ADHD and Sleep Disorders

Adopted from the National Sleep Foundation, March 13, 2002

Is there a link between sleep disordered breathing (SBD) in children and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

SoupA new report published in the journal Pediatrics (March 2002) suggests there may be. A study of 866 children between the ages of 2 through 13 found that youngsters who frequently snore or have sleep disorders are almost twice as likely to suffer from ADHD than those who sleep well. “Inattention and hyperactivity among general pediatric patients are associated with increased daytime sleepiness and, especially in young boys, snoring and other symptoms of SDB,” wrote Dr. Ronald Chervin, a University of Michigan neurologist and sleep researcher. “If sleepiness and SDB do influence daytime behavior, the current results suggest a major public health impact.” Whether or not a causal link is found between the disorders, the research does suggests that one problem can exacerbate the other.

Dr. Chervin is also the lead author for a study investigating connections between ADHD and restless legs syndrome (RLS) and periodic limb movements (PLMS) in children. A survey of parents of children between two and 14 years of age showed “substantial associations between inattentive, hyperactive behavior and symptoms of PLMS and RLS,” Dr. Chervin said. The study will be published in the March 15, 2002 issue of SLEEP.