ADHD & Sleep

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While adults often are lethargic and sleepy during the day after an unrestful night, a paradoxical effect can be seen in children with disrupted and inadequate sleep – an overcompensation resulting in symptoms that mimic ADHD.  In a study performed in 2010 it was found that children with sleep problems were more likely to be hyperactive, inattentive, impulsive, and oppositional, all symptoms associated with ADHD.   A subsequent study then found that by focusing on improving sleep in these children, that their symptoms were often drastically improved if not resolved.        

According to the Center For Disease Control, ADHD affects almost 10% of children.  Too often than not, medications are then administered before pursuing other therapies and looking for the root cause of the disturbances seen.  Increases of other sleep disorders such as impaired breathing and restless leg syndrome are also found more in children with ADHD, both of which require further medical workup.  The National Sleep Foundation found in a poll that two-thirds of all children has some sort of sleep problem at least a few times a week.  If a child is exhibiting ADHD like symptoms, ensure that they are getting sufficient rest every night.  Some basic rules to incorporate to get a child sleeping more soundly are the following: have a nightly bedtime routine; no TV, computers, tablets, video games, etc. 2 hours before bed; no caffeine after noon; and no added sugar in the form of snacks, drinks, and treats after dinnertime.  If a child is still showing ADHD like symptoms after receiving adequate sleep every night, then consult with a health care provider to ensure the well being of the child.