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Women with ADD/ADHD This forum is for women to discuss issues related to being a woman with AD/HD.

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Old 02-21-08, 10:45 PM
lurunning lurunning is offline

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Sleep and Adderall XR

Just wondering what kind of experiences people have had with falling asleep at night. I have read that one of the major side effects of adderall XR was trouble falling asleep. Before taking adderall I've always had sleeping problems (falling asleep and waking up 4-5 times per night since elementary school) but now that I'm on adderall, it seems like I have been sleeping better. (Still have a few nights here and there that aren't perfect, but I have seen a fairly significant improvement in falling and staying asleep). I realize Adderall is a stimulant...maybe it is completely worn off by the time I go to bed? Not really sure. Anyway, just curious what relationship you have with sleep and Adderall XR.

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Old 11-27-09, 06:16 PM
Dr John Dr John is offline

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Re: Sleep and Adderall XR

Hi Dana,

If you want to skip the details: there is an established connection between use of stimulants to treat ADHD and a positive sleep response.

Actually, the term "stimulant" is a bit of a misnomer. In my practice, I tend to explain that stimulants, when taken as prescribed, and when they work as they should (about 75-80% chance for a given medication), "Stimulate focus, attention, ordered thinking, and even relaxation." (In fact many adults are misdiagnosed with Anxiety disorders and actually have ADHD instead.)

As to your question about sleep, a very well done recent study (free of commercial bias/grants from drug companies) actually tested sleep quality in people with ADHD off then on therapeutic stimulant doses (insomnia and/or unrefreshing sleep is a common occurrence in untreated ADHD): The results were astounding: the overwhelming majority of patients with sleep difficulties off stimulants fell asleep on stimulants with a maximum delay of 30 minutes, if at all, reported fewer nighttime awakenings, and more restful, satisfying sleep. Their polysomnograms also showed much improved sleep quality. The current thinking is that the level of active dopamine in the brain has to reach a certain range during the day in order for the evening dropoff in dopamine to activate circuits in the brain stem that promote healthful sleep. Some people with ADHD do not reach an adequate level for them, and therefore have chronic sleep problems, often dating back to childhood. Since the perceived mechanism of action of stimulant medications is primarily to allow for additonal availability of dapamine to the brain, in can help relieve this problem for many people.

Yes, we often have to balance the amount of active stimulant in some people to induce this quality sleep, and some people are very sensitive to stimulant medications and have trouble sleeping no matter what, but about 1/4 of my patients actually report that if they take their stimulant before bedtime, it actually PUTS THEM TO SLEEP! How's that for unique, individual responses to medicines?
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Old 11-28-09, 11:37 AM
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Brookeslost Brookeslost is offline

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Re: Sleep and Adderall XR

Yes I totally fall asleep WAY faster and do not wake til Im suppose to whether it be the alarm/baby/3yr old, etc. I love it! I was so surprised how awesome it was just laying there and falling asleep right away....I have NOT done that in god knows how long! I would sit and my mind was all over the place thinking and listening to everything I could....getting up for the smallest things, and being so jealous my husband could just fall asleep so I too can fall fast asleep!
If you don't like your job, you don't strike! You just go in every day, and do it really half *****. That's the American way.
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