Sleep and ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD in children may manifest symptoms that are similar to sleep disorders. Some of the shared symptoms are : restlessness, over-active behaviour and lack of focus or attention. Children apparently have the opposite reaction or response when sleep is disrupted. While adults with sleep problems tend to become less active and weak, children are the opposite. They become hyperactive to an extent.

A mental disorder known as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is characterized by hyperactivity, inattention, and inability to control urges or drives. ADHD has proven links to various sleep disorders.

Children who have ADHD may be observed to have disturbed or interrupted sleep. Studies have shown that ADHD children have severe sleep disorder than other similar illness. The relationship between ADHD and Sleep are explained below:

  • Snoring and ADHD

Snoring is caused by large adenoids or tonsils blocking the airway. This blockage may develop into sleep apnea and in severe cases, ADHD. Snoring may be a reason for poor sleep quality and this may eventually cause attention problems the following day. Studies have shown that snoring is common among ADHD children. And snoring children are likely to be afflicted with ADHD as well.

Removing the tonsils or adenoids is found to help improve the child’s sleep pattern and better behaviour without the need to take medications.

  • RLS (restless leg syndrome) and ADHD

Restless leg syndrome is characterized by crawling sensations felt in the legs or arms which are very uncomfortable and annoying. This creates an overwhelming urge to move, thereby causing disruption in sleep and sleepiness during the day.

People with RLS are not able to get good sleep. Hence, they will experience inattentiveness, moodiness or hyperactivity. These are the same symptoms for ADHD. RLS is identified using polysomnogram or sleep study. Both ADHD and RLS may be treated with medications.

These cases show the clear relationship between ADHD and Sleep disorder symptoms. It sometimes happen that because of the overlapping symptoms of ADHD and Sleep disorder, some patients are misdiagnosed for the other disease.

Ways to Help ADHD Children Get the Needed Sleep

  • Stay away from caffeine or other sleep-disrupting food or beverages. Check the label of the foods being eaten by your ADHD child. They increase nervousness, agitation which results to interrupted and disrupted sleep.
  • Keep a consistent and regular routine for sleeping, waking up or even eating schedules.
  • Soundproof your kid’s bedroom to shield from outside noises.
  • Don’t take sleep medication unless it is prescribed by a physician.
  • Check for other medical problem or illnesses. Asthma, allergies and other conditions which cause body pain may contribute to disrupted sleeping.
  • Introduce your children to a light exercise regimen during the day. Exercise should not be done near bedtime.
  • A hot bath before bedtime can do wonders. A cool-temperature room would be ideal for a child to stay into after a warm bath.