Problems Settling Down to Sleep

My husband is the ADHD one in our marriage.  I've been close to "done" many times, but I also took vows and we continue with our mantra that "divorce is not an option."  Married for almost 21 years, together for 26+.  Two teenagers, a dog, and two cats.  He was diagnosed in 2004.

Biggest problem *right now* is getting him on anything closely resembling a functional sleeping pattern.  He stays up late (wee hours), gets up early to deliver kid(s) to school, comes back home, has a large breakfast, and then goes back to bed for several hours.  He then picks up kids from school, and once they're home he's distracted with their needs, trying to get himself focused on something, and the next thing ya know it's time for dinner, a little evening TV, and then we do it all over again.  He says he can't settle his mind down until the rest of us go to bed and leave him alone.  Then he either watches TV or plays cards on the computer for two or more hours until he feels his brain slowing down.  I've read, and we've discussed, the fact that screen time is super-stimulating to the ADHD brain, but he continues to do it.  If one of the kids gets up and has a question or needs something, he becomes absolutely incensed (a common response to even the littlest things). His "winding down" clock starts all over and it's another hour or so before he decides he's ready to go to bed.  The he does some sudoku puzzles once he's in bed, so he can wind down some more.  This vicious cycle leaves him depleted and unable to accomplish much of anything.  Obviously he does not work outside the home.  That's a story for another time.

So, my question is if it's legitimately possible for an ADHD brain to take 2 hours to settle down enough to sleep?  Are there any proven techniques to help him be able to calm down in 15-30 minutes instead of two hours?  Am I being completely snowed here and he's just letting his ADHD run him?

Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated!


Maybe yes, maybe no.

I will tell you my experience with this issue...

For years my husband worked from home and had horrible sleeping habits/hours. Was up until long after everyone else was in bed, then slept until 2 or 3...I hated it. It really took a toll on the 'feeling' of being married, never hardly sharing a bed together. He went back to work locally 8-5 and it took him months to be able to readjust his internal time clock. If you read about the circadian rhythm it will make more sense as to why this is probably happening to him this way.

For months my husband had to take herbal sleep pills (with valerian root, melatonin, chamomile) or drink Sleepytime Extra tea (using 2 tea bags) to get to sleep. He would still lay in bed for 1-2 hours watching TV (which I have heard is bad to keep the mind stimulated as well), but he would at least manage to get to sleep before 12 or 1. He would typically be in bed by 10 or 11. Now that he takes Vyvanse for his ADHD, he can barely hold his eyes open past 10 or 11. Again, it took months for his body to readjust to the YEARS of sleeping in an unusual pattern, but it can be done. The pills helped ease the transition, as did the tea.

He is stuck in a pattern, just like people who go to bed at 9 p.m. and are up at 5 a.m. Could be several reasons why he chooses this pattern, but that would be something you'd have to figure out with his help. If he likes the time to himself after everyone else is in bed, then it may be something he's doing for a reason. The fact that he becomes irate if one of the kids gets up leads me to believe he's choosing this time for himself (making it easier to stay up late by taking his 'after breakfast nap').

Having said all of this, there are situations where ADHDers just do not sleep well or require long periods of sleep. For my husband, those were always followed by a big crash...emotionally and physically. Also, sleeping when it is dark outside is important for the normal body chemisty and the natural release of melatonin. I have always personally experienced major sleep problems at night if I slept at all during daylight hours.

Sleep Habits

Thanks for your reply, Sherri. 

Interestingly enough, DH talked to his mother today and she suggested melatonin and/or valerian, and he agreed to give it a try.  This bugs me only a little because MIL has always tried to "counsel" us on health, our obesity, food choices, etc., and has been rather judgmental and condescending about it at times.  She reads every article about this or that and decides it's gospel and it must work.  He finally got to a point a few years ago that he just basically told her to knock it off, and she eventually did.  Well now she has some good advice and he was open to receive it; I'm going to take the high road here and just be glad he's open to new ideas, and see where it leads - hopefully to some restful sleep and new routines!

I tried Melatonin, but never

I tried Melatonin, but never got any results. I went on Buspar about two weeks ago for anxiety and it seems to help. It took about 3-4 days to "kick-in" though.