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The study, published in the journal, Sleep, included 43 children between 7 and 11 years old. Eleven of the children had been diagnosed with ADHD and 32 had not. None of the children were known to have sleep disorders. Medications being used to treat ADHD were discontinued before the children began the trial.
Sleep duration, sleep quality, and sleepiness were monitored during the two phases of the trial: six days when the children went to bed at their usual hour, and six days when they went to bed one hour later than usual. The children also underwent mental (cognitive) performance testing at the end of each six-day period. These tests are used to evaluate memory, attention, and reaction times, and scores reflect ability to function in ordinary daily life.
The following are the findings from the study:
“The present study indicates that sleep deprivation does have a significant negative impact on neurobehavioral functioning in children with ADHD even in the absence of breathing problems such as sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing,” the study’s authors commented. “This finding is important because sleep problems are common in children with ADHD.”
This study showed that even modest sleep loss can have real consequences for children with ADHD. Here are some tips for helping children get better sleep:
Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice on Cortes Island in British Columbia, Canada, and has done extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.