Get Some Sleep: ADHD, sleep disorders often entwined
January 4th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Get Some Sleep: ADHD, sleep disorders often entwined

The young mother looked tired and sad, and when she started to speak, her voice quivered with frustration:  “I don’t know what we’re doing here.  Jimmy sleeps fine.  It’s the other 14 hours of the day that’s the problem.”

The reason she was there in my sleep center was because her 6-year-old son, Jimmy, was being evaluated for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).  Her astute pediatrician was up on the latest research that shows an association between sleep disorders in school-age children and behavior disorders such as ADHD.  The sleep disorder that has been studied the most in this regard is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA.

There are many population studies from all over the world showing that approximately 2-3% of children have OSA.  Just as in adults, this disorder is caused by a collapse of the upper airway during sleep.  This results in a drop in oxygen, a rise in carbon dioxide, and fragmented sleep because the brain is disturbed by these fluctuations in oxygen and CO2.  The classic example of a kid with sleep apnea is the skinny kid with big tonsils.  Often these kids also have large adenoids, which make it difficult for them to breathe through their nose even in the daytime.  So one clue that kids have OSA is if they have trouble breathing in the daytime, whether from chronic congestion, allergies or asthma, then they just might have problems breathing at night.

Because of the growing problem of pediatric obesity, we are starting to see a new group of pediatric OSA patients who have weight as the major contributing factor to their sleep apnea.

The telltale sign of pediatric sleep apnea is the same as for adults:  snoring.  Although with children, observers often describe “heavy or rapid breathing” rather than snoring.  Per the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, pediatricians are supposed to ask about sleep problems and about snoring at every well-child visit.  I am afraid that they are already overburdened by all the things they must check and ask about.  So it is not surprising that if the parents don’t complain about the child’s sleeping habits, then often this vital aspect to growth and development can get overlooked.

And parents of kids with sleep apnea often have no idea that their children have disturbed sleep.  These are usually kids who go through their bedtime routine with little resistance, including even the children with behavior problems in the daytime, and they seem to fall asleep readily, and as far as the parents know, they sleep through the night without disturbing them.

Besides large tonsils, snoring and daytime breathing problems, another symptom that should make parents or educators suspicious of sleep apnea is bedwetting (especially if the child is over the age of five and has had a dry spell).  Also, kids with OSA often sleep in contorted positions as they attempt to arch their necks and open their throats.  Sometimes these kids will get very sweaty at night, we think because of their increased work of breathing. Even though these days children with sleep apnea often have weight issues that cause or contribute to their sleep apnea, in some children, their sleep apnea can cause failure to thrive and stunted growth.  The explanation is that growth hormone is secreted during sleep and if the kids have disturbed sleep then they have disturbed this hormone and the many vital developmental processes that depend on it.

And finally, if children are having behavior problems, learning difficulties or psychiatric issues, the possibility of a sleep disorder in general and of sleep apnea in particular should be explored.

The case of Jimmy is quite illustrative.  He had behavior and attention issues; he had medium-sized tonsils and he had occasional “rough breathing.”  The overnight sleep study showed moderate obstructive sleep apnea.  We recommended an evaluation by an otolaryngologist and indeed tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy were performed.  When I saw Jimmy and his mother two months later, the first thing she said was:  “It’s a miracle!  A week after the operation, I saw a difference in his mood and his behavior. His teachers are amazed.  No one thinks that he needs any further evaluations for ADHD.”

In this case, it appears that the symptoms of the sleep disorder were mimicking those of ADHD.  I have seen this many times, and there is a growing body of research showing that indeed as many as 30% of the children  with a diagnosis of ADHD may have a sleep disorder instead.

Many children with behavior, learning, or psychiatric problems may have sleep disorders that, if left undiagnosed and untreated, can aggravate their other disorders and make them harder to treat.  So even if the sleep disorder is not the whole story, finding the right treatment and helping children get the sleep that their brains so desperately need is crucial to the management of these other problems that greatly impact their health, their social integration and their academic achievement.

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She’ll blog on Tuesdays on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Pleas

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Filed under: ADHD • Children's Health • Sleep

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  1. Lisa Waller

    We discovered through a friend who was visiting (who also happens to be a medical journalist in Colorado) that my son's snoring was abnormal. After taking him to his pediatrician and then a specialist, he had his tonsils and adenoids removed at the age of seven. Two years later, we learned that he had ADHD. It's interesting to now find that the two conditions are potentially related. More parents should be made aware so they can provide their children the help and relief they need. A pre-teen, my son now sleeps soundly without snoring or congestion. I guess you could say it's one of his favorite past times. Thanks for sharing information about this important health topic.

    January 4, 2011 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Rock

    Mouth breathing was the symptom that tipped me off. He couldn't ever close his mouth, and it drove me crazy. He had his tonsils and adenoids removed, and he's doing so much better. No more snoring, and he's well rested. Still working on the mouth breathing, though. He did it for so long, it's hard for him not to.

    My other child was a classic bed-wetter, and it was impossible to wake her up in the morning. She also snored so loud. Her tonsils and adenoids were removed, and she never wet the bed again. Also, she doesn't even need an alarm to wake up now.

    January 4, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Name*shantel

      My son wasdiagnosed with severe ods and he his tonsils and avoids removed about 2years ago he was 10 and since then nothing has changed for him he sleeps all day at school. And when he is not sleep he getting in trouble st school. I don't know to do......the medication. He was prescribed causes day time sleeping and he don't like all the sleeping and it's starting to make him sad..he has gain about 30lbs and I'm just lost on what to do next I need some help......someone please help me help my son

      December 18, 2013 at 03:02 | Report abuse |
  3. D Dufty

    I read about this possible association 4 years ago, when there was a question about my daughter's snoring. She did not have ADHD, however, she had a significant anxiety disorder. We had two sleep evaluations done. The first was at our local major medical center (which was not, as it turns out, a pediatric sleep center) – results were inconclusive. I forwarded the report, and a description of her psychological issues to Cincinnati Childrens Hospital, and they recommended redoing the study at their pediatric center. She did, in fact, have sleep apnea, we removed her tonsils, and her anxiety resolved dramatically (she has not been on medication since). I consider myself fortunate to have read about the possible ADHD/sleep apnea correlation, and I encourage anyone dealing with a child's pervasive behavioral issue to rule out sleep apnea as a cause or contributing factor.

    January 4, 2011 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Common

    This is weird as a child I had my adenoids removed and I was diagnosed with ADHD.

    January 4, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. tinie

    my son had his tonsils & adnoids removed when he was 4. He was diaganosed with adhd about a year later. Good news is, his snoring got better after the tonsilectomy!

    January 4, 2011 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Frank

    I was told I had a pretty nasty case of UARS, which is similar to Sleep Apnea. I also had symptoms similar to ADHD as a child and would have to posture my body so that I could breathe right, and had bedwetting to add to that. The sleep lab I went to a few years ago suggested I get my visibly large tonsils removed along with my adenoids, but said that I would have issues finding a surgeon willing to do this because getting tonsils removed was currently not an 'in' fad. He said to wait a few years until it became a trend again, and then I would not have any issues finding a willing surgeon. It looks like it is about to become and 'in' fad again, yeah! It is funny that they were willing to try and push an expensive CPAP machine on me though, the Darth Vader idea while sleeping bothered me, so I did not follow that route.
    During the sleep lab I fell asleep once in less than thirty seconds, twice in less than one minute, and twice more in under five minutes. They also found my mind has to partially wake up to adjust my throat muscles every hour. If I close my eyes during anything other than the most stressful of situations for longer than a couple of minutes I will fall asleep, I often find that I have adapted life as a little bit of an adrenaline junkie in order to stay awake. Maybe I will be able to fix this within the next couple of years 🙂

    January 4, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. jlf

    Fascinating and important information. Thank you, Dr. Shives. Will pass this on.

    January 4, 2011 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mike

    I feel this is an important thing to consider, and should be considered prior to medicating for ADHD. I have been on medications for a while for ADHD, but also have many of the sleeping problems noted above. I always just assumed it was because of the medicine, but I think I will go see if there is something that can be done to help sleep better though the nights, and then maybe I can get off this medicine.

    January 4, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. wgc

    I found the link with childhood obesity interesting. We keep reading about growing obesity issues and increased diagnosis of ADHD, but before this I don't remember reading anything about the possible connection. How much might increased childhood obesity be contributing to increased diagnosis of ADHD?

    January 4, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Squeezebox

    Another source of sleep disorders for ADHD patients is the side effects of Ritalin. I had to take sleeping pills when I was a child just so my mother could get some sleep!

    January 4, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Kellie

    Wow, this article hit home for me. I just made a doctor appointment this morning for my 3yr old with the ENT doctor. He has all these symptoms....snores like a man, sweats like crazy when he is sleeping, has a hard time breathing, and he is full of energy. Thank you so much for this information.

    January 4, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D Ever

      Thanks so much for posing this encouraging story as my son was diagnosed with adhd but being the bull headed mother i am i am not ready to accept that diagnosis i took him to an ENT and he also is having tonsils and adenoids removed i am hoping to see the same result since i feel that also he isnt getting a high quality of sleep. This looks very promising as he has very large tonsils and adenoids.He is hyper and impulsive with behavior problems but also seems very tired all the time as he can still take naps during the day has no stamina for running around with other children and they say naps should be ended by age 5 in a month he will be six. His ENT says he does have sleep apnea.

      March 2, 2011 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
  12. n

    YES. I had all kinds of ADD, depression, anxiety when I was a child to adult. I was also an insomniac. Later in life I was diagnosed with a sleep disorder. After that life is normal. It can also be your kid's diet. If they aren't eating healthy, they won't sleep well.

    January 4, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Smartypanz

    Fantastic info. I'm an adult, and can feel/see the difference in my hyper activity,
    scattered thinking/anxiety when sleep is minimal. I'll file this info in my

    January 4, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Diana

    This is exactly what happened with my son – 5 years ago they decided to investigate new theories about sleep apnea as a cause instead of ADHD for his behavior. Took him to the ear nose and throat doc and my son had enlarged tonsils and adnoids. Within 2 weeks of the tonsi/adnoidectomy – totally different kid.
    One thing that kept them from finding this sooner – they kept asking us (parents and child) does he sleep normally – we didn't know any different on what was expected, so we always answered yes. Then they asked us the questions differently – ie, does he snore and does he wake up several times during the night. We said yes to snoring and our son said yes to waking up. BINGO! Sleep testing showed he woke up an average of 11 times an hour.
    Much better solution than the ADHD medications with the scary side effects (mood swings and involuntary tremors).

    January 4, 2011 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. jn

    My nephew is proof that there is a relationship to sleep apnea and behavioral issues. He had been asked to leave a private school and the public school was pressuring his parents to medicate him. Mom noticed his tonsils were huge and after going to an ENT and having a sleep study done at the doctors urging it was discovered that he had severe sleep apnea. The tonsils and adenoids came out and within days he was like a different child. He is calm and actually quite pleasant to be around now. I would urge any parent to take this step prior to shoving pills down their child to make them compliant.

    January 4, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Andrew Kinsella

    If you read Thomas Brown's "Attention Deficit Disorder : The Unfocussed mind in Children and Adults" he very specifically includes difficulty regulating alertness and the sleep wake cycle as one of the core executive function problems in ADHD.

    It is important that this is more widely known. Us ADD sufferers have problems with hypersensitivity ( including to noises or minor discomfort) and very busy minds. These distractions make it difficult to get to sleep- and we often have our attention problems compounded by sleep deprivation. It can evolve into a very nasty little feedback loop.

    I found that with close observation of issues like sleep deprivation , pain, worry etc- I was able to manage my own ADD so well that stimulants became redundant within 18 months of starting them.

    It is important to understand that sleep deprivation can mimic ADHD, but just as important to understand that ADHD is intimately entangled with sleep problems, possibly for a majority of sufferers.

    January 4, 2011 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • EE

      Go have a stay in China for, oh, about a month. That should cure you of the ADD. You will come back to America, If this is where you are, and be able to sleep through anything. People who have been to China know what I am talking about. People think America is a dog eat dog, rush here rush there society? America is in slow mo by comparison.

      January 4, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse |
    • T3chsupport

      EE, you obviously don't understand sleep apnea.

      January 4, 2011 at 19:26 | Report abuse |
  17. Dave

    I don't really believe in ADHD, personally. Some people are just bored and don't perfectly fit into society's one-size-fits-all expectations, especially when it comes to education and parenting. ADHD is a convenient excuse to introduce mind-altering drugs into the equation and truly screw up little Jimmy's life. However, sleep disorders can definitely alter a person's mental state. It makes sense what Dr. Shives is suggesting here and might explain why there are so many children being diagnosed with ADHD. She could take it a step further, too. I would bet money that sleep disorders coincide with other traits, like family income and demographics. Maybe Jimmy doesn't get enough to eat or there is domestic violence in his house. Maybe both his parents work all day or are otherwise not in the home. "Jimmy" could be any child with any number of issues a lazy parent or teacher would be inclined to call ADHD.

    The first sentence speaks volumes about the parents of these children. "The young mother looked tired and sad"

    As always, it's the poor, poor adult who has the real problem. She's tired because being a parent is hard. Her child shouldn't be drugged as a result of HER shortcomings as a mom.

    There's no magic pill to make raising little Jimmy any easier. Just freaking grow up! Your children will follow the good example you set.

    January 4, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • EE

      @Dave: Too many people selfishly, or 'accidentally', have children these days. Irresponsible people will make irresponsible parents. I agree with your point for sure.

      January 4, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      I wish you could rent an ADHD child for a month so that you could discover how little you know. The mother is tired and sad because parenting kids with ADHD is difficult, not because her parenting skills suck or she is lazy. (Btw, your "theory" does nothing to explain why families have some normal children and some children with ADHD, despite the same parenting skills being made available to each child.)

      January 4, 2011 at 23:29 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Dave, my apologies, but you're a fool. I'm a proud stay at home mom of 3 children, my oldest has ADHD, my other 2 do not. My husband and I are not lazy and we're not tired of being parents because it is hard. We explored many avenues before choosing medication for our son and we didn't choose medication because of my shortcomings as a mom. Next time you post, please think before you write.

      January 5, 2011 at 00:56 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Hey there DAVE – sleep deprivation much? I'm guessing no. I look pretty tired and sad too AND my health is all but gone as well. Getting up several times a night with a baby for almost TWO YEARS will do that to a mom....a good mom anyway.

      February 1, 2011 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
    • cassy

      Wow dave ! HARSH,. I will say that i lean with you regarding them med professionals are usually out to make a buck and perscribe pills for anything and every thing. I'd even be willing to bet that most pharmacyst and docs are in cahoots. And i would agree we have a huge amount of incompetant parenting going on, and that these parents may be selfish and do stupid things in the name of .... i also like you think that labortory scientists are coming up with names all these medical names and terms to convince society that a pill will cure the ill.. but gees you could be a little more sympathetic. Im a skeptic to no end when it comes to believing the good ol' doc. however i maybe seeing a little more about the whole adhd deal from an adult point of view. My entire life i didnt focus , didnt try to focus and wasnt made to. now i am trying to get ahold of the concept of a future with the desire to get educated. Obsticals such as focusing, staying in the study til im done or its been a grip of time since last took a break, has been a challenge, not that im not up to it mind you. but a challenge none the less.
      sedation is not the way to go about raising a child absolutely, and because people are like cattle and the doc is the guy on the horse they tend to do as the doc says. but this person you are addressing in your post is just being proded toward the cowboys desired destination. give her a break.. oh ... is there such a huge medical need for adhd i dont know does it really exsist dont know that either , what i do know is people dont have to be so damn mean to one another. hurtful . nasty. Be Nice Dave.

      February 9, 2011 at 21:07 | Report abuse |
  18. CJC

    ADHD is real – but not everyone is properly diagnosed.
    I have Tourette Syndrome. Comorbid conditions include ADHD and OCD. No I'm not making this up.
    My brain doesn't metabolize dopamine correctly. Hence the tics and behavioral disorders. Diagnosed nearly 20 years ago and my aunt has it as well. It is NOT fake.

    Sad when people think medical communities make up conditions. Whatever.

    January 4, 2011 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cassy

      what you trying to say they dont..... Thats sad

      February 9, 2011 at 21:14 | Report abuse |
  19. CJC

    About dopamine levels – Since brain isn't properly absorbing adequate amounts, stimulants that increase dopamine levels make it more likely that the brain will absorb proper amounts. That's why they are sitll used. Despite the side effects, when used properly, they do benefit the patient.

    Think of a basketball (DOPAMINE) always missing the basket (NEURO RECEPTOR). In this case, it's logical to increase the amount of basketballs or throws. That way, the basket (NEURO RECEPTOR) has a greater chance of getting the ball in.
    Hard for many to understand. But those who have a chemical imbalance understand better.

    January 4, 2011 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Found this out two years ago

    We found out two years ago my daughter has sleep apnea. She was suffering from depression and had ADHD. We tried all the drugs, they just made her worse. The machine she uses to sleep at night helps her. The big problem now is getting her to use it all the time. It's not fun sleeping with it. We are looking into surgery to correct this for good.

    ADHD is real, it drives me crazy to see all the people on her doubt it.

    January 4, 2011 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Phil

    I have ADD and apnea. I'm tired all the damn time.

    January 4, 2011 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. George A. Marquart

    I was one of those skinny kids with large adnoids, large tonsils and always tired. At age 13 I had my adnoids removed, and that helped for several years. I think the scarring prevents the tissue from collapsing, therby preventing apneas. But over the years the scar tissue in the throat will practically disappear, and then all of the problems are back. Other conditions that have been identified as the result of sleep apnea are upper body obesity (thereby obesity becomes a result of apnea, not vice versa), high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, short temper (because you are always sleep deprived), and memory problems.

    January 5, 2011 at 00:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. p

    i thought they couldnt sleep because of the speed that they were prescribed. Good to know they are prescribed speed to help the sleeping disorders instead. Big Pharm looks out for us americans so well!

    January 5, 2011 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cassy

      here !! here!!! makes you wonder if they arent trying to get us all incoherent and drugged up .. does me anyway

      February 9, 2011 at 21:18 | Report abuse |
  24. Joe

    Yippie more rampant paranoia! Go doctors encourage people to self diagnose now!

    January 5, 2011 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Joe

    If I break my leg I will go see a doctors otherwise HELL no. Doctors don't have facts what they have is a "Professional Opinion" Did you catch that Opinion. They love to A give out drugs or samples to get you hooked and B cut you open or B1 take something out.

    January 5, 2011 at 07:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Coolturk

    In this day and age, we still do not have the science to see the brain respond in real time to treatments to help resolve brain disorders. For that reason, unfortunately, patients have to use trial and error with various drug combinations to find the happy medium to releave ourselves of the systoms of Adhd. However, as Dr. Hollowel put it in his classic book, "Driven to Distraction", when one does find the right drug regimine, it's like putting a pair of eye glasses on your brain, where now you can see clearly for the first time. It's no longer a myth, ADHD. There is a tremendous amount of research through brain imaging which identifies this learning disability. The drugs merely activate those neurotransmitters to work better, thus helping to relieve the systoms of this disorder. I must agree with the article without question, that it's essential to resolve sleep issues. I am 47, and was diagnosed with ADHD at 36, through intense testing and evalution. After years of trail and error with various drugs and dosing, I found my happy medium 7 months ago. Once I solved the sleep deprivation issue 7 months ago, I woke up rested everyday, 7 days a week. I lost 30 pounds without changing my eating habits. I felt ready to conquere the world every morning, and enjoy the calmness with focus throughout the day, something I've never had in my life. It is the combination of meds that are providing the calmness with the focus, but again, it all starts with restful sleep.

    Solve the sleep problem, and you will be ahead by 30%, where the other 60% covers focus and mood.

    January 5, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michelle

      To Coolturk: Please elaborate regarding "intense testing and evaluation." I am 55 and I think I have not slept well since age 14. 🙁 Always tired; don't want to do anything; much depression. My doctor suggested ADHD just over a year ago and I thought it was an odd thing to mention because of the "H" part: I am SO SLOW it's almost like I am walking backward sometimes! I completed a form and that's all I can remember, along with a few questions from the doctor. I had been taking Cymbalta, the only med that has helped a little bit with the depression. The doctor added Vyvanse and I was amazed to notice improvement; not great improvement, but any improvement is welcome. I usually take Xanax (alprazolam) and zolpidem (generic Ambien) before bedtime and generic Benadryl, too. I had a sleep study several years ago (yes, I should have another one done, but we are losing our health insurance next month). I was told I had "moderate to severe sleep apnea." This was a shock to me! My husband snores, but I usually do not. It turned out that my sleep apnea was worse than my husband's: My brain woke up 88 times in one hour! My husband grew comfortable using CPAP and now actually LIKES it. I have not been so lucky and I hate using the CPAP machine. Could you please also state what medications you have tried; which ones did not work for you; and how did you finally arrive to your "happy medium"–? What combination of meds has helped you so tremendously? If I ever wake up feeling rested and alert I will cry with joy and relief. I don't even remember what that feels like. Thank you in advance for any additional information. Michelle 🙂

      January 7, 2011 at 20:14 | Report abuse |
  27. mkassowitz

    Stories with "ADHD" and "diagnosis" and "treatment" together are scary because the industry that has labeled ADHD as a disease, psychiatry, actually can't define its symptoms. The bottom line is that people who don't get enough sleep are going to exhibit a lot of non-optimum behaviors. These are then being labeled as "symptoms" by an industry that sees drugs as the solution to everything, including everyday life. Trouble sleeping? Get some vitamins for that. http://sleepvites.com

    January 7, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Jorma J. Takala

    ADHD, ADD, Tourettes, Autism and all the other disorders in the spectrum are caused by Calcium Disodium EDTA, the preservative used in Margarine, Mayonnaise, some canned food like mushrooms and in some medicines.

    EDTA is made from Formaldehyde and Sodium Cyanide and it causes swelling of the brain stem which causes an increase in the physical fluid pressure within the skull.

    I don't need a study and millions of dollars spent to have someone tell me that anything made from formaldehyde and sodium cyanide is going to be nothing but poison!

    I ended a 44 yr old bipolar manic disorder by changing my diet and lifestyle to avoid all artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, MSG and especially the EDTA

    In addition to those problems I found another, My wife has a problem with an iron deficiency, I found that EDTA is used for chelation therapy for lead, or heavy metal poisoning, it attaches to all the minerals in our bodies and give them a direct route out of the body.

    Daily consumption of EDTA will cause a continuing condition of Iron and overall mineral deficiency in the body!

    There's so much more to my story, Please CNN, contact me, Get my story and stop this NOW...PLEASE the additives are killing everyone who consumes them!

    January 10, 2011 at 05:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. jeff chappell

    I have a 12 year old boy. He displays very clear signs of ADHD, but only when he doesn't get enough sleep. I have run into dozens of parents of ADHD, overly drugged kids who almost brag about their kids getting 6 hours of sleep a night. One even asked me "how can you get him to go to bed at 9pm???". I told him simply "I'm the DAD".

    Get a clue folks. KIDS NEED a lot more sleep than you do. Would you rather fight with them about bedtime or put them on amphedimines ???

    January 11, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      My 4 year old daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD. The issue is not bed times or enforcement thereof. My daughter goes to bed at 8PM each night. She, however, cannot stay asleep throughout the night or go back to sleep once she wakes. It is not particularly, helpful or relevent for you to suggest that a greater assertion of parental authority is the answer to ADHD when you actually have no experience parenting a child with ADHD. Imaging if your son were sleep deprived all the time and you could not solve that problem no matter what you did. That is the problem that your comment does not address.

      January 27, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
  30. Dea

    My son never slept through the night as a baby, and has always snored. I wish I had known about this a lot sooner. His doctors have told me for years that his tonsils and adnoids are enlarged, but refused to take them out because it wasn't "necessary". He was on ADHD meds until high school when he refused to take them anymore because of the way they made him feel. His grades immediately dropped from B's to D's and his sleep deteriorated to the point that he could not stay awake in class. Now he's an adult and can't sleep more than an hour or two at a time unless he is so worn out that he practically passes out. He's still on our health insurance so I am taking him back to the doctor to be evaluated and possibly finally get those tonsils and adnoids removed. Fifteen years of sleep problems, school issues, ADHD issues, etc could have avoided if it hadn't become unpopular to perform tonsilectomies. thanks a lot medical community.

    January 11, 2011 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. squirrel

    why is this suddenly something new! Any good ADHD evaluation should always rule out sleep disorders. The problem is that too many providers don't do proper assessments. ADHD is a diagnosis of exclusion folks.

    March 4, 2011 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Avalon

    Sleep disorders fall into different types like: difficulty falling asleep, problems with staying asleep or easily wakes up, inappropriate sleeping hours, sleeping hours too long or too short and abnormal behaviors manifested while asleep like teeth grinding or sleep walking. Whatever the cause of the sleep disorder is, there is a non-intrusive way to manage sleep problems by working through with a hypnotherapist. hypnotherapy

    September 7, 2011 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. sleep disorder symptom

    I never thought that the two are intertwined. Thanks for sharing this information. I really find it very useful. Please keep on posting for more. I also have a site though which is related to the topic. http://naturalsleepguide.info/

    October 12, 2011 at 03:40 | Report abuse | Reply
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    I realize this article is over a year old but I was looking up information about the connection with ADHD and sleep disorders. My son has both though I don't know what is causing the sleep problems yet. He is a skinny teenager...so weight isn't the problem. Has his tonsils and adenoid out as a child. Also has anxiety problems. Is on meds for both but NOT the stimulate meds for ADHD...he always had a bad reaction to those. Lately the sleep problems have been very bad ...he just can't get to sleep until very late or stay asleep. Says nothing is bothering him...just can't sleep well. When he does sleep he sleeps well into the day! Very frustrating for sure. I have talked to him about having a sleep study done but he doesn't think he could sleep in some strange place all hooked up to wires and stuff. I think he needs to try though so we can find out what is going on. 🙁 He has had sleep problems since he was born. :/ Thanks for the information...a little concerned with all the replies though saying their children were dx with ADHD AFTER their tonsils and adenoids were taken out...so apparently that didn't solve the problem after all like the article says. 🙁

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