Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sleep Duration and ADHD Symptoms

Pediatrics published research on sleep duration and behavioral and ADHD symptoms in healthy 7-8 year old children. The results indicated that children who had short sleep duration (less than 7.7 hours) had higher hyperactivity/impulsivity scores, higher attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder total scores but similar inattention scores compared with children sleeping 7.7 to 9.4 hours or >9.4 hours. Many therapists serve children with behavioral problems and ADHD.

Do you inquire about sleeping habits when you evaluate or re-evaluate?  Speaking from experience, sleep duration can turn children into different people. I have seen children meltdown, exhibit erratic behavior, be inattentive and basically lose it from lack of sleep. Why do you think parents dislike sleepovers? It is not the night of the sleepover it is the day after!

So therefore just a suggestion - next time you are evaluating a child who is inattentive, hyperactive or exhibiting behavioral problems don't forget to ask how many hours of sleep per night the child has had over the past week.

Reference: E. Juulia Paavonen et al. Short Sleep Duration and Behavioral Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Healthy 7- to 8-Year-Old Children. Pediatrics May 2009; 123:5 e857-e864; doi:10.1542/peds.2008-2164

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