ADHD & Sleep

“MANY CHILDREN AND ADULTS WHO HAVE ADHD ALSO HAVE A SLEEP DISORDER— almost three out of four children and adolescents, and up to four out of five adults with ADHD. Not getting enough sleep, or needing to sleep at times that don’t mesh with school or work obligations, can have significant long-term effects. Those can include physical illness, behavioural issues, and mood changes. While adults may seem obviously tired when they are behind on sleep, fatigue in children often looks like exaggerated ADHD symptoms: hyperactivity and impulsivity—sometimes even aggressiveness and acting out.”National Resource Centre on ADHD

People with ADHD are more likely to experience shorter sleep time, problems falling asleep and staying asleep, and a higher risk of developing a sleep disorder. While sleep problems are very common in people with ADHD, comorbid sleep disorders are often overlooked and left untreated. 

Some of the causes of sleep problems are:

  • ADHD Medications – A common side effect of most stimulant medications is insomnia.
  • Co-mobidities – Approximately half of all people with ADHD have a second condition, such as anxiety or depression, that can cause sleep issues.
  • Circadian rhythm disorders – ADHD can interfere with the standard sleep-wake cycle. If that’s off it may be difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up in the morning.
  • Sleep apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, and other sleep-related breathing disorders are common among children and adults diagnosed with ADHD.
  • Restless leg syndrome – A common co-existing condition causing an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, usually due to an uncomfortable sensation. It usually occurs in the evening or nighttime hours when you’re sitting or lying down.

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