ADHD kids suffer from sleep problems: Study

ADHD kids suffer from sleep problems: Study

The importance of sleep cannot be understated. But not all are able to enjoy a good eight hours of sleep that can help rejuvenate the body and mind. Quality sleep is imperative for proper mental health, especially during the growing years. But many a times, children also suffer from sleep problems due to various mental health conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

A recent study by the Aarhus University in Denmark, published in the Journal of Sleep Research in May 2016, confirmed that ADHD children face problems in sleeping, as much as their parents find it difficult to put them to bed. In fact, some previous studies have suggested that ADHD children tend to show movements during their sleep and manifest certain signs which can be grouped under primary sleep disorders or periodic limb movement disorder.

Children with ADHD take longer to fall asleep at night

For the study, the scientists observed details of sleep duration and sleep patterns of 76 ADHD children aged 9.6 years on an average and compared them with 25 children not afflicted with the disorder. In the study, titled “Disturbed sleep in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not a question of psychiatric comorbidity or ADHD presentation,” kids from both the groups were made to undergo a test called polysomnography. During the test, electrodes were affixed in the kids’ heads at the hospital during the afternoon, but the children slept in their homes at night.

It was observed that ADHD kids showed symptoms of more disturbed sleep, along with less deep sleep, than those in the control group. Commenting on the findings made, lead author of the study, Anne Virring Sørensen from Aarhus University said, “Our study will confirm what many parents have experienced, which is that children with ADHD take longer to fall asleep at night. With our measurements we can also see that these children experience more disturbed sleep including less deep sleep. If you only look at length of sleep, children in the ADHD group sleep for 45 minutes less than children in the control group.”

The scientists also found that of every three ADHD children, two were reported to be diagnosed with some psychiatric disorder. According to them, this could be the probable reason behind sleep disturbance. Moreover, a diagnosis of ADHD in children revealed a significant gap in the sleep patterns of the control group versus kids suffering from ADHD.  

ADHD kids were also found to fall asleep faster during the day unlike during evening, which researchers suggest could be due to the effect of hyperactivity, which acts as a compensatory behavior in ADHD kids preventing them from dozing off during the day. The researchers found that none of the ADHD kids was administered any kind of medications during the study.

Elaborating as to why previous studies were not successful in measuring sleep quality in ADHD kids or in confirming any existing association between ADHD and poor sleep tendencies, Sørensen said, “In our study the children had electrodes attached to their heads for what is known as a polysomnography at the hospital in the afternoon, but they slept in their familiar home surroundings. In previous studies children have been admitted to specialist sleep centers at hospital to measure sleep via a polysomnographic study.”

The study paves the way for further researches into finding suitable treatments for ADHD as an estimated 11 percent of school going children in the U.S. suffer from this disorder.

Recovery is just a call away

If your child is showing symptoms of hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and/or impulsivity and you have reasons to believe that he or she may be suffering from ADHD, it is time to consult a doctor. At the California Mental Health Helpline, one can avail of all the necessary information regarding the right kind of mental health facilities in California. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online for expert advice on mental health treatment in California.