April 8, 2008
Science Daily/JAMA and Archives Journals
Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appear likely to experience sleep problems, according to a new report. Sleep problems in these children may be associated with poorer child psychosocial quality of life, child daily functioning, caregiver mental health and family functioning.
"ADHD is the most common mental health disorder in childhood, affecting up to 11 percent of Australians aged 6 to 17 years," according to background information in the article. About half of parents of children with ADHD report that their children have difficulty sleeping, feel tired on waking or have nightmares or other sleep problems such as disordered breathing and restless leg syndrome. Parents of children with ADHD are more likely to experience stress, anxiety and depression than those of children without ADHD.
Sleep problems affected 175 (73.3 percent) of the children, with a 28.5 percent prevalence of mild sleep problems and 44.8 percent prevalence of moderate or severe sleep problems. Some of the most commonly occurring sleep patterns were difficulty falling asleep, resisting going to bed and tiredness on waking.
"Compared with children without sleep problems, those with sleep problems were more likely to miss or be late for school, and their caregivers were more likely to be late for work," the authors write. "Forty-five percent of caregivers reported that their pediatricians had asked about their children's sleep and, of these, 60 percent reported receiving treatment advice."
"In summary, sleep problems in schoolchildren with ADHD are extremely common and strongly associated with poorer quality of life, daily functioning and school attendance in the child and poorer caregiver mental health and work attendance," the authors conclude. "Implementation of a sleep intervention in children with ADHD could feasibly improve outcomes beyond treatment of ADHD alone. It is possible that such intervention could reduce the need for medication in some children."