02 March 2009

ADHD and Sleep Problems Linked

SLEEP recently published an article about a study that suggests children with ADHD may be sleep deprived and have abnormal REM sleep. The study was conducted by the Attention, Behaviour and Sleep Lab at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute

The study found that children with ADHD have a total sleep time that is a bit shorter than that of children without ADHD - an average of about 33 minutes less. Children with ADHD also had an average rapid eye movement (REM) sleep time that averaged about 16 minutes less.

The study believes that apnea and other sleep problems make ADHD worse in children. Finding a way to rid children of their sleep distrubances can help alleviate the severity of their ADHD.
Anyone who suffers sleep loss on a daily basis experiences sleepiness and neurobehavioural impairment, which interferes with daytime learning and the ability to pay attention in school or at work.

Additional studies are needed to see whether shorter sleep duration in children with ADHD is associated with short attention spans, behavioural problems and low neurocognitive functioning. The authors would like to next see if improving sleep helps alleviate some of the symptoms of ADHD.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

1 comment:

Liggy said...

I can believe in the correlation between sleep and ADHD symptoms. My son and his cousins (who all were diagnosed with ADHD by their pediatricians after a series of tests performed by psychologists) all had sleep problems. They couldn't fall asleep right away and they couldn't sleep through the night.