March 2, 2009
Science Daily/American Academy of Sleep Medicine
A study in the March 1 issue of the journal SLEEP suggests the presence of an intrinsic sleep problem specific to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and supports the idea that children with ADHD may be chronically sleep deprived and have abnormal REM sleep.
Results show that children with ADHD have a total sleep time that is significantly shorter than that of controls. Children in the ADHD group had an average total sleep time of eight hours, 19 minutes; this was 33 minutes less than the average sleep time of eight hours, 52 minutes, in controls. Children with ADHD also had an average rapid eye movement (REM) sleep time that was significantly reduced by 16 minutes.
According to the authors, this study may suggest that ADHD children suffer from an intrinsic sleep problem that could be related to the underlying pathophysiology of the disorder. They report that the impact of sleep duration on neuropsychological functioning in children with ADHD should be investigated further. Additional studies also will be required to examine whether shorter sleep duration in children with ADHD is associated with ADHD-like symptoms, including behavioral problems and poor neurocognitive functioning.
The authors suggest that if a functional alteration of sleep in children with ADHD can be confirmed, then it may be possible to develop therapeutic approaches for optimizing and individualizing the children's sleep regimes.