Build Resilience Through Sleep

by | Jul 16, 2017 | Uncategorized

AD/HD and other executive functioning skill challenges can be seen as dysregulations in our systems. In addition to each of our innate challenges, we live in a complex and fast-paced world that can also be seen as dysregulated and is often further dysregulating. Together, these present unique circumstances for each of us.

It is easy to react to the things happening in and around us and difficult to learn to respond with more awareness and sensitivity. In coaching, we often work on learning to be more and more proactive in our lives as we look for places where, and ways in which we have input into the systems that we are.

How may we intervene? What might we create? What can we do to have an impact on the ways we feel, or in the manners in which we function? How may we help ourselves succeed?

The good news is that there are many ways and places where each of us can intervene to create more ease, happiness, creativity, success, fun, etc., in our lives and the lives of those we love.
In working with people over the past decade, I have come to see that it is extremely useful for people to build resilience into their systems so they may face and manage the inevitable challenges of life in addition to teaching and working on strengthening the executive functioning skills.
So, how do we “build resilience” into our systems? The areas we address in this effort are sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation and/or medication and relationships.


I call sleep the kingpin, or the cornerstone in terms of building resilience into our systems. Everything begins with, and is much better when we have had a good night’s sleep. One of my favorite talks on this topic is a Ted Talk by Russel Foster, a circadian neuroscientist. He details the importance of sleep and exemplifies what happens when we lack the sleep necessary for our systems.

 So, what can you do if sleep is a challenge?

    1. Set specific and consistent sleep and wake-up times that you adhere to daily. Be sure that these times encompass the number of hours you need to sleep, usually at least eight hours.
    1. If you use electronic devices after dark, install flux on your computer and Night Shift on your phone to dim the blue light on the screen in order not to interfere with the melatonin production in your brain.
    1. Turn off all technology 60 to 90 minutes before going to bed.
    1. Establish a soothing nighttime routine that does not include technology, i.e., read a book, write in a journal, meditate, take a hot bath, listen to calming music or whatever else feels right for you.
    1. Set an alarm and get out of bed when it goes off. Don’t snooze!
Establishing and maintaining a sleep routine is challenging, so give yourself time. Play around with your routine until you find what works for you. Hopefully, sooner than later you will be waking up refreshed on a daily basis.


What kind of routine has worked for you? I’d love to hear your take on this, whether in the comments or by email at

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