feel rested in the morning. His job is physically straining enough so he should be able to sleep easily. Actually he does fall a sleep, but then too many times it wont last full night. He will tell me he did not sleep cause he got stuck to thinking things.

I have told him to wake me up if he is not able to sleep at night because he has started to think about things. I can do that as I am retired. But I think he stay awake more than he will do to wake me up. He just can not feel very rested.

The only times when I see total transformatin about this is when he comes for vacation to my country of origin. Then he finds himself far enough, then he is almost faster out of bed than me. But the trouble about waking up seems to also come in intervals - sometimes he wakes up earlier than I do. Still it has not changed the fact that he seems to be unable to feel rested while the everyday life is at hand, going to work especially.

I know I repeat that one thing over again. Ability to feel rested. But I do because it is so very essential. I am rather at loss about how to find ways to help him feel rested.

I have had depression my self. I still have some bit to do to keep that kind of way of thinking with in boundaries. I can see it in him, lurking inside this. I am very worried. I would love to get more ideas as to how to find some way to help him find at leas some restful sleep. A smile in morning is very powerful tool - but it cant change everything. We can not afford to fly to my country of origin every weekend. He seems better when we have his child with ous (from previous relationship) - but we cant have that all the time, even if I would enjoy it too. Yes I have an idea bout how to make it possible for his child to be with us more - it even would be possible shortly - but that too I fear, would not change the fact that he has trouble to feel rested.

He has once told me that my job is to be happy. I am with him. Yet it affects my ability to feel good, when I am worried for him. It really is essential in my own heart that I can feel that I am in some way making his life easier. So does anyone there have any suggestions more about how to help a person relax who has problem to not feel rested?

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Been on this road for a while already


"He's 30 years old--I shouldn't have to wake him up in the morning to get to work on time."  You are absolutely correct.  An occasional reminder if he overslept, or the alarm didn't go off, etc., falls under the heading of being a good and caring wife.  Continually feeling it is your responsibility to 'make him get up' and 'make him' do just about anything. . . . . . will just turn into more resentment for you, and start you down the road into a parent/child relationship with your spouse.  I am currently working hard to undo years of bad habits I got into, by thinking I was being The Good Wife.  In actuality I was trying to control things I had no business controlling.  I could not make him be the partner I wanted.  He still has the opportunity to choose to BE the partner I need. 

He does need to be in charge of his own life.  And feel the consequences if he is not.   

As with many things here in the forum, it all reads easy . . .but works very, very hard.  

Took me a good long time to get my own brain sorted out.  And I still got more to sort.



sleep apnea, adhd and fatigue

lotsofsleep, My ADHD husband has sleep apnea. When we first got married I noticed that my husband snored TERRIBLY LOUD, was fitful in his sleep tossing and turning, destroying  the bed covers, and would also fall asleep during the day every time he say down. He would also nod off while driving which scared the HECK out of ALL of us. He went to the doctor and was given a "sleep test". It was discovered that my husband was actually "waking up" at least 91 times an hour without even noticing it. Plus he wasn't getting into his full REM sleep. And THAT is what was causing the extreme fatigue during the day. Compounded by the undiagnosed and untreated ADHD, with his hyperactivity and staying up until 3am every morning, forcing himself to stay awake to "feed" his ADHD impulses, he was a walking time bomb. The driving though was the WORST, because if he was driving, I was constantly nudging him to "wake up". It's a MIRACLE we weren't killed.

    Anyway, the Doctors gave him a C-Pap machine to help him breathe, and for the first time EVER, my husband actually SLEPT through the night. In fact, he slept so HARD the first night, that his body looked like it had "MELTED" flat down into the sheets. (he was so relaxed) I had never seen him that way before. And also, the snoring STOPPED. I had to start sleeping in another room while the snoring was at it's worse, because I couldn't sleep either.  (AND, I could STILL HEAR HIM downstairs)

   Also, my husband had a very bad deviated septum, and had to have sinus surgery. The ENT said there were huge bone spurs in his sinus area and that ALSO was causing some of the headache and sleep issues as well. (he also had migraines) The surgeon didn't go up into the upper sinus though, and we BOTH know she didn't FINISH the job, because he still has pain in the upper sinus cavity area.

     He hasn't slept with his C-pap machine for a few years now, and I know he still needs it, because his sleep is SO FITFUL. The bedsheets and blankets are torn up in the morning, and I have to remake the ENTIRE bed every single day. (not just straighten it) And he is up and down all night long from headache as well as the sleep problems.

   It might be good if your husband talks to his doctor about sleep apnea. It's a VERY COMMON problem, and easily treatable. It would explain the heavy fatigue. No amount of HOURS of sleep will help him "catch up" on his sleep if he isn't getting the DEEP sleep he SHOULD be getting. If you look it up on the web, you'll find tons of info on it.

Also, I wanted to add that BEFORE he got diagnosed with the sleep apnea, I went through YEARS of him "hitting the alarm button" a dozen times, getting yelled at because I "didn't get him up on time" and then him rushing around like a crazy person yelling "I'm late, I'm late, help me get around".  He was grouchy and complained all the time about everything. Those years were unbelievable, I cried A LOT because of the stress of being pushed to the limit. I myself was only getting 4 hours of sleep a night because of him. He would complain if I went to bed before him, but after so many years of  trying to stay up so that we could go to bed "together", I just couldn't take it anymore. I went to bed anyway.  The undiagnosed ADHD when he was younger was absolutely off the charts. He's slowed down some just because he's pushing 60 and his body is slowing down, but when he doesn't take his ADHD meds, the symptoms are much worse. He REALLY appreciates the medication now, because he can focus so much better when he takes it.


Sleep apnea.

My Dad has sleep apnea and I remember him snoring like sawing logs when I was a child. I could also hear it downstairs.  My Dad has no ADHD. 

My man does have ADHD, but he not snore like that - even though he does too. I am also, indeed worried about his ability get rest. He does not - it is right - no amount of sleep helps. Change of country does for some reason - lol - vacation. He has ADHD and he does not take medication. He has wonder himself if he may have sleeping apnea, and he asked me if he snores. He does a bit, but I might be enough used to snoring that I do not find it disturbing.

I suppose it should be tested about, but I think he wont find time for going to tests. Pity really - because, even though I do not find him sleeping while driving - he indeed is very tired all the time. Tired in a way it does not help if one sleeps - that can happen due to depression too. I know it for my own experience, and so I dearly wish no such thing ever touch my beloved. 

I almost hope the explanation would be sleeping apnea. I think he does not often have dreams, or remember them - as it is so rare that when he does have one he will tell about it. So I too kind of wonder if it would be due to lack of deep sleep.. because if I remember right that is when one dreams. Well I am not a doctor to give diagnosis about one or the other.

I think this is caused by Depression....not ADHD


was wondering if anyone else had problems with an ADHD spouse and sleep habits. I know it sounds totally crazy, but my husband is constantly tired. He can sleep 9 or 10 hours and still complain of exhaustion. He can sleep through his alarm--for over an hour. He has trouble getting out of bed earlier than 8:30 or 9 am.



My sibling, a therapist, and I have long had this conversation.  She agrees with me that many of those who can't get out of bed in the morning, even after sleeping 8+ hours, still complaining of exhaustion, have depression.