Categories: 2012, June
APPS 4 LIFE WITH ADHD
ASKED YOU whether staying up late to watch TV at the cost
of a good night of sleep was worth it, you’d probably say no,
right? Me too. Fast forward to 11 PM tonight, though, and I have a
different story to tell. I've just finished a riveting episode of Mad
Men. It's bedtime, but the show’s protagonist Don Draper’s hypnotic
voice chimes, "One more episode, my friend. Sleep can wait." He's a good
salesman and three episodes later, I've doomed myself to an
unhealthy four hours of shut-eye.
As an adult with ADHD, I know that
healthy sleep along with a good diet and regular exercise are essential
to nourish my body and mind. Most of us know this. Yet, keeping healthy
habits is challenging for anyone. This is especially true for people
with ADHD, because the condition tends to create a gap between
intellectual understanding and execution.
So how do we
cross this chasm in the context of healthy habits? As with most of
life’s tough questions, the answer is,There’s an app
for that. Let me take you on a quick tour of a few of my
made a commitment to work out four times a week. You envision yourself
on the treadmill and feel a surge of motivation. Excellent! But we both
know that this strong feeling probably won’t last.
Now what if I
told you that for each week you don’t meet your workout target,
your credit card will be charged $100. Oh,and by the way, that $100
is going to a political party that you
This is an
example of how StickK, a web-based tool, works to help support your
pursuit of healthy habits.
Tips on using
it: Choose a dollar amount that is painful but doesn’t
break your bank. Enlist a few friends and family members, which StickK
lets you do painlessly. When choosing where your punishment dollars will
go, pick a group you can’t stand.
can find it: stickk.com.
poor sleep can exacerbate my ADHD symptoms, I try to ensure I sleep well
every night. Figuring out how to do this can get complicated with so
many contributing factors at work. To help me navigate the complexity, I
use an app called Lark.
for the iPhone (and across the Apple iOS), measures your sleep quality,
how long you slept, how many times you woke up,and more. The magic takes
place courtesy of a sensor that wirelessly connects via Bluetooth and
slips into a comfortable wristband that is worn while sleeping. Lark
also coaches you, making tailored suggestions on how you can sleep
feature of the product is that it can wake you up with a vibrating alarm
that gently nudges you from your sleep. Lark is smart enough to figure
out the ideal time to wake you, within a window you specify. The ideal
time is based on where you are in your sleep cycle. This means
you’ll generally wake up feeling less groggy.
Tips on using
it: Upgrade to the premium package for more comprehensive sleep
Where you can
find it: Lark.com, Apple.com.
foods to buy and eat is tricky. I need something to police my behavior,
and Fooducate does a good job of keeping me in check as I try to
convince myself that Lucky Charms is a healthy breakfast
available for both Android and iPhone users, triggers your phone’s
camera to quickly scan the barcode on food items you’re looking to
purchase or eat, and quickly grades the food from A through F, based on
the health content of the item. If you’re trying to change your
eating habits and eat healthier with less additives and better
ingredients, Fooducate contains a wealth of information and user reviews
about foods we consume on a daily basis. In addition to grading your
picks, Fooducate recommends healthier alternatives when you’re
considering something unwise.
Tips on using
it: It’s very intuitive. Just remember to use it and
don’t believe everything on the box of Lucky Charms.
Where you can
find it: Fooducate.com(Android app available), Apple.com.
IF THE APPS DESCRIBED
ABOVE aren’t to your liking, explore. Some tips: Read
expert reviews, be patient during adoption, and learn all of an
app’s features. Don’t stop looking until you find the right
tools to get you and keep you on the path of good health.
Happy and healthy travels. And let me know if you find an app that makes
Don Draper less persuasive.
Anthony Rostain, MD, MA, on the years of transition to adulthood
interview by Susan Buningh, MRE
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