I HAVE ADHD PODCAST - Episode #261

April 30, 2024

The Episode All About Sleep

This episode is going all in on a spicy topic. That’s right, we’re talking about sleep. Or for some of you ADHDers, lack of sleep.

Do we know it helps us live a healthy life? Of course. But the practicality of getting ourselves to bed at a reasonable time is so hard. 

Before we can figure out HOW to improve our sleep though, we need to understand WHY sleep is hard for us. Trouble sleeping isn’t a symptom of ADHD, but the symptoms of ADHD (impulsivity, hyperactivity, time blindness, etc.) make it hard for us to wind down, relax, and sleep. For me, overworking led me to years of struggling to sleep. My nervous system was wired, like constantly. Of course, it affected my sleep.

When I taught on the subject of sleeping in my group coaching program FOCUSED last week, I heard from several members who resonated heavily with this topic. So, I decided to share that class on the podcast for those of you with the same challenges. I want you to feel seen, heard, and validated.

Whether you find yourself up late because you’re trying to cross things off your to-do list or those precious few hours at the end of the day are the only alone time you get, this episode is for you. I’m sharing exactly what you need to improve your sleep once and for all. 

If you find this podcast episode helpful and want to receive more coaching like this, check out FOCUSED. This program is perfect for you if you keep trying to conquer your ADHD symptoms but can’t quite figure it out, and you know you’re ready for some help.



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This totally free printable includes a psychologist-approved list of symptoms that adults with ADHD commonly experience. This could give you the answers you’ve been begging for your entire life.

Kristen Carder 0:05
Welcome to the I have ADHD podcast, where it’s all about education, encouragement and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carter and I have ADHD. Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor and challenges of adulting relationships working and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain, unlock your potential and move from point A to point B. Hey, what’s up, this is Kristen Carter, and you’re listening to the I have ADHD podcast, and medicated, I am caffeinated. I am regulated and I’m ready to roll. Today we’re talking about sleep. Why do ADHD or struggle with sleep? What can we do about it. And, as a bonus, I’m going to share to client conversations that we had around sleep. And I think these will be so helpful for you. Because what is coming up for these clients is something that is so relatable to the ADHD experience, I know you’re gonna connect with it on a deep, deep level, if you struggle to sleep, welcome to having ADHD, most of us do. And so I really just want to validate that experience. And let you know that you’re not alone. So many of us struggle with this, I share a bunch of tips on you know what I have found works for me. And then we have lots of conversations around the practicality of just getting our little behinds to bed at a quote unquote, reasonable time, whatever that is for us. So what I’m sharing with you today is a class that I did in my focus membership this morning, literally it just happened. And I’m sharing it with you because I know that it is so valuable. I know you’re going to connect with it. And you’re going to really, really feel seen, heard and validated. I want every single ADHD or listening to this podcast, to feel so understood. That’s what I want. We are so misunderstood by the world. But hear in this podcast space where we all have ADHD or at least suspect that we have ADHD, I want you to feel very much understood. And that’s all that this is about today. If you love what you hear, and you want more of this support, check out my coaching program focused it’s the place where adults with ADHD from around the world come together for coaching community and support. We have bingeable courses stored for you that you can just watch at your convenience. And we have live calls that you can participate in or engage with on the go in our exclusive members only podcast feed. This program is incredible. That is the most supportive environments for adults with ADHD and I would love for you to join us. So please enjoy this focused ADHD coaching membership call on the topic of improving sleep. So here are the things that I have found, whether with myself or with my clients that work well. When it comes to improving our sleep. The first thing that I want to say is we need to understand why sleep is so hard for us. That’s the first tip is really getting to the bottom of why is this so hard for me? What is it about sleeping? That’s so hard for me? And I’m curious as you consider that question what your answer might be. So for me personally, the reason why sleep was very hard for me is because I was overworking I’m just going to raise my hand and say I was an over worker. I was also constantly stuck in a state of hyper vigilance. And my nervous system was really wired, like really, really wired. And so I want you to understand that the way that your body feels, and your stress levels and all that goes into you as a person is going to affect your sleep. That is huge. I will tell you that after a couple years of therapy, understanding myself better understanding my stress levels, and working so hard to learn how to rest just like during the day. I’m actually sleeping a lot better at night. Like so much better at night. We struggle to transition then go to bed and relax and go to sleep because we don’t give ourselves enough time to relax during the day. For some reason, we think that we should just work work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, sleep. No, no, that is not how our bodies. That’s not how it goes. And so if that’s what you’re trying to do, and you’re like, dang, I’m just not sure why I can’t sleep. What I want to say is, is because you’re not giving yourself that downtime, that relaxation time, that rest time. So the list will never end. If you are a human being on the planet, the list of things to do to get done, it will never end. There is no point when you just feel done, unless you decide to be done. So if you’re waiting to rest, for that moment, when you’re like, I’m gonna feel done with my list. And once I feel done with my list, I will rest. That’s not a thing. Anyone like that is totally not a thing. People. Humans have lists that never end, the laundry never ends, the dishes never end, the kids needs never end, your workload never ends, the stuff to get done around the house never ends. And so if you are like, I just got to get this one thing done. I just got one more thing. One more thing. One more thing, one more thing, until 1011 12 At night, one, two, whatever it might be. And then you think, oh, I should just be able to transition from this from doing my lists to getting into bed. No, no, no, that’s not a thing. That’s not how it works. Or I could say it another way. How’s it working for you? Is it working? Because I don’t think I don’t think it is, it is your job to tell your brain that it’s time to be done. It is your job to just be like we’re done. Because the clock says 8pm. That’s why we’re done. The list is never going to end, what I encourage you to do is try to base your life around the clock, The clock can really be your friend. Now I know you are timelines. But I also know that you can set alarms that you can remind yourself, hey, it’s time to eat. Hey, now it’s time to rest. Hey, it’s time to eat again. Hey, it’s time to be done for the day. Carla just made an amazing point, which is she feels like she needs to earn her sleep. And I just want to validate that that is how a lot of people feel. I won’t even go so far as to say people with ADHD but just like humans in general, I think often feel like we need to earn our sleep. And I want to tell you that sleep is a basic human need. It is your right as a human to sleep, you do not need to earn it. Even if you do nothing all day long. And you sit on the couch and you just like eat ice cream and watch Netflix, you still are entitled to sleep at night you must must must. So good. I’m just reading your comments here. It is like having to hustle for your worthiness in order to sleep. Yeah, I think a lot of us are doing that. Joe says this is the first week that I’m calling at the end of the workday at 4pm. And not working on weekends. It’s so hard and I will validate it is so hard. We have this hustle culture. We have this culture of 24/7 availability for our clients. We have this culture of if I’m not working, then I’m not worthy. I want to encourage you to base your work time around the clock, meaning at 4pm I’m done no matter what. So on Tuesday, I tried to record a podcast and it would not come. It would not come out of me. The podcast like I tried over and over and it just would not come. I had nothing to show for my day. And yet, I ended at 4pm because I tried, I worked whatever the clock says for I’m done this was what I got done today, I realized that that podcast was not going to work.

That’s what I got out of the day. And I just kept telling myself like, that was my productivity is that realizing that like, that topic is just not going to work. But I didn’t have any product to show for it. My day ended at 4pm. Either way, because that’s what time my day ends. Truly getting more rest during the day, and giving yourself downtime can be so beautiful, and allow you to sleep at night. Here’s why. How many of you, how many of you stay awake late into the night, because it is your only time to yourself during the day. How many of you avoid going to bed because you have this thought, like, oh, well, I’m finally able to do what I want to do. I’m not gonna go to bed, I finally get some alone time, I’m not gonna go to bed, whether you’re working and serving your clients or your boss, whether you’re doing things around your house, whether you’re parenting your kids, it doesn’t matter. If there are demands that you are responding to over and over and over and over, and you’re constantly pouring out, pouring out, pouring out, pouring out, and then 10pm 11pm 12pm, whatever time comes, and you’re like, Oh, it’s my bedtime, whatever that time is, you’re not gonna want to go to bed, you haven’t had enough time to yourself. So for a lot of us, building in time to ourselves is actually the way to get us to go to bed. For a lot of us, giving ourselves free time during the day, or during the evening, taking that alone time that we are craving, but during waking hours will then allow our bodies to not resist transitioning to go to bed. So good. This requires a lot this requires disconnecting from work earlier, this requires not doing things for other people. It requires a time limit of like when you are willing or not willing to do things for other people. Now, of course, if you are parenting tiny, tiny humans, like you don’t have a choice, I’m sorry. Oh, you don’t have a choice. I’m sorry, you like, unless you want to hear child care, that’s fine. Or you can ask your partner, that’s fine. But like, of course, I know there are exceptions to the rule. But I want you to understand that the season. In general, if we can make sure that we have this time in our minds where it’s like, Okay, I am done. outputting for others, and we take some very selfish time for ourselves. And that was an intentional word selfish, I want you to start being selfish. And take some time for yourselves. I’m talking 234 hours, like a long time, you will so much easier transition to bed at the time that you deem your bedtime. All right, a lot of that selfish time, I encourage you to take it alone. Some of you are saying like, Finally when people go to bed, I feel like I can be myself I can unmask I can stop being perceived by others. Can you set up a situation for yourself? where that’s happening during waking hours? Can you go take some alone time? Can you go for a walk? Can you go for a drive? Can you leave your house if you need to? Can you go to another room? Yeah, I think that we need time to be alone. I will often go sit in my bed. So I will be away from all of the people and I will just go sit in my bed. I’m like I’m all done. I’m done being looked at and perceived and seen and observed. And nobody in my family has mal intent. But it’s still a pressure on me sometimes. So nine o’clock at night by I’m all done. I’m all done. And if I can be alone if I could have those two hours from nine to 11 of being alone, doing my own thing, enjoying whatever it is or maybe I’m like, like last night we watched survivor. It was lovely. But it was still Something I wanted to do that decompression time, huge. A very simple trick for me is getting ready for bed earlier. I shared this last week or on Monday, I’m going to share it again. Getting ready for bed earlier has really helped me to not get trapped on the couch at 1011 12 at night thinking, I don’t feel like washing my face, I don’t feel like taking my contacts out, I don’t feel like brushing my teeth, I often get stuck in that place. And it makes it so hard to transition makes it so hard to transition into bed. Because I there’s a barrier, it feels like a huge barrier, I have to do all of this stuff before I can get into bed. And I’m not someone who could just go to bed with my contacts in that, like hurts me. And so the whole like procedure, as Rachael is saying exactly the whole procedure of like the bedtime routine, if we could do that earlier, if you could do like dinner, and then your bedtime routine. And all you have to do is brush your teeth before you get into bed or not. If you do that your bedtime routine, amazing. Or, for me personally, I put my youngest kiddo to bed around nine. And while he’s brushing his teeth, what I say is, you go get ready for bed, and I’ll go get ready for bed. And I say those words out loud. He thinks it’s for him. But it’s not. It’s for me. I say them out loud for me. You get ready for bed, and I’ll get ready for bed. And then I go and I change my clothes. And I wash my face. And he inevitably is done before me. So he runs into my bed and he eats himself under the bed. And he snuggles in my bed while I finish up and then I piggy back into his bed. That is our little routine. And it is so perfect. Because now it’s 915 and I’m fully ready for bed. It’s amazing. And then I’m sitting on the couch, and I’m finally starting to feel a little tired. And finally. And now I can just walk my little butt from from the couch to the bed without the drama of like, there’s so much I have to do before I can get into bed to supplements that have worked for me personally, first of all, talk to your doctor. Second of all, I’m not a doctor third. Apparently, supplementing is stupid, but I think it’s great. I love melatonin that really works well for me. And I love magnesium. That combination has really helped me to have better sleep to feel more tired. So I I tried to take melatonin around like 8pm and then again at nine. And it’s helpful. Yeah. And Rachel says even if it’s just a placebo effect, who cares if it works, it works. I tried to do my magnesium supplement earlier as well. And it really helps me as a part of like a unwind process, I’m going to share that I have struggled with sleep since I was a child so much, so much. Even when I’ve been exhausted, I’ve had trouble sleeping. And I believe that was because my nervous system was in a state of hyper vigilance due to trauma. And so I tried all of the tips, and all of the tricks and nothing worked for me. Because I was very hyper vigilant. My cortisol levels would spike, I would get very hot. At a time where hot flashes were not appropriate. I would you know, be hot than cold than hot than cold. My mind would race I would be wired, I would just feel completely wired. And it took quite a bit of therapy to help me to understand what was happening and calm down. It took quite a bit of therapy and a lot of boundaries with people that I love. So I want you to understand that. If you are in a state of hyper vigilance, tips and tricks probably won’t work. And I just want to give you so much love and support and kindness. And I want you to know that when you are ready to start a therapy journey that really might be the answer might be the answer for you. I just want to let you know that like if you’re like yeah, I’ve tried everything and nothing works. I’ve been there. What I eventually started to do is drink a lot of red wine. So to be perfectly honest, I would drink a glass or two of red wine a night. And it was the one thing that helped me to go to sleep.

I am not advocating for that. It helped in the short term. And then it really interrupted my sleep in the long term. And since not drinking, my sleep has improved, so so so much. But for me personally, I want you to know that, that red wine was a tool. I didn’t have the tools that I needed to calm my nervous system to understand relational toxicity that I was involved with to understand how to calm down. So I used alcohol as a tool. And I don’t shame myself for that. Nothing else worked. I don’t shame myself at all, for using that as a tool. It was useful for me for that season. But what I want to say is if you are currently using alcohol as a tool, I understand I have been there. And what I want to ask is, do you want that to be your long term solution? Like that’s a really good question to reflect on, is this my long term solution? I think in the short term, it can be really useful, helpful, I think in the long term, it’s probably doing more harm than good. So personally, I have not been drinking in the last three to four months. And that’s an interesting process that we can talk about some time. But it has improved my sleep so much. So I’m no longer waking up in the middle of the night and just being awake for a couple hours. And because I’m able to implement other tools, I’m not in need of the alcohol anymore, which is a gift, a gift. All right, so getting more rest and downtime. So there’s not as much resistance, get getting ready for bed earlier, so that there’s not the transition resistance, implementing some work boundaries, and maybe personal boundaries, so that you are done at a certain time you’re done outputting at a certain time, whatever that time is for you. That’s amazing. Cutting down on alcohol if you want to taking supplements like magnesium, or melatonin if you want to, and creating some sort of rhythm, if possible, of like waking up at the same time. That’s not always possible for us. And I completely understand. But even just like eating, like having meals, maybe with other people at the same time, and starting your decompression time at the same time can be so helpful. I would absolutely love to coach you on your sleep. So if you have trouble sleeping, if you want some coaching on it, please raise your hand. And I would love to pull you up and go Jim it’s time for me to shout out the only sponsor of the I have ADHD podcast, which is ag one. Now it’s important to me that the supplements that I take are the highest quality. And that’s why for years like going on two years, I’ve been drinking ag one, ag one is constantly searching for how to do things better and like same. You know, like I want to do things better, too. And they’re at 52 iterations of their formula and counting. That’s a lot. That’s so impressive. Their team is always trying to find better ways to source and test and they aim to find the best quality ingredients available. I know that I can trust what’s in every scoop of ag one because ag one is listen to this. And NSF Certified for Sport, which I looked it up I did a Google because I was like what does this mean? It’s one of the most rigorous independent quality and safety certification programs in the supplement industry. It’s really impressive. Now taking care of my health as an adult with ADHD has always been complicated. It’s just hard. I’ve always struggled with it, but ag one simplifies it by covering my nutritional bases and setting me up for success in just 60 seconds. And some days it’s even less than 60 seconds like it is fast and easy. Ag ones ingredients are heavily researched for efficacy and quality and I love that every scoop also contains prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes for gut support, which we all know is important for the ADHD brain. Now I’ve partnered with ag one for so long, and they’re the only sponsor that I’ve allowed on this podcasts, because they make such a high quality product that I genuinely do not mind drinking every day. And when I say every day, your girl has been drinking it every day, I even took the travel packs with me on vacation recently, and was able to support my health while away, eating fast food every day. But like at least I had my ag one. So if you want to replace your multivitamin, and more, start with ag one, try ag one and get a free one year supply of vitamin d3 k two and five free ag one travel packs with your first subscription at drink. Ag one.com/i have ADHD. That’s drink ag one.com/i have ADHD. Check it out. Alright, Rachel, how can I help you?

Rachel 25:52
So I guess it feels like this is more of a procrastination issue than a sleep issue. Because I do have so many techniques or tools that I do use. And once I go to sleep, and I’ve used all my tools successfully, it’s not too much of a problem. But there’s definitely a sense of I put off my bedtime. A lot like really late and I think it’s because kind of all those things you mentioned earlier. But it’s mostly this sense that I haven’t spent my time well. And because I haven’t spent my free time. Well. Yeah, it’s like I haven’t I don’t feel fulfilled or satisfied. So I keep waiting. Like and staying awake longer or watching more TV or scrolling for another hour thinking like maybe I’ll I don’t I don’t actively think this but it’s like I’m waiting to feel satisfied or something.

Kristen Carder 26:53
Yeah, yeah. 100% This is so relatable. I’m so glad you brought this topic. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that. Okay, so is the most like, painful thought I didn’t spend my time well, or is there something else? So we’re, it’s like, maybe 10 o’clock at night? I’m guessing what time is it?

Rachel 27:15
It’s probably 10 or 11?

Kristen Carder 27:18
Okay, it’s 11. Let’s say it’s 11. It’s 11 o’clock at night you kind of like, or like, Oh, it’s 11. And then you have this like what’s the thought there? Is it? I didn’t spend my time? Well,

Rachel 27:30
yeah, it’s kind of like I didn’t spend my time well, this evening, this free time has just been so unfulfilling. And then once I go to bed, it will no longer be my free time, I’ll have to, you know, get up and go to work and, you know, do a bunch of stuff I don’t necessarily want to do or you know, that won’t be as like fun or satisfying.

Kristen Carder 27:55
Okay, so I didn’t spend my time well, and then the emotion is unfulfilled. Do you think?

Rachel 28:01
That’s definitely

in there? I find it hard to identify the emotion because I one thing I noticed through going through these different coaching modules and listening to the different calls is Yeah, I definitely have like, like avoidant habit of like examining my feelings. But then when I dive in, like on other topics, I’m like, Oh, I really am feeling you know, like, shame or something around other items. So thinking about this, it’s, it’s a little hard to like, yeah, pick out the emotion because I make myself so numb to it. And just kind of shrug it off. I’ve noticed the

Kristen Carder 28:44
and what’s interesting as you’re expressing that is that you are actually participating in numbing behaviors, aren’t you? Yeah, I think that’s really interesting. All right, well, that’s no problem. Let’s just guess, at what you think, is maybe the most prominent emotion so you’ve expressed a couple you’ve expressed unfulfilled or dissatisfied. You’ve expressed guilty. You’ve expressed frustrated which one? Oh, I’m disappointed disappointed as one two, which one feels like the heaviest?

Rachel 29:21
I guess? Maybe unfulfilled? Because, yeah, frustration feels a little bit too active. Maybe what I’m thinking like it is more of a depressive kind of way than a wah wah thing that’s working me up. Yeah, for sure.

Kristen Carder 29:37
Totally. Okay, perfect. So when you’re feeling unfulfilled, because you’re thinking I didn’t spend my time well, then what do you do in that moment?

Rachel 29:51
I just shut down. You know, I guess. Avoid. I don’t know, thinking about it or trying to do something about it because it kind of feels impossible in that moment, like, like up here. This is again, like on one hand, I don’t know what to do to change it. But like, it seems like the obvious answer is like, we’ll just do something, you know.

So yeah, I don’t know. Okay, so

Kristen Carder 30:18
what does that look like? What is avoiding it look like? Like maybe

Rachel 30:22
I will just be in the middle of scrolling on my phone. And I’ll just have the thought like, this is so unfulfilling. Why didn’t I just do something? And I’ll just like switch to a different app, and maybe their app is, you know, going to be the key and obviously never is.

Kristen Carder 30:40
Yeah, yeah. And then what are you not doing? Like

Rachel 30:45
all the things I wish I were doing? Is that like, what you’re referring to? I mean, it’d be Yeah. I could be doing the dishes, or

Kristen Carder 30:56
I don’t know what I mean, is so you’re feeling unfulfilled? Does that prevent you from doing anything? Like, what are you when you’re feeling unfulfilled? Does that emotion kind of prevent you stop you halt you from doing anything? Yeah,

Rachel 31:16
I think it can. I do think like, I get into a state of like judging myself, you know, feeling like I don’t know, what is going to be fulfilling, even though I know, certain things do give me you know, satisfaction when I actually get up the, you know, when I can actually start or get over the hump or whatever, you know. So,

Kristen Carder 31:40
to that you’re also not just letting what you’re doing be fulfilling,

Rachel 31:47
I guess.

I don’t know doing nothing is.

Kristen Carder 31:54
Sure, but sometimes, personally, sometimes I can just be like, This is what I want to do. Like, yeah, I’m, it’s brain rot. But it is my choice. And it is kind of like where I’m at. And this is what, what I want to do right now. Like, obviously, for some reason, my body just needs to rot. What does that bring up for you? I

Rachel 32:24
guess it’s bringing up that I do feel like I spend too much time in that state, although I am. So I was only diagnosed like seven months ago. And the medication half of that is still being worked out in Italy. Right now. I’m under medicated, but I’m like waiting for a new doctor change and then that, you know, whatever. And when I have been able to have some medication, coverage, speak into the evening has been better. So this could just be like, Oh, I’m under medicated.

Kristen Carder 33:02
So how does that feel? If you actually do accept that? I do sit with that just for a sec. Like, this is actually kind of what it looks like to have ADHD in the evening, and be under medicated. I

Rachel 33:18
think my brain is still hanging on to this story that like I thought was my story, which is like, You’re so lazy, you know, you’re so undisciplined, or, you know, does that kind of thing. And I in it, I keep kind of trying to figure out in my head, like, almost like, Where does the ADHD end? And where does like laziness begin? But I realized, like, maybe that is the wrong question. Like maybe there isn’t laziness or you know, I my brain is still trying to hang on to it, I think because Oh,

Kristen Carder 33:58
like, I could have just hugged you right there. I agree. I agree with you completely. I’m think laziness is a thing.

Rachel 34:09
Yeah, and it’s, maybe that’s where some of that frustration kind of came in. Because it’s not like I don’t want to do things. It just feels impossible.

Kristen Carder 34:21
And like, what if we accept that

for now accepting that, as you know, this is in laziness. This is just your brain. You know,

Rachel 34:40
I’ve always thought of my brain is like a car engine that just wouldn’t turn over like it’s just not starting, you’re turning the key and like nothing is happening. And that’s kind of how I described my symptoms to my doctor, but I, I do fall into this trap of thinking, well, it should just work or you should just be able to like push the car or something, but obviously it doesn’t, you know, doesn’t work. work most of the time. So,

Kristen Carder 35:01
yeah. And what I’m so curious about is like, what does it mean, to spend your free time? Well? Like, even that thought of like, I didn’t spend my free time Well,

what? What does that mean? When you say that?

Rachel 35:20
It’s true. It’s like, what does that mean? And I guess I have this impression in my head, that’s spending my time Well looks like, oh, well, you did all your chores, and your, you know, your house looks nice and neat, and, you know, cute and whatever, or you spent time working on your art projects, and you have all these completed art projects to show for it, you know, things related to your work? Yeah. Which is silly. I guess. That’s just what’s been programmed into my head and into a lot of people’s heads that being productive, somehow having something to show for your time. Yeah, is what makes it valuable or Yes.

Kristen Carder 36:02
Oh, I hate it. I hate it for all of

Rachel 36:06
us. So it’s like, I don’t know what what it looks like to be satisfied or fulfilled. If I’m not producing something, you know, hustling

Kristen Carder 36:16
for worthiness there. Okay, my love? What if scrolling on your phone for five hours after work is the perfect use of your time?

Rachel 36:34
It’s, it’s definitely hard for my brain to accept that as being perfect.

Kristen Carder 36:38
Did you function all day long, you got up and you put clothes on you and you went to work? I mean, in your home, but still. I know, you use your employer and your clients and your company and all of the things. And then you completed that. Now you get to do whatever you want. And what you’re drawn to right now is scrolling.

Rachel 37:06
Yeah, I guess, I guess thinking of it as this could be the thing I need in this current state of still figuring out, you know, the ADHD and the medication, and maybe it won’t look like this forever, but maybe it will and figuring out, you know, what the plan is, if that’s the case, I don’t know. Yeah, maybe maybe for right now the answer is, yeah, that’s, that’s what needs to happen.

Kristen Carder 37:36
Okay, yes. And if we’re not judging our free time as using it wisely, or using it unwisely, or, like, well spent, or not well spent, then we’re not so scared to pick something at the beginning of the night. That’s a

Rachel 37:57
really good point. Yeah, I’m like assigning value to the different things I have to choose from. And sadly, I’m probably also thinking like, oh, well, there are dishes in the sink. Even though you might want to paint. Well, the dishes are the more moral or valuable choice, because you should have a clean house before you do fun things or you know, like, gross,

Kristen Carder 38:20
you just worked on full day of work, go do something fun.

Yeah, I think you

do have a lot of rules.

Lot of rules.

Rachel 38:35
Yeah. And I think I’m not even necessarily actively doing that math. But I know, subconsciously, my brain is doing that math. And when I miss, like, freezing instead, yeah.

Kristen Carder 38:47
And so then you’re scrolling, which makes so much sense because first of all, your brain is tired, you have output it all day long. You do need that like whitespace, downtime brain rot. What you’re saying, though, is like I wish I would spend it on something a little more fulfilling. But the act of choosing something is so scary because you’re assigning so much moral value to your time. And so I think that the where you start to unpick This is dropping the morality around it. And like just working on like, however I choose to spend my time in the evening is the perfect way. I’m going to follow my own instincts, I’m going to follow like, if I want to scroll, I’m going to scroll knowing that that’s not going to be your life forever. But if we can just start to drop the morality around it and then the judgment will come at 11pm. And then you’re going to coach yourself on that you’re gonna say, Hey, I hear you. But there is actually no rule about this. My free time belongs to me. And I get to do what I want. And so I feel satisfied. I’m going to choose I’m making a choice. That coaching is Hard work, you might need to come to Slack a couple times, you might need to schedule some coaching. Like, that’s hard work. Because listen, if you can choose that, like, this is fine, I will allow it, the judge says, accepted. I feel satisfied with this, then you can go to bed. You’re gonna get a decent night’s sleep. You’ll be ready for work the next day. And you’re going to set yourself up to maybe have a tiny bit more bandwidth. Tomorrow night. Yeah, yeah,

Rachel 40:37
cuz the shortage of sleep. Makes all of that so much harder, and it just compounds and doesn’t fit better. Exactly.

Kristen Carder 40:46
Yeah, right, lady? What is your biggest takeaway? Like, what do you feel like you’re going to be leaving with in your hand?

Rachel 40:55
Definitely. Talking myself through the kind of false impression that the different ways I could possibly spend my time have any meaning whatsoever? And no inherent value? And what I it’s what I’m thinking about them that makes them feel that way. So good. So good. Yeah. To say doesn’t matter. Yeah. Love. Alright,

Kristen Carder 41:25
go do it. proud of them. Alright, sending you back. Honey, I want you all to know that I do not thing after work immediately into comfy clothes. And like, Yes, I Uber my kids around to places, but I’m not being creative. I’m not usually not even reading on the days that I’m outputting at work, my brain is rotting at night. That’s all that I have the capacity for. Now, that might sound horrible to you. But I guess I just want to give you a permission slip. And I just want to say you’re allowed to just sit on the couch and watch reruns of Brooklyn nine nine like I do, and hang out with your kids as they walk in and out of the kitchen to get a snack like I do non work things on the days that I’m not working. I do have a partner who’s very involved. So that’s a lot of privilege right there. So I do want to acknowledge that. And I don’t mind certain places in my home being messy. I don’t mind that the laundry piles up. I just get it done in the days that I’m not working. Okay. Laurie.

Laurie 42:44
Sleep has been a problem for me, for my whole life. I remember as a toddler, dreading naps, I remember, as a toddler, like not being able to fall asleep at night, I remember all through elementary years laying in bed for hours and all of that stuff that you’ve talked about in some of the lessons where you’re like, just ruminating on the fewer hours that you’re getting and the stress and then the exhaustion in the morning and 100% up a whole lifetime issue. So I don’t even know what to say or ask about that. Because I know all the different recommendations. I know for myself when it comes to bed time. There’s some trauma piece of this that I have in therapy right now. So I became a night owl by like, that’s when I could think and focus and concentrate and get my work done. Also, I was too tired to be like anti pantsy in and out of my seat. Because it was the end of the day, tired enough to be able to sit down and do my homework. So I became a night owl. In middle school. I pulled all nighters. I started all nighters in eighth grade,

Kristen Carder 43:55
gosh, sweetheart. So

Laurie 43:59
I do feel like now I’m 52 I can’t stay up late. And I have health issues. So I really am supposed to be getting to sleep. But I do have this sense of like, what I could just get this done. I could just get that done or there’s like I still need there’s still so much that I’ve done that needs to get done. So my brain doesn’t want to turn off. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 44:21
Okay, so I’m so glad to hear that you are working with a therapist. thank the good Lord. That’s wonderful. And I believe that as you on cover all of the things and you’re able to really see your story for what it truly was. And learn those tools that a therapist can teach you on like calming your nervous system and just helping your body to feel safer. I do believe that you will continue or begin to get better at calming down, but what I want to chat with you about is this thought of like, I just need to get one more thing done. Tell me about that. Like, when’s the last time that you can remember having that thought like, last night? Was it there? Okay, tell me about last night. So what happens?

Laurie 45:22
So I’m very behind. Okay.

Kristen Carder 45:24
And also, I thought, Yeah,

Laurie 45:27
I heard you talk about that

I can’t get good. And

I’ve been persistently behind my whole life. Okay, so we’re just chronically behind I am. And in a way, it was a safe place to have homework to do, I could go to my own little room and do my work. So it really wasn’t a reward to get within any reward reward to get done your work, because there was always going to be more work. And we didn’t learn how to relax and my husband and I are talking. We don’t have this is embarrassing, but we don’t really have fun, we make fun. But we don’t like create opportunities for fun, like our weekends are catching up on work. And we don’t like carve out time for dates, and activities like we should we, we brought our kids places and we go to our kids event shop, you know, they’re on sports aren’t we have five kids in there? 13 to 22. So, two are in college. So it’s actually easier than it used to be. Yeah, yeah. But that’s the fun, we make fun out of what we have. But we really should be creating other. We want to be creating other fun moments, but we never are done with our work. We My husband doesn’t have ADHD or focus issues, but he’s also behind.

Kristen Carder 46:50
So it sounds like overworking has been just a part of both of your lives. Is that something that you’re also talking about in therapy? As a coping, and trauma response, okay, maybe we also just bring that up with our therapist.

Laurie 47:12
Yeah. Yeah, kinda wish she had a better, she’s good. She’s really good. But I don’t think she like to, like, get into the label of ADHD or acknowledge, ADHD or know like, so that’s kind of a bummer to me. But I really liked her and the other stuff. And

Kristen Carder 47:28
if she’s good with trauma, if she’s like, excellent. With trauma, we’ve got you on the ADHD stuff. But so that’s why I want you to evaluate her. Is she talking about trauma responses? Is she talking about? Okay, because overworking can be a form of a trauma response.

Laurie 47:50
Yeah, we just didn’t get into that yet. But we did to start a couple weeks back, like,

Kristen Carder 47:56
wonderful. She’s still establishing connection and all of that. And she did

Laurie 48:01
do some of the like, thought feeling cycle, which is like your sphere, I think it’s kind of similar to CBT if they’re just CBT thing. So I recognized like the similarity when I was learning about your stairstep. So we do talk a little bit about that.

Kristen Carder 48:19
Good. Okay. And, yeah.

Talk to me about this always behind situation. I think that if we could just eliminate that, if I could just pluck it. You could just hand it to me. And I just trash it.

Laurie 48:39
Yeah, in my mind. I have like, you know, say like, six to eight chunks of things that need to get done. And in my mind when they’re done, I won’t be behind anymore.

Kristen Carder 48:52
But you mean, no, you will. Here’s the thing. That is exactly what I mean. And I want you to know that that’s not actually reality. Like all of us are behind, we all have things we have to do. We all have things hanging over our head. We all have things that it’s just like, oh, just one more thing. Just one more thing. Just one more thing. What I would love is for us to work on like I’m not behind this is just being human. The get the list piles up because I’m human, the laundry piles up because I’m human. Not because I’m behind the work piles up because there’s always work. There’s ever not work. Yeah, I think you think there’s this magical place where things will be done. How did you say you are 52 Okay. And 52 years. Have you ever been done? No. Okay, y’all, I want you to self reflect. Have you ever have been done like Dun dun dun with your work or your,

Laurie 50:06
I guess, like at the end of a college semester? Uh huh, totally. You’re done. Like you have this like finite time and all the work is done. Yep.

Kristen Carder 50:15
I was actually thinking the same thing that that’s the only time that I’ve felt like, Oh, thank God, like I’m actually done and then graduating and being like, I’m done. But that’s not, that’s not a thing in life. We never, we’re never done.

Laurie 50:37
I guess I feel like I’m just so much more behind than other people.

Kristen Carder 50:43
How do you know? Well, like,

Laurie 50:44
for instance, one of my girlfriends who is just very on top of her show, and she’ll be like, I don’t have anything to do today. Like, do you want to go thrifting? And I’m like, Oh, my God, like, how can you have a day where you don’t have anything that you have to do?

Kristen Carder 50:59
Because she’s not making mental lists and telling herself she’s behind? What if she’s not actually on top of more than you are? She’s just not making a mental list for herself and telling herself that she’s behind.

Laurie 51:18
She’s a different skill set. She did not have ADHD. She

Kristen Carder 51:21
doesn’t have her ADHD, but also I just don’t buy it that people have it all together. I really don’t. So like, that’s my core belief. You have a different belief? And do you see the difference in our energy, so you have a belief that like, people do have it all together. And if I could just be different I could to? You see the difference? And in my mind, I’m like, she don’t have it all together. She’s just calling it done and moving on.

Laurie 51:52
Luckily, for me, I don’t dislike me anymore. So I may still have like, issues around what I should be getting done and being behind, but I don’t, I don’t hate myself,

like virtually all that pieces covered.

Kristen Carder 52:09
So what if we just drop the idea that there is an arrival point? She does not consent for anyone who’s listening to the replay. She does not try and that’s fine. That’s fine. Yeah. So I just want to show you what’s happening with your brain and body, which is, there is a place that I can get. There’s this like, magical top of the mountain, where I’m no longer behind, where I’m caught up, and I feel done. This is not that place. This place does not exist, my love.

Laurie 52:53
Okay, so that’s like a perfectionism kind of thing. It’s

Kristen Carder 52:57
1,000,000%. And what you’re doing is you are viewing neurotypical people through the lens of they’ve arrived at that place. But I haven’t Oh, she’s arrived at that place. Gosh, if I could just meal plan, if I could just meal plan that I would get there too. Right?

Laurie 53:21
I get stopped at the cookbook

Kristen Carder 53:24
grows. I’m not meal planning. That’s just not for me. Some of y’all might love it. It’s not it’s not going to happen for me. Okay, so I want you to start just questioning that belief. What if there’s not a magical place where I step into it, and then immediately feel accomplished? On top of things, confident? What is it that you’re wanting to feel? What do you think you’ll feel at that place?

Laurie 54:00
Peace, yeah, like to have the ability to like, be not frenetic like, like, I want to just be able to have peace and sit and read a book, go and go and watch a movie where I’m not thinking like, I shouldn’t be watching a movie, but actually be like, I got my stuff done. And so it’s made that making my list reasonable. I’m working on that. Good.

Kristen Carder 54:25
But also, peace is not about getting your stuff done. Well,

Laurie 54:29
and that is what I am connecting like when I get this done, I’ll have peace, and I’m trying to decrease the amount of things on the list. But I guess it’s still the same. That’s

Kristen Carder 54:41
the thing because you’re you’re like, oh, maybe I’ll just alter the list and then when I get the list done, then I’ll feel peace but there’s always stuff. There’s always more you to listen and you’re like I don’t feel done. I don’t feel peace. Where’s the piece is the piece that was promised and promised to me when I get this stuff done. I’m not, that’s not how it works. Okay. So I do think that this conversation is very heavily intertwined with your past 100% That frenetic energy is there’s a lot of hyper vigilance there, there’s a lot of overworking as a trauma response. They’re so I’m so glad you’re seeing a therapist, but what I want to give you is the gift of you get to be done and just call it done. And just sit with the discomfort of like, okay, this is what it feels like to be done. I’m done. Because I say I’ve done. I’m done because it’s 8pm. Or like, what time do you think is reasonable to be done?

Laurie 55:43
I would like to be done in the early evening. So I can just, my husband does pretty much all the evening running around with

Kristen Carder 55:52
that for you. He goes a lot. So

Laurie 55:55
I could putz around the kitchen and wrap up, straighten up, you know, laundry, the kitchen, the kids, we try to get the kids to do as much as possible.

Kristen Carder 56:03
So what time without me Give me a clock a clock time like

Laurie 56:07
to be done done. I would say it would be good if I was done my work by like five. Okay, maybe six, five or six? Okay.

Kristen Carder 56:15
So, here’s how you’re going to know that you’re done. You’re ready. The clock is gonna say six o’clock. That’s how you know. The clock says six, and Laurie is done. Some days, you’re gonna get a lot of things accomplished. And other days, you’re gonna be like, did I even work today? I have no idea. But the clock says six. Till I’m done, the acceptance of the work never ends. That’s the pathway to this is like, Oh, if I don’t just say I’m done, I’ll never be done. Because the work never ends. So I’m gonna say I’m done. It’s six o’clock. And then your brain is gonna be like, What are you talking about? You’re not done, you’re just you’re behind, you’ve got so much. And you and your therapist are just going to work with a discomfort of like, no, no, I’m allowed to be done. Humans are allowed to stop working at some point. And I’ve decided that point is six. So there’s a couple of things that I just want to reiterate. You think that the work will end at some point that the the list will be accomplished at some point. I promise you that’s not a thing. Because your brain is really good at coming up with more, more, more, more more. Right?

Laurie 57:40
That’s very true.

Kristen Carder 57:41
It’s so good at that. It’s so good at that. So I promise you, there’s not this magical place where you get to go to where you feel like I am accomplished. And I am done. And now I deserve to rest. That location does not exist. There is no like plugging into your GPS and get there. It is a state of mind of like, I’m a human. I have the right to rest. And I am done. When I say I’m done, and my brain is given enough drama, and that’s okay. But if for you and you can play with the time Laurie, if you’re like, Okay, I thought it was six but really, it’s seven. Okay. All right, then it’s seven. But at least we have a cut off point. Like, Laurie, it has peace. She’s allowed to have peace now. The clock says it. That peace is not a I get it when I crossed the things off the list that peace is I’m allowed to have peace. I’m entitled to rest. How does this feel for you, honey?

Laurie 58:51
I like it. It’s so I’m gonna work with it. I was thinking maybe I’ll even move it to earlier.

Kristen Carder 58:57
Oh my gosh, I love that so much for you. Yeah, and Joe just said Joe just said I thought it was six for me but it’s actually four.

Laurie 59:05
I’m thinking about like at five shutting down the work and looking at the next day like a pre planning love that to have a little bit of a sense of like, I got my next day kind of love that. What needs to happen with rides and love. So a lot of appointments and things right now because of what’s going on with me personally. So my calendars, neti

Kristen Carder 59:31
neti, and so you’re just kind of setting yourself up for a good day, the next day, but we’re not actually caught up in the doing. We’re just assessing and planning. Yeah. I love this freedom. I love it. Thank you. You’re welcome, honey. I’m gonna send you back and then I’m just going to chat about our conversation a little bit. Okay, but thank you so much. I really appreciate you.

Laurie 59:54
Yeah, thank you.

Kristen Carder 59:54
So I want all of you like Laurie is the perfect example. Of all of us. And I’m so grateful to her for sharing. Because we often and we’re kind of programmed to think that there is a magical time where we will feel complete, where we will feel peace, where we will be like, you deserve to go to bed, you’re allowed to go to sleep now, and sleep with, you know, satisfaction. As if that happens from an outside source, what I want you to know is, that’s actually an internal process. And that is what is so hard about being human, is we want it to be an external thing, oh, if I can just cross this stuff off my list? Or if I can just use my free time, quote, unquote, wisely? Do you see how it’s the same? Oh, if I could just use my free time the right way, then I will feel accomplished, or I’ll feel fulfilled, and then I will want to go to bed at a certain time. And like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. What, what we get to do is accept that there is no perfect way to spend our free time or except that the work is actually never done. And that we are just simply entitled to have peace and rest at some point. And that’s why for me, personally, I use the clock, I use the clock to indicate to me, oh, it’s time to be done. It’s time to be done working, it’s time to be done. outputting the output is what is so like, it keeps us just going and going and going. And of course, like those of you in special circumstances, or if you have little kids or even for me, like my, my kids are older now. So they’re staying up later, but I still figure out like, Okay, I’m gonna go to my bed, I’m gonna do my own thing. I will interact with them if you know if they need me. But I’m not forcing myself to output output output, right up until bedtime. And even if you wasted your time during your working hours, you still deserve to turn it off. And, like, clearly, if you wasted your time, quote, unquote, wasted. If you didn’t get much done during the day, it’s likely because you’re tired anyway. So go home and rest. Get Started tomorrow with more umph. Alright, I gotta go. You gotta go. I am so glad that we got to have a chat today about sleep. And as always, if you have specific takeaways, or you have questions, please bring them to slack. I can’t wait to talk to them. A few years ago, I went looking for help. I wanted to find someone to teach me how to feel better about myself and to help me improve my organization productivity, time management, emotional regulation. You know, all the things that we adults with ADHD struggle with. They couldn’t find anything. So I researched and I studied and I hired coaches and I figured it out. Then I created focused for you. Focus is my monthly coaching membership where I teach educated professional adults how to accept their ADHD brain and hijack their ability to get stuff done. Hundreds of people from all over the world are already benefiting from this program and I’m confident that you will to go to Ihaveadhd.com/focus for all details.

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