I’ve been counting myself as less than fortunate recently since I’ve had serious trouble sleeping while, in my mind, I assumed that others never experience the same, that sleep has a secret pact with them. I’ve been feeling like the only person in the world that sleep has fled from, packing her soft kisses and weird dreams away and literally just absconding from me in the night despite what I do or what I say or how much I tell her I regret saying that she’s nothing and that I don’t need her.
But after thinking about it for a bit just now, at 5am in the morning, I’m realizing that that can’t be true. I’m almost certain that most of my fellow Americans probably have tremendous trouble getting a good night’s rest for reasons like obesity and stress and age and (blue) light exposure and so on, and that most people are probably compensating for their everyday sleep deprivation with stimulants.
And this is all a pleasing thought: Other people aren’t really getting more work done than me because of some greater ability to work through tiredness, they are simply on amphetamines and caffeine and I just haven’t joined them.
Let’s see what the numbers say.
National Coffee Association found in 2020 that 70% of Americans drink coffee at least once every week while 62% drink that turbid water everyday
To my surprise, the most marked uptick in the use of ADHD medication has been in women in particular (need to verify this further later on). In a study tracking prescriptions for ADHD meds between 2003 and 2015, which included a sample of over 4 million women, the CDC found that the number of adult women taking this class of prescription drugs rose from 1% to 4% in the specified timeframe. That’s insane and I’m not sure what’s going on. Some explanations have been that the diagnostic criteria for ADHD have become more broad, but this doesn’t explain the uptick in a demo that historically has been diagnosed with ADHD significantly less often than their male counterparts, with the CDC reporting that male children are a bit over twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than young girls (13% of young men vs 5.6% of young women).
National study (with relatively small sample of around 2,500 people and from 2015) found that nearly 11% of undergraduate college students used adderall in the past year as a performance drug
A lot of you are literally wired.
There’s lightning flashing outside my window as I write this and the same thing is happening inside your bodies right now, inexplicable vibes and energy.
But anyway, tell me your thoughts/experience in the comments. How many of you live on stimulants and what is it like? Are most people you know wired on something? Discuss—
Not sleeping for long stretches is definitely a kind of personal hell. You've probably heard of the importance of exercise and sleep hygiene for sleep, but on top of that, these three sleep supplements are often recommended:
- Magnesium L Threonate
I track sleep with a Whoop and have noticed measurably better and deeper sleep since taking those three.
It is an interesting angle to contemplate the impacts of stimulants. However, coffee has been shown, repeatedly, to improve health in a myriad of ways (decreased cancer, decreased MS, decrease forms of heart disease, etc.) So a case could be made that humans are wired to have coffee be part of their lives chemically. And some of us are not really stimulated by coffee at all.
So I might separate some of the ADHD conversation from the coffee conversation. Coffee, a complex mixture of hundreds of biogenic amines, may just be in a category by itself.
I was actually on stimulants most of my life. For reference, I was born in 2000. My mother told me I had ADHD at around age 8 and would tell me what to say to the doctors in order to be prescribed. This meaning “I cannot focus on class” “Random things distract me” “I can’t remember when homework is due” “I always need reminders”, etc. Recently found out that was illegal and I probably suffered from anxiety. With that, I was prescribed vyvanse 70mg. The highest doseage. Stimulants made the world speed up and focus on what I was doing. I could literally spend hours cleaning with a toothbrush. With that in mind, I do not think anyone should be prescribed stimulants due to its amount of abuse.
I was prescribed adderall in 2016, for adhd. It helped, at first, but my anger and hyperemotionality brought on by the meds did not help as much as I thought (at the time) it did. The anger and hyper emotionality undid all the good work of my new hyperfocus.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, I knew being a cracked out mess, while being in my house, would not help. I decided to take unemployment and take myself off the work wheel for six months to try and get off the medication, myself. I know this is not good advice for those who cannot imagine life without the meds. I don't think adderall helped me, at all, when looking at the big picture. I became less patient with others and myself, damaging a lot of relationships.
After six months of sleeping and eating (two things I did not do for four years) I found myself able to start to re-calibrate living. I now exercise up to two hours a day, and am now super rigid about it, my bedtime, and work schedule (I turn off the computer at 5pm). Also, I rely heavily on herbs now to deal with different issues in my menopausal body.
Been on/off prescription ADHD meds since I was 7. I've found it most helpful when I take a subclinical dose of ~1mg. I've done single-blinded experiments and the effect is definitely real and significant for me at this dose, not a placebo. Great for achieving the things you want in life. Bad for cultivating independent non-pill-based motivation/discipline.
I track my sleeping with an Oura ring.
I do not drink coffee after 11am, otherwise my sleep is not as good.
I sometimes (like two or three times a month) take Melatonin or Magnesium. I usually sleep almost 8 hours a night.
30-something mom here, I think I can explain the boost in women taking these meds. I know some of other moms taking ADHD meds to get through the day. It's very hard to work a full time job, and then come home and spend 4 hrs feeding, bathing and putting small kids to bed.
To be frank, if you are a normal person with a normal tolerance for stress, doing this every day is almost impossible, and some people will take drugs to get it done. Taking drugs might even be better than the alternative (yelling at your kids because you're tired, letting them pass out in front of the TV instead of giving them a proper bedtime).
I would prefer a world where moms didn't have to work so hard (and had more support from extended family) but this is the world we live in.