ADHD is linked with a variety of sleep problems. For example, one recent study found that children with ADHD had higher rates of daytime sleepiness than children without ADHD. Another study found that 50% of children with ADHD had signs of sleep disordered breathing, compared to only 22% of children without ADHD. Research also suggests that restless legs syndrome and periodic leg movement syndrome are also common in children with ADHD.
Sometimes apnea can affect school performance. One recent study suggests that some kids diagnosed with ADHD actually have attention problems in school because of disrupted sleep patterns caused by obstructive sleep apnea.
A common type of apnea in children, obstructive apnea (OSA), is caused by an obstruction of the airway (such as enlarged tonsils and adenoids). This is most likely to happen during sleep because that’s when the soft tissue at back of the throat is most relaxed. As many as 1% to 3% of otherwise healthy preschool-age kids have obstructive apnea.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a term used to describe hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and/or impulsivity. It is a common condition that begins in childhood and may persist into adulthood. Children with ADHD typically have trouble sitting still, staying focused, and/or controlling their behavior and emotions, which can lead to lower social skills, isolation, dependence, and poor performance in school. For this reason, children with ADHD often require special attention from parents, teachers, school systems and healthcare and mental health professionals in order to succeed.
In general, sleep deprivation is a problem among children in America. According to NSF’s Sleep in America poll, more than two-thirds of children experience one or more sleep problems at least a few nights a week. For children with ADHD, poor sleep (too little sleep or symptoms of sleep disorders) may profoundly impact ADHD symptoms. In fact, one study found that treating sleep problems may be enough to eliminate attention and hyperactivity issues for some children.
If You Think Your Child Has Apnea
If you suspect that your child has apnea, call your doctor. Search for a physician who is trained and certified in the diagnosis and treatment of Sleep Apnea. Although prolonged pauses in breathing can be serious, after a doctor does a complete evaluation and makes a diagnosis, most cases of apnea can be treated or managed.
Excerpted from these Sources:
National Sleep Foundation