ADHD Awareness Month: How Does It Affect Sleep?

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • This is National ADHD Awareness Month. What is ADHD (attention-deficit hyper activity disorder?) According to Medicinenet.com: "ADHD refers to a chronic biobehavioral disorder that initially manifests in childhood and is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention." It begins in early childhood, but in some cases, continues into adulthood.  Children with ADHD have trouble concentrating and controlling their emotions. They may become moody or aggressive.

     

    In my article, ADHD and Sleep Disorders, I mentioned that children with ADHD are likely to also suffer from sleep disorders, including insomnia, night terrors and snoring. They tend to sleep less and spend less time in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. To add to the problem of identifying which disorder is causing the problems, symptoms of both are similar. The National Sleep Foundation states that children with ADHD may also suffer from these sleep disorder symptoms: daytime sleepiness, sleep disordered breathing and also restless legs syndrome.

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    A study done by Dr, Reut Gruber of McGill University in Montreal revealed that children with ADHD slept on the average half an hour less and spent fifteen fewer minutes in REM sleep. This can cause sleep deprivation and sleep disorders..

     

    As many as two-thirds of  children suffer at least occasional sleep disruption and suffer from sleep deprivation.. This could magnify ADHD symptoms. Eliminating these sleep problems may greatly improve symptoms of ADHD.

     

     The best way to combat sleep disorders and sleep deprivation and ease the symptoms of ADHD is to practice good sleep hygiene.  Mark Stein, Ph.D., director of the ADHD Clinical Research Program at the University of Illinois in Chicago says, "If they're not getting adequate sleep or they're not getting adequate REM sleep, that's going to translate to how they're going to function in school the next day."

     

    Eileen Bailey, writing about ADHD for Health Central, has some excellent tips for helping your ADHD child get better sleep. Read them here.

     

Published On: September 21, 2010