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My ADHD Journey and Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Recently, I had a jam-packed weekend that tested my ADHD knowledge as a coach and parent. We threw a lively family event with over 20 guests without days off. The following day was Mother's Day, which has been especially hard since my mom passed away 7 years ago. This made the day more emotional, especially since I had to handle a difficult situation with my ADHD-afflicted six-year-old daughter.


As an ADHD dad, I forgot to prepare my wife's Mother’s Day gift, so at the last minute, I asked my daughter to help me prepare the gift! Since we were celebrating my wife's side of the family’s Mother's Day at our house, the guests had started opening the gifts without my daughter being at the table! Missing her mom’s and grandmother's gift opening caused her a major meltdown. She struggles to manage emotions at her age because her executive function skills are still maturing. She and her family felt emotionally exhausted that day. I was fatigued by the end. Even after a long weekend, I didn't want to sleep. Commitments and heavy emotions had consumed my weekend, leaving me desperate for personal time. Normally, around 10:30, our Alexa notifies me that it's time to go to bed. Once I heard Alexa go off, I looked at the watch and continued scrolling like nothing was going on. Around 12:30, I started to notice that I was having a hard time going to bed. I paused, pondered, and I asked myself. What am I doing?!?


Of course, I was struggling with revenge procrastination! Revenge bedtime procrastination is more than just poor sleeping habits. It's a cry for assistance, reflecting the lack of personal time and mental breaks throughout the day or weekend. Unfortunately, this results in a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation, which affects our assistance and exacerbates ADHD symptoms!


I had to remind myself of the tools and tactics I teach as I stayed up late browsing through my phone. This personal challenge underscored the importance of practicing what we preach. To handle the situation, I used the inventive tools I recommend:


Visual and Auditory Assistant: I utilize my ALEXA to make my environment sleep-friendly. ALEXA sets a reminder every night around 10:30 pm: “Roozbeh, it's time for bed!” It starts playing relaxing music and, lastly, dims the lights, reminding me that it is time to go to bed!


Guided Nightly Meditations: Some apps, like "Calm," could offer a variety of guided meditations focused on themes such as releasing the day's stress, gratitude, or preparing for sleep. These sessions can vary in length to accommodate different schedules, from quick 5-minute relaxations to deeper 30-minute sessions.


Bedtime Stories for Adults: Following the model of apps like Calm, Evening Ease can include bedtime stories designed for adult listeners. These stories, read in soothing voices, can transport the listener away from the day’s stresses and into different worlds, easing them into sleep.


 


This weekend showed us that while we can't control our days, we can control our nights. These techniques helped me healthily recover my personal time, reaffirming the value of self-care, especially for those of us with ADHD who are grieving huge losses like a loved one.

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