Sleep disturbances in ADHD children

Sleep disturbances in ADHD children

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Bedtime can become one of the difficult times of the day when we have children. They do not want to lie down, they are afraid to sleep alone, they want us to stay with them ... and these problems can increase when our child has Attention Deficit Disorder and / or Hyperactivity. These are sleep disturbances in ADHD children.

We tend to associate ADHD with learning or behavior problems, but Attention Deficit and / or Hyperactivity Disorder affects other areas of the child's life. One of the disorders related to ADHD is sleep disorders, which usually affect 25-50% of children diagnosed.

Children with ADHD suffer 5 times more sleep disorders than children without it. In general, it is more difficult for them to fall asleep and maintain a linear rhythm of sleep, which will increase their difficulties with attention and concentration during the day.

It should be noted that sleep is essential for the proper functioning of the child and the lack of it affects all aspects of their social, cognitive, emotional and physical development.

Sleep disorders can manifest themselves in various ways. There will be sleep problems related to behavioral problems associated with ADHD, (such as resistance to going to sleep), and others more related to the disorder itself, (difficulty falling asleep, for example).

In general these problems can be:

- Difficulty falling asleep. They go to bed but it takes a long time to fall asleep.

- Night awakenings. They usually wake up at night and then are slow to fall asleep again.

- Sleep not very restful. They sleep, but it is insufficient for their body to recover.

- Restlessness at night, (restless legs or excessive movement).

- Not wanting to wake up in the morning. They have been slow to fall asleep, they have woken up several times and when it comes time to wake up, it costs them a lot.

- Not wanting to go to sleep. This and the previous one are also more related to behavioral problems, and it is the one that can also generate more conflicts and arguments in the family.

Not sleeping well at night affects the daily life of the child, since it affects their cognitive and school performance, they are also more irritable and therefore their emotional, social and family life can be affected as well. In addition, lack of sleep or rest can worsen ADHD symptoms during the day, (more difficulties to maintain attention, less capacity for self-control, more impulsiveness ...)

It is important, therefore, to establish good sleep habits and routines, such as:

- Go to bed at the same time, and ensure that they do not go to bed late, (children of different ages need to get certain hours of sleep).

- Avoid doing activities that may be exciting before going to sleep. The most stimulating activities are recommended to be carried out in the early afternoon and the most relaxing before bedtime. If they go to bed at 10, starting at 7 in the afternoon for example, the activities will be quiet.

- Avoid very large dinners that can make sleep difficult, as well as stimulating drinks or foods, (soft drinks, chocolates, sugar ...)
Avoid screens before going to bed (television, tablets, video games) that can "activate" the child, when what we want is to enter a calm state.

- Perform relaxation exercises before sleeping.

It should also be borne in mind that sometimes it is the ADHD medications themselves that cause sleep problems (they are stimulants), so it will also be necessary to assess whether these sleep disorders are pre or post medication and consult with your neurologist.

Sometimes, it is sleep problems that alert us to possible ADHD in children (although not all children with sleep problems have ADHD). In any case, it will be the pediatric professionals, psychologists and neuropsychologists who can best advise us in cases of sleep problems in these children.

You can read more articles similar to Sleep disturbances in ADHD children, in the category of hyperactivity and attention deficit on site.

Video: Διαταραχή Ελλειμματικής Προσοχής. Υπερκινητικότητας - ΔΕΠΥ ADHD της BONNIE MILLER 1 (February 2023).