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How To Live A Healthy Lifestyle With ADHD

Much of the treatment and advice around ADHD is focused on improving our neurological and executive functions such as memory and organisation. While this makes perfect sense, we also need to consider the physical impact of ADHD on our health.
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How To Live A Healthy Lifestyle With ADHD


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that is fundamentally caused by underactivity of certain neurotransmitters or brain chemicals. Much of the treatment and advice around ADHD is focused on improving our neurological and executive functions such as memory and organisation. While this makes perfect sense, we also need to consider the physical impact of ADHD on our health. A healthy body helps to support and nurture a healthy mind and this is particularly true for people with ADHD. In this article, we will provide top tips on living a healthy lifestyle and how this specifically relates to some of the challenging symptoms of ADHD.


Sleep deprivation is a common symptom of ADHD. A racing mind and poor time management make it difficult to stick to sleep routines and sleep can often be restless and broken. Yet sleep is essential for good health; being constantly tired causes us to feel irritable, sluggish and underperform in our work or studies. So what can you do? You need to learn to listen to your body and work out what works best for you.

If you have trouble sleeping, a sleep diary is a good starting point; each morning record how your night’s sleep went, and make a note of relevant times and your activities the day before, especially in the evening. Are there any patterns? There are all sorts of factors that cause people to not sleep well; from stress to drinking coffee or even exercising too close to bedtime. It’s key to work out what prevents you from sleeping and also what helps you to sleep.

Your ADHD Brain Needs More Sleep – How To Get It has some great tips on improving your sleeping experience.


Exercise is a natural way to provide some relief from ADHD symptoms. It’s no coincidence that a high number of athletes and sports people have ADHD. At the same time, not everyone with ADHD will have a natural propensity for sports or even much of an interest in them. But exercise is so beneficial, both physically and mentally, that it’s highly advisable to incorporate it into your lifestyle.

There are many different types of exercise; they needn’t all be high-impact. What’s most important is keeping active. Just going out for a walk once a day will help you to maintain a basic level of fitness. What’s key is finding an activity that works for you. People with ADHD can get bored quickly so it’s good to do more than one form of physical exercise. This gives you variety and if you decide to drop one activity, it also ensures that you are still exercising while you find another one.

Our article Why Are Sport And Exercise Crucial For ADHD Symptom Control? explains the benefits of exercise for ADHD in more detail. It also offers examples of different types of exercise you can try.

Nutrition And Diet

There are a number of studies linking diet with symptoms of ADHD and a healthy diet can have a significant impact on ADHD. It’s a good idea to monitor if particular elements of your diet aggravate or improve ADHD symptoms, as not everyone is affected in the same way. Although eating a well-balanced and healthy diet will always be good for your general health, whether you have ADHD or not. Here are four suggestions specifically for ADHD:

  1. Avoid processed food and food containing additives and chemicals
  2. Eat meals at regular times as this helps to control blood sugar levels giving you more focus and attention.
  3. Eat plenty of protein; this is found in food such as eggs, meats and bеаnѕ. Protein is important brain food as it influences Neurotransmitters, such as dopamine. These are biochemical messengers that allow communication between brain cells.
  4. Snack on fruits, which contain vitamins and minerals instead of snacking on other sweet foods.

The ADHD Diet Plan: Healthy Foods And Supplements For Kids And Adults contains further information on diet and ADHD.

Weight Loss 

Losing weight is never easy, but ADHD can make it particularly challenging. Healthy eating is difficult if you struggle with the organisation needed to plan and prepare meals. Plus if you’re prone to impulsivity, it’s hard to stick to good intentions. People with ADHD are prone to binge eat impulsively and may also eat due to boredom or not really monitor their food intake. Here are a few top tips for losing weight with ADHD:

  • Dedicate time to plan your meals carefully before you go shopping.
  • Eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast will make you less likely to reach for morning snacks.
  • Try to get enough sleep, and if you haven’t slept well, don’t use it as an excuse to eat more.
  • Reduce your portion size. You can do this by weighing out portions of pasta, rice etc. You will probably barely notice the difference.
  • Limit the number of times you go shopping and allow yourself only one or two unhealthy items per week.
  • Get other people to help you. By telling other people you’re serious about losing weight, you are more likely to stick to it. You might consider joining a group and using the support of the group to encourage you to keep going.

Have a look at Your ADHD Guide To Shedding Pounds for more guidance on losing weight with ADHD

Mindfulness And Relaxation Techniques

People with ADHD often experience deep intense emotions and anxiety symptoms secondary to their ADHD symptoms. It’s important to find a way to calm your overactive mind, and learn to be less sensitive and emotionally reactive, if this is causing you turmoil and distress. Having a daily routine of meditation and mindfulness practice will help you achieve this so that you are not necessarily so driven by your emotions; you have the space to decide to react with more balance and equipoise. We recommend using relaxation techniques such as mindful meditation. Practising mindfulness regularly is a highly effective way to relieve some symptoms of ADHD. It can also help to provide you with clarity in stressful situations and promote restful sleep.

6 Essential Mindfulness Practices To Help With 6 Common ADHD Symptoms links different mindful practices to specific symptoms of ADHD.
Our ADHD coaches provide mindfulness therapy and we have a short online introductory course on Essential Mindfulness where you can take the first lesson for free.

ADHD Medication And Side Effects

While ADHD medication helps relieve the symptoms of ADHD for the majority of people who take it, it can have side effects such as loss of appetite and sleep problems. It’s really important to monitor both the physical and mental effects of your medication. It might be necessary to adjust the dosage or change the type of medication if it’s having adverse effects on your physical health.

There are certain aspects of ADHD to be aware of when considering our physical health. It’s imperative we find ways to adapt our lifestyles to maintain a healthy balance that works for us as individuals.

At the ADHD Centre, we offer ADHD assessments for both adults and children as well as a wide range of evidence-based treatments and therapies. To find out more about any of our services, please visit our website. You can also contact us directly by email or by phone 0800 061 4276

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