Article on the connection between sleep deprivation and ADHD symptoms

[ By on May 07, 2013 ]

Diagnosing the Wrong Deficit

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Also see related letter by Marc Weissbluth:

To the Editor:

Associating A.D.H.D symptoms with sleep problems is nothing new. Children who do not breathe well during sleep were described in 1914 by Dr. W. L. Ballenger: “Restlessness during the night is a prominent symptom. … Daytime restlessness is also a characteristic sign. … The child is fretful and peevish, or is inclined to turn from one amusement to another. … The mental faculties are often much impaired … difficult attention … is very often present. The child is listless and has difficulty in applying himself continuously to his play, studies, or other tasks, of which he soon tires. He has fits of abstraction.”

Studies published in 1983 showed that boys with an active sleep pattern had a brief attention span and children with A.D.H.D. were more likely to have sleep-associated disordered breathing and/or a later bedtime.

MARC WEISSBLUTH
Chicago, April 28, 2013

The writer, a doctor, is a professor of clinical pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, and the author of “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.”

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