Sound sleep elusive for many kids with ADHD

June 8, 2016 by Kathleen Doheny, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—A new study supports a claim parents have long made about children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder—kids with ADHD don't sleep as well as other kids.

"Children with ADHD have huge ," said study leader Anne Virring Sorensen, a researcher at Aarhus University in Risskov, Denmark.

"We verified [their sleep problems] by polysomnography, which hadn't been done before," she said.

Polysomnography is a sleep study. It evaluates brain waves, breathing and other parameters to check . The researchers also looked at how quickly the children fell asleep at night and during the day.

In the United States, about 6 million children have ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms vary, but can include lack of focus, impulsivity and hyperactivity, with difficulty in winding down when it is time to sleep or relax, the study authors said.

The researchers recruited 76 children with ADHD for their study. The average age of the group was almost 10 years old. The researchers also recruited 25 children without ADHD (the "control" group).

Kids with ADHD slept about 45 minutes less a night than those without ADHD. The children with ADHD also took longer than the other children to fall asleep at night. During the day, however, the children with ADHD fell asleep faster than those in the , the investigators found.

At first, the researchers thought this was a surprising finding, because of the hyperactivity that is common in ADHD children. But, they speculated that sleep problems may be contributing to the ADHD, and that the hyperactivity aspect of the disorder might be the brain's way of compensating for not being able to doze off during school.

The study findings confirm something "that's been known for a while," said Brandon Korman, chief of neuropsychology at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami.

But Korman noted that the study "doesn't prove cause and effect" between ADHD and sleep troubles. It's possible that a third—as yet unknown—factor may be contributing to and ADHD symptoms.

Can parents do anything to help their children with ADHD sleep better?

Pay attention to good "sleep hygiene," or the rituals and habits kids engage in before bed, Korman said. He suggested that parents tell to turn off all electronics—including TVs, computers, cellphones and video games—a couple of hours before bedtime. These devices can keep kids stimulated, he said, and worsen sleep.

Parents can also ask their pediatrician for advice, Korman added.

The study findings appear in the June issue of the Journal of Sleep Research.

Explore further: Children with ADHD sleep both poorly and less

More information: To learn more about ADHD, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Related Stories

Children with ADHD sleep both poorly and less

May 4, 2016
A new study from Aarhus University has now documented that there is some truth to the claim by parents of children with ADHD that their children have more difficulty falling asleep and that they sleep more poorly than other ...

Study seeks sweet sleep relief for children with ADHD

May 25, 2016
Parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are hoping a University of Queensland trial could help their families get a decent night's sleep.

Lifestyle may be key to improving ADHD in kids

May 30, 2016
(HealthDay)—Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often treated with medications, such as Adderall or Ritalin. But a new study suggests that parents can also help their kids by promoting healthy ...

CDC: Preschoolers with ADHD often given drugs before therapy

May 3, 2016
Too many preschoolers with ADHD still are being put on drugs right away, before behavior therapy is tried, health officials say.

Children with ADHD may benefit from following healthy behaviors, new study suggests

May 2, 2016
A new study shows that children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder follow fewer healthy lifestyle behaviors than non-ADHD youth, suggesting that they may benefit from improving lifestyle choices such as increasing ...

Melatonin offers hope for ADHD bedtime shut–eye

June 23, 2015
Sleep is vital to wellbeing, but children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often have trouble drifting off.

Recommended for you

ADHD medication tied to lower risk for alcohol, drug abuse in teens and adults

July 13, 2017
The use of medication to treat attention deficient hyperactivity disorder is linked to significantly lower risk for substance use problems in adolescents and adults with ADHD, according to a study led by researchers at Indiana ...

Video game promotes better attention skills in some children with sensory processing dysfunction

April 6, 2017
A video game under development as a medical device boosts attention in some children with sensory processing dysfunction, or SPD, a condition that can make the sound of a vacuum, or contact with a clothing tag intolerable ...

Children with ADHD often live in chaotic households

March 9, 2017
Researchers often observe inadequate parenting, a negative emotional climate and household chaos in families of children with ADHD. A research group at Goethe University Frankfurt and the universities of Bremen, Heidelberg, ...

ADHD a 'brain disorder', not just bad behaviour: study

February 16, 2017
People with ADHD have slightly smaller brains than those without the condition, according to a study released Thursday which insisted it is a physical disorder and not just bad behaviour.

Could the 'Mediterranean' diet help prevent ADHD?

January 30, 2017
(HealthDay)—Kids who follow a Mediterranean diet—high in fruits, vegetables and "good" fats—may be less likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a small study suggests.

Data scientists find causal relation in characteristics of ADHD

December 2, 2016
Hyperactivity seems to be the result of not being able to focus one's attention rather than the other way around. This was proposed in an article in PLOS ONE, written by researchers at Radboud university medical center and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.