I know you’ve heard before that you should…
- get enough sleep.
- eat nutritious meals.
- drink plenty of water.
What if you also thought of these as a means to treat your ADHD and make things easier? Yes, easier.
Would you want to invest more time and energy trying to improve in these areas?
While medication can form the cornerstone of a treatment plan for ADHD, expanding your notion of what it means to treat your ADHD can open up the doors to include other options.
Step through the threshold and see what is possible..
What Can Water Do For Your ADHD?
Our brains are 85% water, and so depend on sufficient water to function well. More specific to ADHD, water facilitates the production of the neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine and norepinephrine, that are necessary for better executive functioning.
Taking care of your brain is one of the keys to managing your ADHD. With ADHD you already have challenges in being able to attend and focus clearly when you want.
When our brains have the amount of water it needs it will enhance our ability to think clearly, faster and focus better. But without enough water these functions are compromised.
That is, without enough water, your ADHD symptoms, including challenges with focus and attending, will be further exaggerated.
How To Get Enough Water?!
The common recommendation is drink 1/2 of your weight in ounces every day. That is a lot of water! And most people I talk to find it a real challenge to drink that much. I know I do!
Here are few suggestions to get you started…
- Set a goal. If the recommended amount seems too ambitious in the beginning, try setting a goal that seems doable. Maybe try half that amount for a few weeks. Build up to it.
- It is easier to build a habit when you can see your progress. Using an app, like Beeminder or Waterlogged can help you keep track.
- As an adult with ADHD, out of sight is out of mind. So, make sure your water is visible. One way to do this is by using a liter bottle. Filling it 2-3x during the day may be a good way to keep track, too.
- Link it with other habits / transitions to make it easier to follow through. You could have a glass when: you get up, with every meal, when you brush your teeth, when you take your meds, when you go to sleep, etc.
See what works for you…
Your ADHD Brain On Not Enough Sleep
We also know that the results of lack of sleep can mirror ADHD Symptoms. So, when you are operating on a sleep deficit, your brain is not operating optimally and…
- it is challenging to focus and attend
- your memory is impaired.
- it is difficult to make decisions.
- regulating your emotions can be more difficult.
Sounds much like your ADHD challenges, right? So, lack of sleep magnifies your ADHD symptoms.
At the same time your ADHD (and medication, if you are taking any) can affect your ability to sleep well.
So, how do you untangle this?! One step at a time… If you are experiencing sleep issues, the key is to look at the whole picture and address each piece in order to best manage your ADHD symptoms.
Start by checking out ADHD and Sleep: Are You Getting A Good Night’s Sleep? to find out what you can do to address your specific sleep issues.
Feeding Your ADHD Brain
Water and sleep are easy to wrap your head around, right? Maybe not easy to follow through, but you get what you need to do.
When it comes to nutrition, it can be a bit more challenging to figure out the best course of action. You may have heard a lot on diet and ADHD. Eliminate this. Take this supplement. But really scientific research is limited and inconclusive.
And yet, if you pay attention to it, eating right can help you to manage your ADHD symptoms.
If you are just starting to think about creating a diet that can help you manage your ADHD symptoms, there is enough credible evidence to suggest that…
- eating the recommended amount of protein can enhance your ability to be more alert and focused, especially at times of the day when this is more difficult.
- consuming complex carbohydrates (whole wheat, brown rice…), which are broken down more slowly, can provide a more steady supply of energy needed to help focus, provide a calming effect and may aid in sleep.
- eating fewer simple carbohydrates, like white flour and anything that contain a lot of sugar is important. It can cause your energy level to be erratic and is broken down quickly so you don’t have it later for when you need it.
So, start with the above. Once you get a handle on the above “basics,” you may be interested in exploring other way to manage your ADHD with nutrition.
As ADHD expert Dr. Richard Sogn points out, “whatever is good for the brain is likely to be good for ADHD.”
There are so many ways to take care of your brain for your overall health, as well as a means of managing your ADHD symptoms.
Water, sleep and nutrition are just three. Once you implement these I bet you will notice a difference in your symptoms.
My hope is that you will continue to expand your notion of what it means to treat your ADHD. If you are ready to explore this now, look at Complementary and Alternative Treatments For ADHD .