Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most frequently diagnosed childhood psychiatric conditions. While there are many theories regarding the cause of ADHD, we now know that many of the children diagnosed today, have a biological parent who shares the same diagnosis. Other factors that may contribute to the symptoms of ADHD are fetal alcohol syndrome, lead poisoning, meningitis, and a genetic resistance to thyroid hormone. Also, while not a primary cause, there seems to be a positive association that exists between negative family environment factors and ADHD. A child with ADHD usually shows signs of this disorder by the age of three and almost always by the age of seven. A child with ADHD is unable to focus his/her attention on repetitive tasks, is easily distracted, has frequent outbursts of energy, is often fidgety, and has difficulty following instructions.
Good health and happiness are impossible when we are robbed of sleep for very long. For many people, this is all too often a way of life. One of mankind’s oldest complaints, insomnia is the chronic inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. While everyone occasionally experiences a sleepless night now and then without harm, long-term insomnia can be debilitating. After yet another night of inadequate sleep, insomnia sufferers typically report impaired mental and physical abilities, diminished memory, reduced alertness, and slow reaction times. Chronic lack of sleep threatens the well-being, productivity, and safety of millions of Americans.
A study published in the journal Sleep found that children with ADHD experienced significant declines in academic performance even after losing less than one hour of sleep per night for a week. The study included 43 children, 11 with ADHD and 32 control subjects. Baseline sleep was monitored for a week and then the children were asked to eliminate one hour of sleep for six nights. Researchers measured neurobehavioral functioning using the Continuous Performance Test at the end of the baseline period and following the experimental period of sleep loss. The results revealed that after losing less than an hour of sleep for six nights, the performance of children with ADHD on the neurobehavioral test deteriorated from the subclinical range to the clinical range of inattention on four of six measures. It was also found that the children in the control group had decreased scores although not to the extent of the children with ADHD. These findings suggest the importance of sleep in all children, but emphasize the significant academic implications of sleep deprivation in children with ADHD.1
1 Gruber R, Wiebe S, Montecalvo L, et al. Impact of sleep restriction on neurobehavioral functioning of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Sleep. Mar2011;34(3):315-23.